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Microwave Outlook 2020: why backhaul holds a key to speedier 5G deployment

The latest edition of Ericsson’s Microwave Outlook report addresses the crucial role of mobile transport technology in enabling communications service providers around the world to ramp up 5G deployment.

Released on October 15, the Microwave Outlook 2020 report highlights how service providers can tackle their backhaul challenges to meet the needs of wider-area 5G coverage and use cases.

The report shows that while microwave transmission is used mainly as last-mile connectivity in urban areas, a combination of last-mile access and aggregation links is more suitable for suburban and rural deployments.

Key findings include:

  • By 2025, 62 percent of backhaul connections globally are expected to be based on microwave (excluding fiber-dense countries China, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan).
  • The importance of differentiating backhaul availability is growing as capacity continues to increase. Simulations show that differentiated availability enables cost-efficient backhaul without affecting user experience.
  • The future use of 6GHz is a hot topic in backhaul spectrum.
  • Carrier aggregation, multi-band and MIMO are efficient tools for handling scarce and scattered spectrum.

Hans Mähler, Head of Microwave Systems, Ericsson, says: “Our latest Microwave Outlook report offers valuable insights for communications service providers as they address their 5G backhaul needs. With 5G deployments accelerating globally, backhaul capacity requirements will increase for RAN sites. To support these demands a wide range of transport aspects such as spectrum usage, differentiated availability and the mix of fiber and microwave becomes important. Microwave will be a key technology to take 5G outside urban areas.”

Read the Ericsson Microwave Outlook 2020 report.

*Global total mobile data traffic is projected to grow by a factor close to 5 to reach 164EB per month in 2025, according to the Ericsson Mobility Report June 2020 edition.