Any modern communications network is a complex architectural arrangement. By 2013 it’s likely that a mobile network operator will have 2G, 3G and LTE operations running in parallel, with support infrastructure such as backhaul that has been updated and augmented over the years. As networks mature, they also evolve—the trend right now is to alleviate RAN congestion with smaller cells, increasing network density but also putting extra burden on the backhaul infrastructure. In order to keep pace, backhaul implementations also need to evolve.

This white paper will show that legacy Point-to-Point (PtP) architectures alone are no longer sufficient to support the modern RAN. That’s not to say, however, that there is no place for such technology in the modern backhaul environment; quite the opposite is true. In order to successfully and efficiently supply the RAN with backhaul, an operator must expect to adopt several technologies, including PtP, and implement them on a case-by-case basis.

While every backhaul technology exhibits distinct advantages, as well as some constraints, none of them can be considered as a ‘catch all’ solution. However, an optimum solution can be achieved by leveraging synergies between two best-of-breed technologies: P2MP and P2P.

The key message to take away from this paper, is that there is no ‘silver bullet’ when it comes to backhaul—operators will have to adopt several technologies, deploying each where most appropriate.

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