According to ABI Research’s new study “Mobile Backhaul for Small Cells,” there are numerous considerations that need to be taken into account for a small cell backhaul solution. These include product footprint, range, cost, Ethernet/IP support, and capacity. By 2016, an estimated 58 percent of outdoor small cells will be backhauled using wireless techniques, says ABI.

While fiber, copper, and traditional microwave are currently being used to backhaul rooftop micro base stations, the emergence of wireless technologies like NLOS OFDM (sub 6 GHz), MMW (60-80 GHz) and also Wi-Fi backhaul solutions are likely to find preference due to their flexibility, low cost and ability to use point-to-multipoint (PMP) and point-to-point (PTP) techniques to backhaul clusters or rows of small cells.

“Small cell backhaul space is still in its early days, with a number of small vendors positioning their solutions, especially on the wireless backhaul side,” said Aditya Kaul, ABI practice director/mobile networks, in a statement. “While the majority of small cell backhaul activity is concentrated in OFDM NLOS sub 6 GHz and to some extent in the MMW 60-80 GHz space, the cost of these solutions will need to come down to allow operators to make a favorable small cell business case.”

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