AT&T refreshing backhaul efforts for LTE

AT&T (NYSE:T) is going to continually have to improve and update is backhaul systems as its transitions to LTE, a company executive said.

Yiannis Argyropoulos, AT&T's network architect, noted that the carrier is busy deploying fiber to its cell sites to upgrade its backhaul capabilities, and also is moving toward more Ethernet backhaul, according to Light Reading. However, Argyropoulos, speaking at the Backhaul Strategies and Core Convergence for Mobile Operators event in New York City, said the company will be deploying fiber to upgrade its backhaul until at least 2015.

To handle the expected tide of mobile data traffic that will come with LTE, the executive said, the carrier is experimenting with several possible alternatives to metro Ethernet, based partly on work being done by the 3GPP and the Broadband Forum. AT&T also will need to bring its policy controls for its wireless and wireline networks into line so that users of both networks have the same kind of experience when accessing core network services. "There is a lot of work going on right now to harmonize these," he said.

AT&T plans to begin deploying LTE in 2011, and in the meantime is readying a nationwide HSPA+ upgrade for this year, which AT&T executives have said will be able to deliver real-world download speeds of 7 Mbps. In the meantime, the carrier continues to deploy backhaul to cell sites it has upgraded to HSPA 7.2 technology.

Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ), AT&T's chief rival, is planning to launch 25-30 commercial LTE markets in the fourth quarter. Verizon is using 50 MB Ethernet backhaul based on fiber for LTE, but has also indicated it is comfortable with using microwave backhaul when its available and can meet the operator's time frame. 

For more:
- see this Light Reading article

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