Fred Wright touched on wired versus wireless backhaul in his presentation this morning, but I was able to get more details in the Motorola booth. Backhaul is the portion of a network that links a cellular or wireless tower to the network backbone. Many operators currently use T1 lines for backhaul, often leasing them from other network operators for a couple hundred dollars a month. A reasonably efficient model and not very expensive. But WiMAX changes the equation.
Because of the throughput needed for WiMAX, operators need significantly more backhaul bandwidth than they have in the past. Instead of leasing a couple of T1 lines for each wireless tower, they’re looking at needing 15 or 16 now, and that adds up. One alternative is to use wireless backhaul. Motorola has a point-to-point wireless solution called the PTP 600. Where a T1 line supports 1.5 MB in each direction, the PTP 600 supports 300 MB across both directions. It’s also not a lease model, which means operators can buy once and not pay out a monthly fee.