Wireless Backhaul Market from an Intermodal Perspective
|出版日||ページ情報||英文 103 Pages
|インターモーダルの観点から見たワイヤレスバックホール市場 Wireless Backhaul Market from an Intermodal Perspective|
|出版日: 2013年04月01日||ページ情報: 英文 103 Pages||
The term cellular backhaul refers to the part of a cellular network that connects base station sites to each other and with the core network. Formerly considered just an ancillary part of the radio access network, the need to cope with increasing wireless data traffic has refocused attention on backhaul as a strategic network segment. Besides wireline, several wireless technologies can be used for cellular backhaul, including point-to-point (PtP) microwave, point-to-multipoint (PmP) microwave, non-line of sight (NLOS) and millimeter wave. As a consequence, a combined analysis of all of them is needed to analyze in depth the main backhaul trends worldwide. However, a complete analysis requires going beyond the wireless backhaul market itself and including complementary markets (such as fixed broadband, Carrier Ethernet networks and RAN), customers (mobile operators), suppliers (component vendors) and regulators.
With the the advent of outdoor public small cell (metrocell) deployment, existing synergies between all the forces mentioned above are further strengthened, making a global wireless backhaul analysis more necessary than ever. Thanks to its exclusive focus on telecom infrastructure, Maravedis-Rethink's Intermodal Perspective takes into account all these aspects to produce an unbiased assessment on the evolution of wireless backhaul. The present report thus covers all the wireless backhaul technologies available (PtP/PmP microwave, millimeter wave and NLOS), analyzes 17 of the top wireless backhaul market vendors representing all wireless technologies, and offers a backhaul forecast based on the analysis of the top 37 international mobile operator groups.
In 2012, the PtP microwave backhaul market was US$4.58 billion, down roughly 3% from 2011. The outlook for this market is not expected to change in 2013, 2014 and 2015, when the macrocell backhaul market will remain flat due to the cautious deployment of LTE networks in many regions. The intensification of wide-area LTE build-out activity from 2014 will explode in 2016, leading to a sudden 38% year-over-year wireless macrocell backhaul revenue increase. However, growth cannot be maintained in the face of the increasing importance of small cells in the deployment of cellular networks. The wireless macrocell market is projected thus to decrease 15% in 2017, followed by subsequent stagnation in 2018.
In 2012, Huawei confirmed its place among the top microwave vendors, leading the wireless macrocell backhaul market with almost 20% of the total market revenue. Huawei was closely followed by Ericsson, with slightly more than 19% of the total revenues. NEC came third, although at some distance from the top, with almost 14% of the total annual revenue.
Following the same trend as microwave, the millimeter wave market slightly decreased in 2012 to US$75.81 million revenues, 2.8% below 2011 revenues. E-band (70 - 80 GHz) radio represented 70% of total millimeter wave market revenue, while the remaining 30% corresponded to V-band (60 GHz) radios. In terms of radio shipments, the split between E-band and V-band was 75% - 25% as a result of the lower average selling price offered by Siklu, the leading E-band vendor.
In spite of being the only wireless backhaul market to grow in 2012, the PmP microwave market experienced a scant 7% increase in revenue over 2011, reaching US$57.37 million. The ranking was dominated by Cambridge Broadband, followed by Intracom Telecom, Bluwan and JRC.
Although the proposed use of NLOS technologies for backhaul is not new, the market for licensed NLOS radios capable of backhauling LTE metrocells is still in a very preliminary stage. Most of the early entrants such as Airspan, Taqua and Blinq Networks still do not provide enough capacity for LTE backhaul applications, while the latest players to arrive, Tarana Wireless and Fastback Networks, are still on trial process.
The wireless metrocell backhaul market, gathering US$3.73 billion revenue in 2017, will offset the macrocell backhaul decline. Global growth in the wireless backhaul market will take place despite projecting that up to 69% of the total metrocells deployed worldwide in the 2013-2018 timeframe
will be backhauled with wireline technologies. Predominance of wireline metrocell backhaul will be driven by the need for converged fixed-mobile carriers to leverage costly investments in FTTx before spending money in dedicated metrocell backhaul networks.
The role of the different wireless technologies within the metrocell backhaul market is projected to change considerably with respect to the macrocell status quo. Millimeter wave and PmP microwave technologies, which served niche markets in the past, will gather 57% and 22% of the total wireless metrocell backhaul revenue in the 2013-2018 timeframe. As a result of the scarcity and fragmentation of the sub-6GHz licensed spectrum, and global regulatory uncertainty driven by the U.S., the NLOS backhaul market will be the smallest segment (8%). PtP microwave will become an in-between technology in those geographies where regulation for millimeter wave and PmP microwave is unfavorable or uncertain.
Consideration of detailed regional trends in the backhaul space is fundamental to understand the evolution of the backhaul market in the coming years. In fact, some of the clues to the final backhaul mix in the metrocell deployment can be envisioned by analyzing today's market. Mobile operators in Africa, for example, the leading region in the PmP microwave market in 2012, are expected to continue trusting PmP technology to backhaul as much as 49% of the metrocells deployed in the 2013-2018 timeframe.
Another region which has been traditionally aggregated into the unhelpfully broad EMEA conglomerate is CIS. This region is showing a fast uptake of millimeter wave technology, being the second largest market for this technology in 2012 (26% of the total revenue) after Europe (39%). Millimeter wave is expected to be just a few percentage points behind wireline technologies in metrocell units backhauled during the 2013-2018 timeframe in the region.
Antenna technology, radio form factor, spectrum availability and routing capabilities are the four key parameters that will make the difference in the metrocell backhaul space. Antenna technology is a key feature to enable fast deployment of metrocell backhaul radios. Form factor proposals include nature-inspired designs and unusual features with the sole objective of making metrocell backhaul radios practically unnoticeable to the average pedestrian. Spectrum bands that avoid interaction between the operator and the telecom regulator are the perfect complement to self-configuration capabilities. Finally, the more complex topology in comparison the macrocell backhaul will probably be managed with routing functionality, although its concrete implementation varies among vendors.
Remarkable differences appear when analyzing the parameters above in the wireless macrocell backhaul market, where antennas are some sort of commodity, spectrum choices are strongly determined by the link length, and TDM to packet evolution still gathers more attention than the implementation of routing capabilities.
After the commoditization of 256-QAM support in the last few years, vendors have turned back to increasing modulation complexity to further improve backhaul capacity. However, most microwave vendors are facing challenges in supporting higher modulation levels with their current hardware platforms. Several different approaches are being followed by vendors depending on the equipment component where each has found its bottleneck.
In the trunking segment, competition among vendors to minimize total cost of ownership has ended the kingdom of indoor configurations. Split-mount and even all-outdoor configurations are now supported for long-haul applications by several vendors.