There’s an avalanche of traffic set to deluge the world’s communications networks, challenging their capacity and resilience. And yet not all networks are designed to cope
Many of the telecommunications networks that service the needs of consumers and businesses in the UK are based around infrastructure designed for a much simpler age to the one in which we now live.
Way back when the UK’s copper-based communication networks were installed, voice traffic was the only thing they were ever expected to carry. Now we have the internet and a world of data that needs to flow both at high speeds and over long distances. And to make matters more complex, we’re on the verge of a new step change in the expectations placed on these networks.
The following is just a small selection of the bandwidth-hungry technologies that we'll soon be taking for granted in our domestic and professional lives:
- Mobile TV lets you watch telly in any location – at the bus-stop, on the train, at the airport, anywhere, so long as you have a compatible 3G phone with which to tune in
- It’s not just about phones - 3G-enabled laptops and personal digital assistants (PDAs) are driving demand for cellular broadband access, made possible by 3G technologies like High-Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA)
- 3G is not the endgame, in fact 4G is already upon us. 4G technologies like WiMAX, UMB (Ultra Mobile Broadband) and LTE (Long Term Evolution) are beginning to be deployed and will take the mobile internet to a new level
- Fixed line broadband will be challenged by IPTV, which will deliver high-quality multi-channel television and streamed video, all via the internet and displayed on your regular TV.
Under particular pressure are mobile network operators (MNOs) who are not only taking on more and more subscribers but also having to satisfy higher bandwidth requirements year on year. They’re being forced to reassess the infrastructure that handles their current and future backhaul needs (the movement of large volumes of mobile data over wide areas).
MNOs’ existing 2G networks have depended on traditional standards like SONET/SDH leased lines or microwave to carry voice traffic from base transceiver stations to base station controllers. Now they need something better.
Backhaul is already the largest area of spend for MNOs, and they don’t want to see these costs rise much further as they’re limited in how much they can pass onto consumers in more expensive subscription charges.
To cope with a world of mobile broadband, networks based around Carrier Ethernet are the only realistic way for operators to handle the looming backhaul of tomorrow.
Managing bandwidth the Arqiva way
Arqiva, the communications infrastructure and media services company, operates at the heart of the broadcast, satellite and mobile communications markets. The company is at the forefront of network solutions and services in the digital world. Arqiva provides a lot of the infrastructure behind television, radio, satellite and wireless communications in the UK and has quite a presence in Ireland, mainland Europe and the USA. Customers include major broadcasters such as the BBC, ITV, BSkyB and the independent radio groups, major telco providers including the UK's five mobile network operators, and the emergency services.