Copper rebounds to backhaul's rescue

Stephen Cooke
Genesis Technical Systems
Operators in the Asia-Pacific region are, to one extent or the other, considering infrastructure developments to ensure their networks will have the capacity to deliver the massively increasing consumer data needs.
 
The Cisco VNI Mobile Data Forecast predicts that global monthly mobile data traffic will increase tenfold from 2013 to 2018.
 
Monthly data usage in the Asia-Pacific region was 281 Petabytes in 2012 and forecast to be 4,442 Petabytes by 2017, a 15-fold increase in five years. Asia Pacific accounted for 34% of the global total monthly data usage in 2012, but that it will be 41% by 2017.
 
The accelerating use of mobile data is driven by the transition to smartphones, emergence of wearable devices, 3G and 4G deployments, and increased video usage.
 
While operators are keen to realize content and delivery revenues associated with mobile data growth, they recognize the challenge of developing networks that can accommodate future consumer demands. 
 
Small cells are widely accepted as crucial to the solution, but while deploying large numbers of small cells close to consumers helps solve the capacity problem for the radio access network, it creates a bigger problem related to providing backhaul with sufficient capacity and quality of service.
 
A 2013 Strategy Analytics study, commissioned by Tellabs, suggested that mobile operators were looking at a global backhaul investment shortfall of $9.2 billion and capacity shortfall of 16 Petabytes by 2017. The bulk of these deficits - $5.3 billion and 9.4 Petabytes, respectively – is expected to be within Asia Pacific.
 
 
The global backhaul spend and capacity gaps are widening
Source: Tellabs
 

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