Time to tap into technologies that turn telecom copper into mobile gold
The economics of small cell deployments makes fiber a less attractive option than enhanced copper solutions.
Operators, both fixed and mobile, are on the brink of a major shift in opportunity, says Genesis Technical Systems’ President and CTO, Stephen Cooke. New technologies are not all about fiber – there are many innovative ways in which operators can squeeze much more out of their copper.
Speaking today at Broadband World Forum in the Mobile Broadband Track Think Tank Debate on “Should Cost be the Deciding Factor When Selecting Backhaul Architecture?” Stephen Cooke will propose that bonded copper solutions, for example, can provide enough capacity to accommodate the increasing demand in data traffic volume – especially in suburban areas where growth is strong, and copper readily available.
The rate of consumer adoption of smart phones, wearable devices and mobile-connected tablets, in parallel with 3G and 4G deployments, is fueling the rapid acceleration in mobile data usage. According to recent VNI Mobile Data research done by Cisco, global mobile data is expected to increase nearly 11-fold between 2013 and 2018, with traffic growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 61 percent from 2013 to 2018, reaching 15.9 Exabytes per month by 2018.
“In a technological landscape that is constantly growing, changing and developing, it’s good to take a step back and evaluate existing infrastructures. It is important not to ignore the properties and capabilities of what is already in place. Rolling out the next big technology does not mean investing vast amounts in fiber just because the market demands seem to say so. There are some very exciting technologies that really stretch copper’s capabilities.” says Cooke.
Genesis Technical Systems has developed solutions that dramatically improve broadband performance over copper and Stephen Cooke proposes that the economic reality of small cell deployment makes this an attractive option.
Many major telecom carriers have pointed to the fact that it is uneconomical to deploy optical fiber to support small cells simply because too much fiber would be required boosting the cost per small cell. Each cell has to make a profit on its own for the operator to want to deploy and power it. As there are fewer people using each small cell, the installation has to be economical, the equipment low-cost, and the access to the electrical power has to be affordable to make the individual small cell viable. Copper is a good electrical conductor so could be used as a part of a powering strategy as well.
By using the same technology that provides household Internet access over telephone wires (DSL or VDSL2) and using the Genesis bonding approach, which takes multiple pairs and combines their bandwidth to create a single large pipe, it is possible to power and provide significant amounts of backhaul bandwidth to small cells.
“Revolutionizing existing copper by using a bonding solution is one of the least expensive backhaul options available,” says Cooke. “It provides a great opportunity for fixed incumbents to become mobile players by using the existing copper network to provide backhaul bandwidth and power to small cells.”