We recently published a 5-year forecast on the Mobile Backhaul market.  In this research study, we looked at the two layers of mobile backhaul — Transport along with Routing and Switching (R&S).

The conclusion, simply put, was that you can’t deliver LTE without upgrading the mobile backhaul; hence demand for mobile backhaul will have to rise with the roll out of LTE.

There are a number of demand drivers for mobile backhaul.  Some of these include 1) building new cell sites, 2) upgrading an existing site for more capacity, and 3) transitioning to a packet-based backhaul network.  And naturally, LTE propels each of these demand drivers higher:

  • New cell sites: Operators around the world are installing LTE macro cell sites to capture population coverage.  Following their build of macro sites, a number of operators intend to enhance the network performance with small cells.
  • Capacity upgrade: LTE technology is capable of transmitting 100 Mbps to a single user (the average download speed will be closer to 10 Mbps with multiple users) so long as the backhaul capacity is in place to support this high capacity.
  • Packet-based backhaul: To take full advantage of LTE, operators are building packet networks requiring the installation of routers and switches at cell sites and aggregation sites.

Therefore, more LTE simply means:  more mobile backhaul.

We are expecting the demand for mobile backhaul to approach $8.5 billion by 2017 of which R&S is expected to comprise nearly a third as mobile backhaul evolves from a TDM to a packet network.  The Transport layer will comprise the remaining significant share of the $8.5 billion market, since link capacity will steadily rise through the years as operators increase network performance by adding new macro and small cell sites.


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Posted by Jimmy Yu on September 17, 2013

About Jimmy

Jimmy Yu built our coverage on the Microwave Transmission market, significantly expanded coverage on the Optical Transport market, and is responsible for Storage Systems market research. He has authored several Advanced Research Reports on Mobile Backhaul and is researching Carrier SDN.