2G, 3G, 4G, 5G: Mobile Backhaul for a Changing World

Wednesday 4 October 2017
2G, 3G, 4G, 5G: Mobile Backhaul for a Changing World


The current mobile connectivity landscape is more diverse than it has ever been before. While many regions are planning the evolution from 4G to 5G in the future, 2G and 3G are still relied upon by large numbers of people to deliver the connection they need.

In a world where around four billion people don’t have access to the Internet, these ‘older’ generations of mobile technology still represent a large amount of the existing wireless infrastructure. Mobile operators are constantly looking for ways to power and maintain these services efficiently and cost-effectively, while also keeping up with changing user habits and extending their services into more rural areas. In these regions, cellular backhaul over satellite is allowing people to remain connected and keep pace with the fast developing technology landscape. Satellite backhaul provides reliable connectivity with the quick rollout that mobile operators crave, but brings with it increased latency and operational costs which must be mitigated with the right solutions.

While 2G and 3G voice and data are still the main revenue sources and primary mobile services deployed in these regions, data demands from users are beginning to create significant strains on the network. This is forcing mobile operators to find ways to deliver a mobile broadband offering via satellite.

The 4G Question

As user habits change, the demand for 4G backhaul is also growing in industrialized markets, this time, for universal service obligation, first responder networks and wireless broadband. 4G’s emergence onto the market is happening at a faster pace than seen with any previous generations. Carrying the promise of a true mobile broadband experience, 4G is delivering higher speeds with more cost-effective equipment, blurring the lines between cellular and Wi-Fi. But 4G's consumption of significant volumes of data brings with it an added need for efficiency and enhanced Quality of Experience (QoE) for the end-user. At the same time, services must still cater to those using 2G and 3G for voice and basic data.

Newtec Dialog® integrated in IntelsatOne 2G Solution
Intelsat has announced a managed services solution, IntelsatOne Mobile Reach Solar 2G, that leverages the Newtec Dialog multiservice platform to provide 2G services in remote locations. The solution includes all satellite, cellular and power components, allowing MNOs to deploy voice services to remote populations throughout sub-Saharan Africa. The managed service integrates satellite services from Intelsat’s globalized network with the Newtec Dialog platform, and BCom’s backhaul terminal solution and network deployment expertise. 

Changing Picture

All of this comes at a cost, at a time where mobile operators are increasingly looking for OPEX savings while also guaranteeing that their voice traffic receives the necessary bandwidth. The best way of doing this is to find a balance in the return link between the service availability and efficiency of SCPC with the flexibility of TDMA by using our unique, dynamic Mx-DMA® technology, which combines the best qualities of both to ensure that all traffic is accommodated at each remote base station while multiplexing the bandwidth very efficiently between these remotes to decrease operating costs.

By using this technology, satellite backhaul is repositioned for maximized efficiency, leveraging Mx-DMA to support the widest range of the required mobile services.

An Eye on the Future

The landscape is changing radically, with the advent of High Throughput Satellites (HTS) and with newer constellations in the MEO and LEO spheres. Here, it will be crucial to utilize new technologies like Mx-DMA, for the delivery of backhaul services going forward, and for the upcoming 5G. Cellular backhaul will certainly have a role as this exciting new technology develops. Newtec is working closely in this area with other space industry leaders around the world, defining solutions and investigating opportunities for satellite to support 5G across expanded vertical industries. 

Learn more about the Trends, Challenges & Solutions in the Cellular Backhaul Market, check out our presentation.