Mobile Backhaul over DOCSIS (2017)

By John T. Chapman, Cisco; Jennifer Andreoli-Fang, CableLabs

One of the next big opportunities for cable operators is mobile. For a long time, cable and mobile have been competitors, both competing for that voice or Internet subscriber, or even a video subscriber. Now, they could become the best of friends. To move into small cell deployment, mobile operators need someone with a plant that can backhaul their user traffic. Cable can be that partner. Cable, meanwhile, has already moved in a direction of wireless as the last hop, and LTE is just another access technology for that last hop.

In this white paper, we examine DOCSIS as a viable option for mobile backhaul technology, particularly for small cells. The business case is that when the small cells are deployed deep in the network, DOCSIS will be there and fiber may not be. Should money be spent on installing new fiber, or can LTE use DOCSIS instead? Judging by all the WiFi deployments being backhauled by cable operators, it makes sense to consider DOCSIS as a backhaul for LTE as well.

There is money to be made and money to be lost. As always, it all depends on how much money it takes to build and operate the network. Keeping the costs down is a great motivation and is something DOCSIS has always taken notice of.

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