ATCA Newsletter

The Future of Mobile Backhaul Is Software

By Sandy Orlando, IP Infusion

Today’s consumers are demanding more mobile data services than ever before. The University of San Diego estimates that the US consumes an average of 34GB per person per day. Such traffic requires more investment in mobile backhaul to ensure that wireless communications systems can support the growing use of smartphones, tablets, and laptops.

Unfortunately, backhaul infrastructure is expensive. According to Infonetics Research, service providers will spend $36 billion globally on mobile backhaul equipment between 2010 and 2014. Carriers recognize the importance of supporting 4G and Long-Term Evolution (LTE) services. However, they face growing costs and tremendous strain on existing networks.

Operators also face immense time to market pressures in their efforts to deliver new revenue generating services. They cannot tolerate the time and cost of repeated total network upgrades. Furthermore, bandwidth needs are outpacing the ability of telecom equipment providers to innovate. Underpowered systems simply cannot keep up with demand. Most service providers cannot currently achieve their delivery targets, and meeting time-to-market challenges is only getting harder. The complexity of the technology and the typical inflexibility of existing systems and processes are major inhibitors.

So what is the solution? The networking industry is shifting from hardware dominated solutions to software-defined ones. This change is essential as the industry innovates at breakneck speeds to accommodate billions of new mobile users, the advent of Big Data, and the emergence of IT as a service. The wide-spread availability of commercial networking chipsets has changed the economics of the network, driving commoditization of hardware and the emergence of software-defined networking.

Global networks are in a constant state of change, requiring equipment manufacturers to continually improve products or develop new ones to address service provider and enterprise requirements. Regardless of their size, equipment OEMs often lack the technologies and resources to expand their product capabilities fast enough to address continual network transformation. Today, we’re seeing both a financial and capacity strain on traditional backhaul networks. As demand for bandwidth keeps growing, network providers require a scalable mobile backhaul solution that provides the flexibility to add next-generation technologies rapidly and cost-effectively.

For example, IP Infusion offers a software-based routing and switching platform used in mission-critical networks in mobile backhaul, carrier transport, and data center networks. The ZebOS network platform software helps network equipment OEMs worldwide deliver customized and differentiated solutions to telecom as well as public and private cloud service providers with lower costs and faster time-to-market. The company’s carrier grade embedded networking stacks support the latest features and reliability requirements for mobile backhaul.

Mobile backhaul offers exciting new business opportunities for service and network equipment providers. Projections indicate that the pace of mobile data traffic growth will continue to accelerate over the next few years. The future of mobile backhaul networking lies in software.  It must address evolving requirements for mobile backhaul and Carrier Ethernet.

Sandy Orlando is VP Marketing at IP Infusion. You can reach her via johnkreuzer@mcgrathpower.com.