According to Infonetics ,
the number of mobile phone subscribers in the world will reach 5.9 billion by 2013.
Meanwhile the traffic mix has shifted from voice to bandwidth intensive, data-centric applications
driven by smartphones. (According to ABI ,
an average of 1.6 exabytes of mobile data will be sent and received each month by
2014.) As an illustration of the demand on uplinks, a 3G mobile device runs at up to
7.2Mbps, while 4G LTE will increase peak speeds to near 100Mbps .
No wonder service providers are already struggling to keep pace with demand.
These trends are a major challenge for service providers, who need to generate income
from new data services, even while the Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) is slow growing at
Traditionally service providers carried mobile voice traffic from base stations to
the PSTN edge using T1/E1 TDM links, which are expensive, voice-centric circuits.
Even before the advent of data-centric mobile devices, service providers were moving
from T1s/E1s to Ethernet backhaul over fiber or microwave, attracted by Ethernet's
dramatically lower cost. But the rise in smartphone devices, and the load they place
on the network, has dramatically increased this trend. Service providers still want
to utilize their legacy infrastructure, but are now increasingly backhauling both
voice and data over Ethernet, and then routing both voice and data on into their core
In these new backhaul networks, service providers want to
- offer the same quality of service (QoS) and reliability characteristics as
traditional SONET/SDH, ATM, or TDM technologies
- share equipment and infrastructure between multiple mobile technologies –
for example between 2G (based on TDM), 3G (based on ATM) and LTE (which is IP)
- aggregate 2G, 3G and LTE mobile traffic across one or more uplinks
- unify operational tasks such as provisioning, monitoring, and OAM
- lower network and operational costs.
Packet IP/MPLS networks provide an excellent solution to these requirements.
Voice and data traffic is transported over multiple pseudowires using MPLS label
switched paths (LSPs) inside an outer MPLS tunnel. Pseudowires can be statically
or dynamically managed to accommodate changes in the traffic mix, support fine-grained
QoS, and can be traffic engineered to maximize use of the core infrastructure.
Pseudowires can also be set up to provide fast failover from a primary to a backup
uplink, to provide resiliency in the case of uplink or network failure.
Metaswitch has vast experience in supplying MPLS and IP Routing network software
products to communications equipment manufacturers, enabling them to build mobile
backhaul base stations and mobile backhaul aware edge routers that address the
challenges of mobile networks.
Features and Benefits
The Metaswitch solution for communications equipment manufacturers building
mobile backhaul devices offers the following features and benefits.
- Portable and scalable implementations of the MPLS and IP Routing standards
- Rich support for pseudowires and Traffic Engineering
- Both static (managed) and dynamic (signaled) LSPs
- Full protection switching and fast restoration, including meshed networks –
delivering resilience within the network
- Built-in high availability and software upgrade – delivering resilience within
- Wide deployment in many mobile backhaul devices
- Engineering of the very highest quality.
The Metaswitch solution for communications equipment manufacturers building mobile
backhaul devices is based on the following elements:
- DC-MPLS – including one or both of DC-RSVP
- DC-IP Routing – including one or more of
- DC-MPLS and DC-IP Routing protocol support for (among others)
traffic engineering, end-to-end protection switching and fast restoration
- N-BASE, Metaswitch's portable operating
environment for network software products
- High Availability Framework (HAF),
Metaswitch's architecture for delivering fault tolerance and reduced downtime across
the range of its network software products
- Metaswitch professional services, training, and support directly from the
Metaswitch engineering organization.
 "Fixed and Mobile Subscribers market forecast report",
Infonetics, November 2009
 "Mobile Data Traffic Analysis", ABI Research, 3Q 2009
 Likely average LTE speeds are more likely to be in the range 10Mbps to 50Mbps,
depending on spectrum, antenna use, available bandwidth, and channel size.