Multiple-CoS specs for cheaper LTE backhaul

09 Feb 2012

ITEM: The Metro Ethernet Forum has just announced the MEF 23.1 Multi-CoS Implementation Agreement (IA) for mobile backhaul via Carrier Ethernet, which the group claims can cut backhaul costs up to 25%.

As the name implies, the new IA enables cellcos to run multiple classes of service over their backhaul links.

That’s a big deal, according to MEF president Nan Chen, because with current Carrier Ethernet backhaul links (under MEF 22), most cellcos “have taken the simplistic step of building networks that treat all traffic the same and require a massive, costly and unnecessary overbuild of the network, without an accompanying revenue model to sustain the cost.”

While Carrier Ethernet is a cheaper and more scalable solution for backhaul than traditional E1s, those benefits eventually get canceled out as mobile data traffic starts approaching 4G levels and cellcos are forced to think beyond straight unlimited data plans.

“Effectively it’s a recipe for going out of business,” Chen said, because the very nature of mobile applications means it’s subject to extreme bursts of traffic with a wide variety of QoS requirements. “To respond and avoid customer dissatisfaction, mobile operators and their access provider partners must accommodate for these peaks in traffic or face the high cost of customer dissatisfaction.”

MEF 23.1’s CoS provisions basically allow cellcos to prioritize traffic in their Ethernet backhaul links (by differentiating between, say, video streams and latency-tolerant services). Result: less overbuild, better network efficiency and a tool for generating new revenue streams.

Hence the MEF’s claim that cellcos can save 25% on their LTE backhaul costs and realize ”up to 3x revenue growth for access providers over existing network infrastructure”.

Meanwhile, MEF 23.1 is part of a larger Mobile Backhaul Initiative suite announced Wednesday by the MEF, which also includes MEF 22.1 (phase 2 of its original IA for mobile backhaul), technical guidance on best practices and a new paper on packet-based frequency synchronization.

Get your documentation here.

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