Broadband Communities

AUG-SEP 2013

BROADBAND COMMUNITIES is the leading source of information on digital and broadband technologies for buildings and communities. Our editorial aims to accelerate the deployment of Fiber-To-The-Home and Fiber-To-The-Premises.

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TECHNOLOGY Future Proofng a Network With Microduct and Microfber The optimal time to install outside plant isn't always the optimal time to add fiber to a network. New outside-plant solutions enable operators to separate the timing of these two events. By Kelly Patrick / CommScope W ireless and wired operators alike experience ever-increasing demand for bandwidth. As a result, operators always face the problem of how to expand network capacity. Wireless operators must meet the mobile bandwidth expectations of subscribers who use a variety of applications, access the Internet and watch videos on their smartphones. As wireless demand continues to soar, so does the bandwidth required to provide it. Multiple options are available to expand networks, but operators have to take into consideration the total cost associated with each one. Adding new macrocell towers is not always a viable option because of real estate and installation expenses. As a result, smallcell deployment has emerged as a potentially more efcient option. Tis technology allows wireless providers to add capacity in areas with extremely high mobile data consumption and to extend their coverage areas beyond the boundaries reached by existing towers. The construction cost to upgrade outside plant will be higher tomorrow than it is today. 102 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | www.broadbandcommunities.com An essential part of small-cell deployment is determining an efcient method of providing backhaul from these cells. Tis backhaul is traditionally provided in one of three ways – via microwave wireless links, fber or copper. Microwave links are a preferred method for applications that must cover larger areas or in areas where alternative techniques are costprohibitive to establish and maintain over time. Approximately 60 percent of today's backhaul is done with microwave links. As wireless capacity is added through metro or small cells rather than traditional macrocells, microwave loses some of its advantage. When reasonable availability and logistics allow, a preferred option for many is fber. Fiber ofers high bandwidth and low latency, and it is a highly reliable technology. Fiber optics in mobile backhaul can be particularly attractive in urban areas. City blocks are often densely populated and contain tall buildings or other obstacles that obstruct line-of-sight backhaul alternatives. In many urban environments, small cells are deployed on lampposts, street furniture or sides of buildings, making mobile backhaul even more complex. Wireless operators must maintain reasonable network costs while they strengthen networks to keep up with demand. Tus, they must take advantage of opportunities to cost-efectively gain access to the small-cell sites that are being | August/september 2013

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