Deploying a cost effective backhaul/fronthaul solution is one of the biggest challenges in deploying small cells. The cost of running fiber to small cells only can be expensive and is not feasible in all locations, especially given the number of expected small cells required to meet mobile data growth demand (five to ten small cells per macro base station).
Current wireless backhaul technology does not support small cell architecture. A meshed backhaul is the most effective way to meet the capacity and resiliency required. Also, in many cases, mobile macro sites will be the point in the network where a cluster of small cells will connect. In this case, the macro site backhaul/fronthaul must be upgraded to even higher capacity and port densities in order to support those small cells.
Collinear Networks’ Hybrid Link is built to support the traffic capacity, port density and traffic management demands small cells will require from the backhaul/fronthaul at a location where traffic from a small cell cluster is aggregated (e.g. the macro site).
Fronthaul is an alternative architecture to the more traditional backhaul design. Effectively, it is the connection between a new network architecture of centralized baseband controllers and remote radio heads (RRH) at cell sites. The digital RF signal is transported directly from the RRH located at the cell site, back to the baseband units that sit in a centralized location, commonly pooling between five and 50 units.
In the future, Collinear’s small form factor wireless link may also support small cell fronthaul, the connection from the small cell cluster to the aggregation point, and between small cells. In such case, it will be developed to interoperate with Alex 1.0.