Public Wi-Fi is at a tipping point and set to grow year on year. Among the reasons for this growth are technology advances such as the Wi-Fi Alliance’s Passpoint, resulting in new Wi-Fi networks supporting carrier-grade performance and quality of experience (QoE). The shift from best-effort to carrier-grade Wi-Fi will increase network capacity and support new business models and user experiences (new services and revenue streams), but it will also create new technology demands.
In particular, carrier-grade Wi-Fi networks will become denser, will require high levels of QoE, will carry new types of traffic and will often have to interwork with cellular or IoT (Internet of Things) networks. The new equipment and systems will have to be designed to address these requirements, while remaining sufficiently affordable in a market where cost expectations (amongst operators and end users) are lower than those in the cellular market. Since users will expect higher quality of service, the network will need to offer high levels of coverage and density, which can make the return on investment case challenging.
To support rising levels of traffic and QoS, carrier-grade WiFi backhaul becomes particularly critical as networks densify, and must be optimised to deliver maximum performance and quality. Carrier-grade Wi-Fi will impose new demands, in terms of QoE, capacity and the capacity/cost ratio on the backhaul, hence new approaches to backhaul will be essential to meeting these challenges.
The backhaul challenges require completely new approaches from those used in best-effort Wi-Fi or in cellular macro networks, and unless those new technologies are adopted, the business case for carrier-grade Wi-Fi will often fail.
Point to multi-point architectures, operating in millimetre wave frequencies such as the 42 GHz band are ideally suited to enable the business case for operators and MSOs to stack up. They provide both the flexibility and capacity to meet current and future challenges related to HetNet backhaul and future 5G networks.
Bluwan’s 42 GHz LinkFusion Millimetre Wave (mmW) Point-to-Multipoint backhaul system is ideally suited for carrier Wi-Fi backhaul.
- With 10 Gbps per 4 sector transmission hub, MNOs and MSOs can easily address their bandwidth density requirements. For the first time, using Bluwan’s compact 125 Mbps Network Terminating Equipment (NTE), MNOs can deliver peak Point-to-Point performance combined with the TCO benefits of a Point-to-Multipoint solution. Line-of- Sight (LoS) un-masking and canyon in-filling can easily be delivered using Bluwan’s Link Fusion Relay.
- Beyond the traditional cost reduction associated with the usage of Point-to-Multipoint, Bluwan’s LinkFusion system enables operators to simply light up a coverage area by deploying a capacity pool, and deploy end-points or relays as required to provide total coverage. Operators no longer need to spend large amounts of time designing and re-designing complex mesh or daisy-chained network topologies.
- Due to LinkFusion’s inherent high capacity and bandwidth pooling capabilities, backhaul service providers, or MNOs engaged in network sharing alliances can deliver multi-dimensional QoS profiles for multiple operators across multiple sites, enabling them to easily assign bandwidth pools for backhaul and site sharing.