ComSocSCV Oct meeting on Mobile Backhaul: Significance of LTE, Small Cells, Macro Cells and Market Forecasts!

Meeting Summary:
IEEE ComSocSCV had a very informative meeting this past Wed Oct 10th on Mobile Backhaul (MBH), with two very knowledgable speakers providing status reports, industry trends, and forecasts.  Paul Kennard, CTO of Aviat and Michael Howard, Co-Founder & Principle Analyst at Infonetics Research
Paul Kennard stated that increased deployment of LTE in the mobile access network will force LTE mobile operators to upgrade their backhaul technology.  Aviat Networks is a leading provider of microwave transmission technology used to meet the backhaul infrastructure needs of those mobile networks.
Mobile operators are moving to 3G/HSPA+ and LTE in order to keep up with subscribers’ escalating bandwidth demands, while offsetting declining traditional voice revenues.  Aviat thinks that many mobile operators lack the ability to add more capacity to their network without the risk of disrupting existing services. They may also struggle with inconsistent network performance due to capacity limits, limited backhaul spectrum availability and the need to maintain high-quality legacy TDM voice services. At the same time, operators must also prepare their network for the introduction of new high-speed Ethernet/IP-based services in an environment of constrained CAPEX and downward pressure on OPEX.

Despite all the hype and hoola, small cells are not yet widely deployed, according to Michael Howard.  When small cells are installed (likely in 2013-2014), they will be mounted on light poles and street lights in downtown metro areas.  They’ll use microwave backhaul to reach a macro aggregation cell, which will most likely be located in a cell tower with fiber connectivity and backhaul to the ISP or other carrier’s point of presence. 
Looks like forthcoming small cell MBH will mostly use microwave & mm transmission systems, while MBH for macro cells will be a mix of millimeter wave and fiber.   
Meeting presentations are available for free download at:

Post meeting information provided by Michael Howard of Infonetics:
Here are % breakdowns of different types of MBH used in North America and Worldwide for end of calender year(CY) 2012:
North America   – Technology CY12
PDH                                                          32.80%
ATM over PDH                                            0.45%
SONET/SDH and WDM                               1.29%
Ethernet copper                                           6.02%
Ethernet fiber                                              44.13%
DSL                                                               0.84%
PON                                                              0.52%
Coax cable                                                    0.03%
WiMAX                                                          0.02%
Satellite                                                          0.03%
Microwave–TDM                                           3.05%
Microwave–Dual Ethernet/TDM Microwave Equipment

Microwave–Ethernet only                               6.35%

Grand Total                                                  100.00%

Worldwide  – Technology CY12
PDH                                                                 8.52%
ATM over PDH                                                 2.93%
SONET/SDH and WDM                                   11.99%
Ethernet copper                                                2.05%
Ethernet fiber                                                   16.67%
DSL                                                                    0.81%
PON                                                                   1.54%
Microwave–TDM                                              21.53%
Microwave–Dual Ethernet/TDM Microwave Equipment
Microwave–Ethernet only                                   6.14%
Grand Total                                                      100.00%
After tje ComSocSCV meeting, Michael Howard wrote in an email, “Over 90% of urban core cell sites are fiber-fed–and the remaining on Microwave. These are mostly on rooftops and a few on towers.”
And in another email, “All of the data above and below are for macrocell site backhaul.  Infonetics is in the process of developing their outdoor small cells backhaul forecast now.   The vast majority >99% of MBH  interfaces are millimeter wave (MWV) in North America, with just a very small number of satellites in use. Worldwide it’s still under 1%, even with Africa, India and other non-electified/non-networked areas.”
Infonetics MBH Market Forecasts for Calender Year 2012 and 2016:
Worldwide   – MacroCellsite Connections by physical medium
Medium       CY12                                      CY16
Copper        11.76%                                   4.14%
Fiber            32.75%                                  41.75%
Air: MWV + Satellite (but mostly MWV)
                    55.48%                                  54.10%
Grand Total 100.00%                               100.00%
North America   –  MacroCellsite Connections by physical medium
Medium      CY12                                        CY16
Copper       30.30%                                    10.07%
Fiber           55.78%                                    74.76%
Air: MWV + Satellite (but mostly MWV)
                   13.93%                                    15.18%
Grand Total 100.00%                                100.00%

For more information on Infonetics Millimeter & Microwave forecasts:
Millimeter wave gear forecast to grow at 63% CAGR; Ethernet microwave growing 5-fold by 2016
“Although the microwave equipment market ended down a bit in 2011 compared to the previous year, the market is poised to return to growth as LTE backhaul needs accelerate, particularly Ethernet microwave gear,” expects Richard Webb, directing analyst for microwave at Infonetics Research.

Market research firm Infonetics Research released excerpts from its latest Macrocell Mobile Backhaul Equipment and Services market share and forecast report, which ranks mobile backhaul equipment vendors, identifies market growth
areas, and provides analysis of equipment, connections, cell sites, and service charges.

“Steady, albeit slow, growth is in store for the macrocell mobile backhaul equipment market,” notes Michael Howard, principal analyst and co-founder of Infonetics Research. “While Verizon Wireless and  AT&T are winding down their first big wave of LTE deployments and their spending is slowing, this is a large market and there’s still room for growth.
We’re expecting a cumulative $43.6 billion to be spent on macrocell mobile backhaul equipment over the 5 years from 2012 to 2016, as operators outside of North America buy up microwave gear to support rising capacity requirements.”

“Well over half of all spending in the mobile backhaul market is on microwave equipment,” adds Richard Webb, directing analyst for microwave and mobile offload at Infonetics.

.    Globally, the macrocell mobile backhaul equipment market is forecast by Infonetics to grow to $9.7 billion by 2016
.    94% of all macrocell mobile backhaul equipment spending is on IP/Ethernet gear, with 54% of this on packet-capable microwave .   

–     Infonetics expects Ethernet mobile backhaul router revenue to peak in 2015, as the buildout of macrocell mobile
backhaul subsides and the focus shifts to small cells.
To buy the report, contact Infonetics: