What is wireless fronthaul?

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The term ‘fronthaul’ is gaining industry recognition as the interface between the cellular base station’s processing elements (namely the baseband unit or BBU) and the attached radio units (RRU).

Historically, coaxial cables (also referred to as feeders) were used to connect the base station to the radio antennas located at the top of the tower or building.

The advent of digital and fiber technology now allows for new architectures that centralize base stations’ processing, and distribute the radio elements close to the location with ideal propagation and coverage.

EBlink takes fronthaul to the next level by allowing radio units (RRUs) to be located practically anywhere, and linking them to the baseband processing via a wireless link.

Operators are no longer forced to lay costly fiber runs or limit their new sites to locations served by fiber.

Importantly, EBlink’s patented technology ensures that radio access performance remains intact when using a wireless fronthaul link.




EBlink’s technology drives benefits and savings

Today, industry analysts and major operators consider wireless fronthaul as an essential technology. Soaring needs for coverage and capacity stem from the developemnt of 3G/4G+ and soon 5G, in reponse to the growing need for connectivity and the rise of the internet of objects. Complementary to optical fiber, wireless fronthaul addresses both the short-term issues of mobile network densification and optimization, as well as the future evolution of networks toward centralized artchitectures.

EBlink’s wireless fronthaul allows for coverage of wide, dense areas without disrupting operators’ existing processes: design, implementation, optimization, procurement and vendor management, network operations, management and maintenance are all carried out in the same way as with fiber connections.

EBlink’s wireless fronthaul makes it easier for mobile operators to meet network capacity and coverage needs, while providing a risk-free evolution toward denser cellular networks and Centralized RAN architecture. Wireless fronthaul is also highly suited to deployment of Local C-RAN, where the fronthaul link is sometimes referred to as “mid-haul”.

Groundbreaking spectral efficiency

FrontLinkTM : 7.5 Gbps CPRI in less than 70MHz of spectrum

EBlink’s FrontLinkTM portfolio allows up to three independent channels on a single wireless fronthaul link, supporting up to tri-sector site configurations or tri-band remote sectors. For example, the FrontLinkTM 58 solution is capable of carrying up to 7.5 Gbps CPRI l in less than 70MHz of spectrum.
Another benefit of this spectral efficiency is the possibility for a high concentration of wireless fronthaul links within a given geographical area, significantly boosting network capacity where needed.

Thanks to its unmatched spectral efficiency, EBlink’s solution is the only field-proven technology that can be deployed in both licensed and unlicensed bands.

Future-proof solution for Local C-RAN & Centralized RAN

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Wireless fronthaul Local C-RAN or Centralized RAN enabler

The growth of data-hungry applications (smart phones, tablets, phablets, wearables, etc.), the upcoming demands of mobile-to-mobile communication and the transition to a digital society all indicate that networks will remain strained for capacity in the foreseeable future.

The most promising solution to this insatiable need for mobile bandwidth is to densify the cellular networks with ever smaller transceivers. Mobile operators are eager to move towards cost-efficient, high-performing and environmentally cleaner network architectures.

Wireless fronthaul as a Centralized RAN enabler

The potential offered by C-RAN architecture is enormous. These network architectures not only deliver better radio efficiency, but also generate substantial CAPEX and OPEX savings for mobile operators. Because the management is centralized, network operators can benefit from better radio performance, thanks to collaborative radio, interference mitigation and mobility management features.

A fronthaul-based RAN is inherently future proof. All the baseband processing elements are centralized, with only the Radio Frequency elements distributed in the field. EBlink’s Wireless Fronthaul technology offers a convenient, low-risk and flexible solution to future RAN architectures, providing a solution that is perfectly complementary to fiber fronthaul.

Local C-RAN with wireless fronthaul

By providing a wireless “very last mile” solution to connect the base station’s processing elements to their radio, EBlink offers mobile operators the possibility to expand existing networks without revamping their network architecture and management.

With wireless fronthaul, mobile operators around the world can leverage their existing base station infrastructure and smoothly add remote sectors (macro sectors or small cell sectors) linked to the macro sites. In effect, every macro site can be turned into a mini C-RAN, what many operators now refer to as “Local C-RAN”.Schema EBlink USB Card_445

Interference cancellation & mitigation: LTE-Advanced ready

Performance, scalability and capacity

Wireless fronthaul lets operators build true carrier class mobile networks with the highest scalability, efficiency and service quality. EBlink’s FrontLinkTM solutions enable operators to install radio transceivers at the most optimal location, to add capacity where the demand is, and to connect those remote radio transceivers to the network over a robust and high performance wireless connection.

Wireless fronthaul technology makes it possible to manage the macro and small cell layers as one single resource pool, resulting in much higher capacity and performance, and smoother mobility – a true mobile network experience.

Mobile operators benefit from optimal interference management, network resource pooling, and centralized and coordinated network management, giving them an almost limitless range of possibilities for their network and customers.

EBlink’s FrontLinkTM solutions offer a future-proof design compatible with interference management techniques: Carrier aggregation, CoMP, Massive MIMO.

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Seamless integration

EBlink’s wireless fronthaul solutions open a new page in the history of mobile network deployment. Operators no longer need to deploy complex and bulky equipment at each site. Instead, EBlink makes it possible to install compact and simple radio equipment in practically any location where power is available.

Obvious benefits

Access to a wide range of previously unthinkable site options. With no concerns about fiber connectivity, EBlink’s wireless fronthaul solutions can be perfectly integrated into all sorts of urban equipment: billboards, parking meters, train supports, artwork, street lamps, rooftops, etc. Leverage of existing cell sites, whose facilities are reused. Elimination of any backhaul costs and delays for new sites:

  • with EBlink's FrontLinkTM solutions, connecting a radio site to the base station takes a matter of minutes.
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FrontLink™ : smart design for urban seamless integration

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FrontLink™ : smart design for urban seamless integration

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FrontLink™ : smart design for urban seamless integration

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FrontLink™ : smart design for urban seamless integration

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FrontLink™ : smart design for urban seamless integration