June 24, 2020

Building Digital Bridges with Backhaul

From Satellite Evolution EMEA

Semir Hassanaly
Semir Hassanaly, Head of Cellular Backhaul and Trunking, ST Engineering iDirect

Cellular backhaul is making huge strides right now with the promise of supporting the 5G advancement and helping bridge the digital divide. Offering so much to so many different segments, we can expect to see this connectivity area really heat up in the years to come.

As markets mature and governments begin to enforce Universal Service Obligations (USO) to bridge the digital divide, mobile operators in emerging markets find themselves under increased pressure to extend their services in rural and untapped areas. By now, a world without the Internet is unimaginable, however, a staggering 41 percent of the global population still do not have access to the Internet. In the context of the current global coronavirus pandemic, connecting the unconnected becomes even more important, with access for every citizen, no matter where they are in the world, needed to ensure access to rapidly changing information and vital services.

Set to revolutionize all aspects of our lives across all sectors, 5G will facilitate a huge shift towards a landscape
dominated by wireless connectivity, with satellite set to become an essential part of that infrastructure. Promising to
advance network capabilities and offer an exciting opportunity for a plethora of new applications, satellite backhaul has
gained rapid pace in the market. Mobile operators are moving towards satellite solutions as they provide wide area coverage at an effective cost, crucial for delivering cellular backhaul services.

A new era In today’s increasingly connected world, mobile connectivity is one market which satellite operators would do well to capitalize on by providing cellular backhaul. In remote areas, satellite backhaul is often the only mobile transport available, providing reliability and quick service roll-out. However, it also brings increased latency and operational costs which must be mitigated with the right solutions.

As user habits change, and connectivity levels reach unprecedented amounts year on year, the demand for 4G/LTE backhaul is growing, with 5G also on the horizon. Northern Sky Research (NSR) forecasts that the deployment of satellite backhaul sites will reach approximately 160,000 units by 2028. Continue>