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Mobile Data Usage Drives Network Backhaul

The demand for more mobile network backhaul capacity will grow three fold between 2009 and 2013, according to a recent market study by In-Stat.

Mobile network operators are deploying EV-DO 2000, HSPA/HSPA+, WiMAX, and LTE to meet the growing demand for high-speed mobile data. In the process, the bottleneck affect of cell site network backhaul has become more prominent.

Traditionally, voice has dominated the traffic going across a mobile operator's network. With voice as the primary traffic component, an operator could meet its backhaul requirements with a couple of T-1 lines per base station.

That has all changed with operators relying on data for revenue growth.

"Cellular and WiMAX backhaul provides that crucial link between the mobile operator's radio access network and its core network," says Frank Dickson, In-Stat's VP of Mobile Internet research.

"It does an operator no good to install a base station with 7.2 Mbps capacity if the backhaul is limited to 4.5 Mbps."

In-Stat's market study includes the following highlights:

- WiMAX and LTE will require backhaul needs of 80-100 Mbps. Their deployments will increase the need for new backhaul solutions.

- While microwave will remain the most common last mile link medium, Ethernet is playing an increasing role in supporting backhaul needs for cellular and WiMAX networks.

- 90,000 Gbps of capacity in the last mile of the backhaul network will be needed by the end of 2013 to support the worlds cellular and WiMAX networks.

- In Asia/Pacific, the cellular backhaul last mile backhaul capacity for LTE will be 2,500 Gbps in 2013.

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