Wireless demand will grow 14 fold from 2012 to 2017, doubling about every 18 months. In addition to driving significant changes in the RAN network, increasing data capacity drives mobile back-haul capacity and innovation.
Wireless demand will grow 14 fold from 2012 to 2017, doubling about every 18 months. In addition to driving significant changes in the RAN network, increasing data capacity drives mobile back-haul capacity and innovation. Mobile back-haul can be divided into wired and wireless segments with wireless back-haul accounting for about 50% of all mobile back-haul today. Wireless back-haul is comprised of traditional microwave bands (6-42 GHz) and millimeter-wave E and V bands. Microwave back-haul has an advantage in deployments where fiber has not been installed and retrofit is difficult such as urban environments. Since most data capacity growth will occur in these dense environments, we expect continued growth in the microwave/millimeter back-haul market. Traditional microwave bands support 112 MHz signal bandwidth which limits total throughput (without XPIC and MIMO) to about 1 Gbps (4096 QAM), while millimeter-wave E- and V- bands can support up to 2 GHz bandwidth providing up to 10 Gbps at 256 QAM.
Intel FPGAs offer an ideal platform for implementation of microwave back-haul solution because the modem, switch, and glue logic can all be implemented in a single Intel SoC device. This architecture allows the designer to select the FPGA SoC, analog and RF components for optimum cost/performance balance. For example, Intel's modem and switch IP is scalable, allowing implementation on devices ranging from Cyclone IV and V devices for low cost, to Arria V and Intel Arria 10 devices for midrange and higher performance. Similarly, Analog and RF components can be selected for each application to optimize cost/performance needs. Additionally, a FPGA-based solution allows for customer differentiation and faster feature velocity, which is a critical capability in the dynamic wireless market.
Intel, with our modem partner IP and switch IP, provide a complete solution for the microwave back-haul market including:
Simply put, front-haul is the link that connects the Baseband Unit (BBU) to the Remote Radio Head (RRH) which historically used a CPRI or OBSAI protocol over fiber. Network operators, seeking more capacity at a lower “cost-per-bit”, have proposed C-RAN architectures which co-locate BBUs to allow sharing of resources. C-RAN architectures place additional demands on front-haul latency which, in some cases, can be better served by microwave links. For these emerging front-haul microwave links the same partner scalable modem IP can be used to provide front-haul solutions.