January 06, 2016 06:00 ET

New iGR Study Forecasts a Growing Number of Mobile Fronthaul and Backhaul Connections for Macrocells and Small Cells Over the Next Five Years

Study Also Discusses Both Wired and Wireless Technology Options

AUSTIN, TX--(Marketwired - January 06, 2016) - As mobile operators have deployed LTE over the past few years, so the need for reliable, scalable and cost effective fronthaul and backhaul has increased. The high-bandwidth demands of LTE, and now LTE-Advanced, have driven the mobile industry to predominantly use fiber for the important connections from the cells to the rest of the network. And with 5G networks starting to be implemented toward the end of the decade, the demands on backhaul will increase yet again.

While the macrocells have been upgraded (and will continue to be), small cells and heterogeneous networks are a common topic of discussion in the wireless and mobile industry. Because small cell deployments can and will vary so greatly in location, no single backhaul solution is best for them. While fiber has been the preferred solution for small cells to date, wireless backhaul solutions offer many advantages.

The main advantages for wired backhaul, fiber in particular, are: high throughput, low latency and substantial throughput scaling over time. But there are two significant challenges with fiber: it is not always where it is needed and it is relatively expensive to deploy. However, once fiber is in place, the incremental cost of adding new capacity is relatively low. On the other hand, the main advantages for wireless backhaul, as compared to fiber, are: lower cost, faster (and easier) deployment and sufficiently scalable throughput (depending on the use case and technology chosen).

iGR, a market research consultancy focused on the wireless and mobile industry, has recently published a market study that analyzes fronthaul and backhaul requirements and provides a five-year forecast for the U.S. mobile market.

"As macrocell and small cell deployments are each unique in their requirements, fronthaul and backhaul solutions must be individually designed," said Iain Gillott, president and founder of iGR. "While the type of backhaul deployed will vary, we forecast growth in the number of backhaul connections for both macrocells and small cells."

iGR's new market study, U.S. Front/Backhaul Forecast, 2014-2019: Connecting the RAN to Everything Else, discusses the wireless and wired front/backhaul technologies available and the main market drivers for each type of backhaul to support macrocells and small cells. It also presents iGR's U.S. forecast for wired and wireless front/backhaul to support the radio access network (RAN) over the next five years. The forecast is provided for both macrocells and small cells and is further delineated by the type of technology used: fiber, copper and microwave.

The following key questions are addressed in the new research study:

  • What is the anticipated growth of front/backhaul in the U.S. through 2019?
  • What is the difference between fronthaul and backhaul?
  • How is the type of front/backhaul split between fiber, wireless and copper?
  • What is the forecast for backhaul to support outdoor small cell deployments?
  • What are the major concerns of the mobile operators with regard to each type of backhaul and how can these concerns be addressed?
  • What is the role for wired and wireless front/backhaul in small cell architectures?
  • How is wired and wireless front/backhaul deployed?
  • How do PTP, PMP, NLOS, millimeter wave and traditional microwave solutions differ?
  • How do fiber (point to point and passive), VDSL2 and coaxial (hybrid fiber coax) differ?
  • How does wireless backhaul compare to fiber backhaul?

The information in this market study will be valuable for:

  • Mobile operators, particularly those servicing the U.S. market
  • Mobile backhaul providers, including telcos and cable MSOs
  • Wired and wireless backhaul vendors and solution providers
  • Mobile OEMs, particularly those servicing the U.S. market
  • Wired and wireless infrastructure vendors, particularly those servicing the U.S. market
  • Financial and investment analysts.

The new report can be purchased and downloaded directly from iGR's website at 

About iGR

iGR is a market strategy consultancy focused on the wireless and mobile communications industry. Founded by Iain Gillott, one of the wireless industry's leading analysts, in late 2000 as iGillottResearch, iGR is now in its sixteenth year of operation. iGR continuously researches emerging and existent technologies, technology industries, and consumer markets. We use our detailed research to offer a range of services to help companies improve their position in the marketplace, clearly define their future direction, and ultimately improve their bottom line.

iGR researches a range of wireless and mobile products and technologies, including: smartphones; tablets; mobile wearable devices; connected cars; mobile applications; bandwidth demand and use; small cell and het-net architectures; mobile EPC and RAN virtualization; DAS; LTE; VoLTE; IMS; NFC; GSM/GPRS/UMTS/HSPA; CDMA 1x/EV-DO; iDEN; SIP; macro-, pico- and femtocells; mobile backhaul; WiFi and WiFi offload; and SIM and UICC.

A more complete profile of the company can be found at

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