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FUNDAMENTALS OF MICROWAVE RADIO COMMUNICATION FOR IP AND TDM
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Case for Layer 3 Intelligence at the Mobile Cell Site

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Mobile cell sites are transitioning from simple Layer 2 connected sites for voice and low-speed mobile data access to multi-functional hubs for delivery of new services built on Layer 3 intelligence.

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Case for Layer 3 Intelligence at the Mobile Cell Site

  1. 1. SMARTER PERFORMANCE MADE SIMPLE THE CASE FOR LAYER 3 INTELLIGENCE AT THE MOBILE CELL SITE HOW TO BEST IMPLEMENT LAYER 3 INTELLIGENCE IN YOUR NETWORK AVIAT NETWORKS WHITE PAPER
  2. 2. WHITE PAPER 2 AVIAT NETWORKS Mobile cell sites are transitioning from simple Layer 2 connected sites for voice and low-speed mobile data access to multi-functional hubs for delivery of new services built on Layer 3 intelligence. Existing Layer 2 based mobile backhaul solutions make this transition difficult because regular routers installed next to legacy microwave complicate cell site configurations increase cost and add management overhead. This white paper presents a new integrated cell site architecture based on Layer 3 intelligence that promises to transform the cell site and restructure the mobile backhaul cost equation—making the new service-delivery cell-site vision possible with fewer boxes and simplifying tomorrow’s mobile network.
  3. 3. 3AVIAT NETWORKS 3AVIAT NETWORKS WHITE PAPER In the past, mobile networks were built to deliver voice services with data connectivity services as a secondary consideration. Today’s mobile networks are being relied on to support mission-critical business objectives, which are far beyond the realm of basic mobile connectivity. New enterprise, government, videoconferencing, social media and mobile commerce services place growing demands on the network in terms of capacity, security and reliability. The mobile network infrastructure must be flexible enough to deliver a growing number of new services with ease and cost effectiveness. Increase ARPU via New Services Improve Subscriber Retention Reduce Network CAPEX and OPEX Enterprise VPN, enterprise access, enterprise application acceleration Performance Improved network performance for voice, video and data services (including network densification) Fewer Boxes Common IP network infrastructure Consumers Optimized social media access, M-commerce, Videoconferencing, Security Services Services Specialized services increase stickiness Less Complexity Simplified operations and network management Other Public Safety, Government Security Security and privacy policies Future Proof Architecture to minimize ongoing investments Table 1: Mobile Operator Objectives THE EXPANDING ROLE OF THE MOBILE NETWORK Moreover, capacity demands are driving new levels of network densification by leveraging small cell, Wi-Fi and Cloud- based RAN (C-RAN) architectures. While the densification “end game” is hard to pin down, what is certain is the mobile network needs to be flexible to support a considerable amount of future uncertainty. In summary, the cell site is undergoing a transformation in order to meet subscriber coverage goals and consumer demand. Additionally, pressure comes from the mobile network operators (MNOs) and their desire to enrich service offerings, lower costs and grow average revenue per user (ARPU).
  4. 4. WHITE PAPER 4 AVIAT NETWORKS Enterprise Services Small Cell 2G, 3G, 4G Services Streaming, Video Conference, Social Media, M-commerce Transport (MW, OTN, etc) Cell Site Router COMPLEX, NON-INTEGRATED and at lower cost over a routed network. For example, Layer 3 VPN services often provide the most flexible solution for enterprise access and connectivity services— especially as service requirements expand. Many of these transport connections will terminate directly at the cell site. On-site routed infrastructure can provide optimum flexibility to support the full range of access services including IP VPN, L2 VPN, VPLS, MPLS VPN, etc. to ensure overall business objectives are met. LOWER COST Layer 2 is often believed to be a lower CAPEX solution, but many times requires higher OPEX—especially as the network changes and grows and new services are offered. Traditionally, IP routers have commanded a higher price tag due to the higher cost of the silicon chips they required. However, newer technologies coupled with a highly soft- ware driven paradigm and the fact that cell sites do not need the same level of performance found in traditional routers makes routing at the cell site cost effective. NETWORK DENSIFICATION The network edge is constantly evolving, resulting in today’s edge sites becoming aggregation nodes—where IP and Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) are now commonplace. In addition, the network needs to be flexible to support the evolving network topology. Layer 3 intelligence makes it easier to change the network topology (e.g., add a site, mesh to rings). With a mesh of L2 connections, for example, operational complexities can result in huge costs and slow the pace of the network evolution—meaning delays in new service offerings or improving network performance. THE MOBILE CELL SITE AS A LAYER 3 CONNECTED SERVICE DELIVERY HUB Operators need to enrich their offerings to attract and retain high value customers to offset the low ARPU for traditional consumer-level mobile users. To support new business initiatives, fast and flexible delivery of new ser- vices is necessary. This fact, combined with the pending network densification, means the cell site must evolve. The mobile cell site needs to evolve from simply housing a base station to supporting a network architecture that accelerates the delivery of new services to achieve busi- ness goals—the service delivery hub. IP is the only proven, scalable, futureproof technology upon which to meet these goals completely. LAYER 3 INTELLIGENCE: THE ESSSENTIAL INGREDIENT FOR CELL SITE TRANSFORMATION Traditional Carrier Ethernet (i.e., Layer 2) advocates believe cell sites should be maintained at a Layer 2 (L2) implementation, citing a lower cost and simpler network infrastructure compared to Layer 3. IP (i.e., Layer 3) intelligence at the cell site gives the operator flexibility to support new scalable, high-quality services and the pend- ing mobile network densification. Based on this, below are some reasons why routers at the cell site are poised to become the norm in future mobile network architectures. NEW SERVICE DELIVERY Many enterprise, government, videoconferencing and banking services can be delivered much more efficiently
  5. 5. 5AVIAT NETWORKS WHITE PAPER MULTI-SERVICE CONNECTIVITY New services, and network densification means the emer- gence of a multitude of devices at the cell site. Many of these devices are multi-service interfaces and many can even include legacy interfaces such as TDM, ATM or even FR/X25. Routers are the only proven solution to cost ef- fectively converge multi-services interfaces onto a single low cost IP transport. Also, with the migration to LTE/ HSPA+, native IP is the default transport technology. SECURITY Layer 3 intelligence at the cell site provides many security benefits. Because mobile security requirements continue to evolve, routers offer optimum flexibility (e.g., having the ability to initiate and terminate IPsec) and the ability to support ever-changing security requirements. Ultimately, ensuring both control and bearer channels are carried in the most secure fashion possible. HIGHER CAPACITY AND NETWORK SCALABILITY IP routers at the cell site enable the network to better deal with capacity challenges. By having the intelligence to route around issues, routed intelligence at the cell site can have a great effect on capacity. When compared to flat Layer 2 networks, routers scale to vast numbers of nodes, thus, giving flexibility to grow the network seamlessly with a lower total cost of ownership. X2 INTERFACE The interface between eNodeBs in LTE architecture, X2 creates significant challenges for network architects. Carrying up to 10 percent of an eNodeB’s total traffic, X2 has extremely low latency requirements and is a key connection to support mobile handoff. When eNodeBs are on different subnets, a router is required to provide X2 connectivity and avoid storms of broadcast traffic. A more scalable X2 infrastructure is achieved by supporting router functionality at the cell site. Cell site routers are an essential investment to support the expanding role of the mobile network. BACKHAUL TRENDS: WHAT OPERATORS SAY ABOUT LAYER 3 NETWORK INTELLIGENCE In the last three years, research has revealed a lot about the changing intent of wireless network opera- tors to deploy Layer 3 (L3) intelligent applications. In many markets, and especially in emerging markets, a plurality (42 percent) of operators see a need for Layer 3 functionality in access networks, according to a 2013 Heavy Reading report. Even more telling, in the same report, a strong majority of operators (62 percent) said that it was “very likely” that MPLS—a leading L3 tech- nology—would need to be deployed in the aggregation layer of their networks. More recently in 2014, Heavy Reading research found that mobile network operators (MNOs) see a new ap- plication for L3 intelligence. Specifically, 73 percent consider L3 “critical” or “very important” for delivering new services to enterprises from current cell sites. This sentiment goes hand in hand with the observation that mobile operators consider enterprise services a top strategic priority for growth. Not only do MNOs see a role for L3 at the edges of their networks but also private network operators. In a proprietary study conducted by Aviat Networks in November 2014, survey results of non-MNO operators in North America reveal that 66 percent of respondents believed it is “critical” or “very important” to adopt IP/ MPLS technology within their networks. In addition, a nearly unanimous number (92 percent) of survey re- spondents said end-to-end IP/MPLS provisioning was “critical” or “very important.” What all these L3 survey results share in common is that operators of all persuasions believe that they lack in-house experience to roll out L3 functionality. Concomitantly, they feel they will need outside ex- perts in order to implement the most highly intelligent networks.
  6. 6. WHITE PAPER 6 AVIAT NETWORKS POOR FAILURE DETECTION AND RECOVERY In the above scenarios, the router generally does not know what the microwave radio is doing in relation to failure recovery. Separate boxes require complex signaling/interworking that is not well coordinated. Also, there is a lack of integrated failure recovery across all layers including the IP/MPLS layer. NON-INTEGRATED RF The above options all involve Ethernet connections from the router to the microwave device, either baseband unit or ODU. This is a departure from traditional micro- wave architectures—which have worked well for years and represent 95 percent of all microwave deployments today, where a microwave baseband unit is connected to the RF unit with an intermediate frequency connection over the COAX cable interface. With the router + Ethernet RF unit options, the modem is in the ODU on the tower, which requires a tower climb for any modem upgrades. The multitude of protection options (e.g. 1+1, N+0, SD, FD) gets extremely complex, and many configurations are not supported. The cabling is also a challenge. Existing COAX cable infrastructure cannot be reused, and many new cables are often required (RJ45 Ethernet has limited dis- tances so optical cables need to be run in addition). Power over Ethernet (PoE) injectors are also generally required often necessitating purchase, deployment and ongoing maintenance of a separate box. In summary, the lack of RF integration on these router + Ethernet radio configura- tions spells trouble for mobile network operator (MNO) operations teams. ADDING LAYER 3 INTELLIGENCE TO LEGACY MICROWAVE WITH REGULAR ROUTERS MAKES NETWORKS MORE COMPLEX, LESS INTEGRATED Despite all the benefits, the addition of the router adds a completely new level of complexity to the transport network of microwave connected cell sites. Routers can be deployed alongside a microwave indoor unit in a split-mount microwave scenario or connected directly to an ODU (outdoor unit) in an all-outdoor Ethernet scenario. In either case, routers are not well integrated into the microwave transport network, which can cause a host of challenges for operators. Key challenges are listed below: MANAGEMENT COMPLEXITY Separate devices, with different management interfaces, create a multitude of operational challenges. End-to-end configuration, provisioning, fault and performance management can be difficult especially in IP/MPLS configuration. LACK OF DYNAMIC BANDWIDTH AWARENESS The router does not have awareness into the microwave radio’s link bandwidth. Without this knowledge, traffic en- gineering and L2/L3 routing become very difficult. In addi- tion, Adaptive Coding and Modulation (ACM), which results in dynamic reduction of link bandwidth, makes matters worse. Network performance is drastically affected in the above scenarios where routers are “flying blind” and not aware of the actual bandwidth available in the network. DUMB MICROWAVE INDOOR UNIT ROUTER IF Connected ODU All Outdoor Ethernet Radio DUMBER ROUTER OR
  7. 7. 7AVIAT NETWORKS WHITE PAPER LACK OF INTEGRATED SYNCHRONIZATION, SECURITY AND QOS Router + Ethernet ODU solutions lack an integrated security policy across all layers and boxes. They also lack automatic alignment of QoS policy across all layers leading to a complex operations effort to manage and maintain end-to-end QoS policy. Also, because of the lack of integration, clock source change on router results in a network wide microwave outage. TOO MANY BOXES Unintegrated solutions currently deliver L2/L3 intelligence at the cell site using external routers. This means that ex- ternal boxes have to be separately configured, externally connected and functionally tested, especially for solutions from different vendors. The use of external boxes not only increases management complexity, operational expenses and energy consumption but also network performance degradation. This is especially true if the router providing L2 VPN or MPLS-TE functionality is not aware of underly- ing wireless fluctuations. These RF propagation fluctua- tions can lead the microwave equipment to run at lower capacity (i.e., lower modulation), something of which the L2/L3 equipment may not be aware. All these issues cre- ate a more expensive and inefficient solution. In the same way that consumer devices like cellphones have integrated items such as cameras, video players, and voice to create a more powerful “Swiss Army” knife device. The integration of microwave IDU, switch, router and TDM mux functionality in one device simplifies cell site deployments reducing installation complexity and improving network performance. SERVICE DELIVERY IS TOO SLOW As the need that operators have for new revenue streams intensifies new services are deployed at faster speeds in the core of the network. Only to be delayed by the RAN deployment. A big part of this is the unautomated and labor-intensive deployment of backhaul. The use of an integrated nodal solution like the CTR family with a single management interface that can integrate L1, L2 and L3 aspects of the microwave router can significantly reduce configuration time. This can be complemented by using a powerful event driven platform like Aviat OS (part of SmartNode) for automating network functions. This kind of platform should be able to use a scripting language to automate labor-intensive backhaul deployments and reduce service delivery time.
  8. 8. THE INDUSTRY’S ONLY NODAL MICROWAVE SOLUTION WITH INTEGRATED LAYER 3 INTELLIGENCE SmartNode is a single split mount nodal system with virtualized high performance radio nodes and integrated IP/MPLS routing capability. The SmartNode solution consists of any radio (IRU 600, ODU 600, STR 600, WTM 3300, etc) deployed with any router/switch (CTR 8500, 8300, 8400, 8600 series models). Regardless of the number of radios, or whether the radios are IF or Ethernet connected, the SmartNode solution behaves as one system with one IP address and one configuration— just like a traditional split mount nodal microwave radio— simplifying operations and lowering costs. Aviat SmartNode features include: Nodal Microwave Being one single system, SmartNode is easy to manage, configure and upgrade. This is in stark contrast to outdoor radios that are independently managed entities having separate IP address and QoS configurations for each device. These solutions complicate operations especially at nodal sites. Integrated Microwave Router Because of CTR’s Integrated L2 and L3 intelligence, SmartNode reduces the number of boxes to buy, deploy, and maintain. This results in faster and more efficient service delivery and new revenue opportunities right from the transport network. In addition, the system is media aware all the way to Layer 3 so the routing protocols understand what’s happening over microwave links for better performing networks. WHITE PAPER 8 AVIAT NETWORKS Aviat SmartNode is the simplest, smartest way to add Layer 3 Intelligence to your mobile network ADDING LAYER 3 INTELLIGENCE WITH AVIAT SMARTNODE
  9. 9. WWW.AVIATNETWORKS.COM Aviat, Aviat Networks, and Aviat logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Aviat Networks, Inc. ProVision is a registered trademark of Aviat U.S., Inc. © Aviat Networks, Inc. [2015). All Rights Reserved. Data subject to change without notice. _wp_IntelligenceLayer3_23Mar15 SPLIT-MOUNT OR OUTDDOR RADIOS + REGULAR ROUTER AVIAT SMARTNODE SMARTER MEDIA AWARENESS POOR Microwave not integrated with L3 EXCELLENT Adaptive media awareness - common protocol across all devices SERVICES POOR Separate devices required EXCELLENT Implemented with fewer boxes, integrated PERFORMANCE CAPACITY EXCELLENT Double header available today (but tower climb to add channel 50% of the time) EXCELLENT Meets today’s needs and evolves to future RELIABILITY POOR 50 minutes more downtime per site per year. Unproven MTBF (double header) EXCELLENT No PoE injectors, no single point of failure. Electronics inside—lower MTTR MADE SIMPLE OPERATIONS COMPLEX Many separate devices to manage: multiple management platforms, complex power management, complex demarcations SIMPLE Single virtualized device (1 QoS policy for entire node). Single EMS TCO HIGH More boxes, complex operations, lower reliability. 40% higher TCO SIMPLE Fewer boxes, simpler, more reliable Single Management Interface - Nodal Managment Regardless of the number of radios and router/switches at a SmartNode location, all assets can be managed with a single IP address. This single user interface is a radical departure from other solutions that require separate man- agement solutions for the radio, L2 switch and routers. SmartNode is an integrated solution for seamless opera- tion and lower TCO. Aviat SmartNode combines the proven advantages of nodal microwave with the latest innovation of integrated micro- wave router, with support for both IF-connected ODUs and Ethernet-connected ODRs, with built-in PoE. Zero Footprint For locations where indoor space is not available, Aviat’s Zero Footprint SmartNode is available with an outdoor CTR product. As the network densifies, today’s edge sites will be tomorrow’s nodal sites so with Zero Footprint SmartNode not only do you get all the benefits of SmartNode in an outdoor package but also future proof yourself for pending network expansion. Aviat SmartNode is SMARTER (service flexibility, media aware), PERFORMANCE (high capacity, best reliability), MADE SIMPLE (deployment and operations simplicity and lowest total cost of ownership).

Mobile cell sites are transitioning from simple Layer 2 connected sites for voice and low-speed mobile data access to multi-functional hubs for delivery of new services built on Layer 3 intelligence.

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