Broadband Forum introduces MPLS wireless backhaul network specification

The Broadband Forum has introduced a new specification to address the use of MPLS in the mobile backhaul network as they move from TDM to packet-based wireless backhaul.

With the "Technical Specification for MPLS in Mobile Backhaul Networks," otherwise known as TR-221, both wholesale carriers and their respective wireless operator customers will have a means to transport wireless traffic in the access and aggregation networks, including IP, TDM, ATM and Ethernet.

Specifically, TR-221 defines the global requirements of MPLS technologies in mobile backhaul networks for encapsulation, signaling and routing, QoS, Operations Administration and Maintenance (OAM), resiliency, security, and synchronization. In addition, it takes into consideration both traditional voice and data and multimedia broadcast and multicast services that users will access over their handheld devices from the wireless network.  

Taking into account that wireless operators operate a mix of legacy 2G and newer generation 3G and increasingly 4G LTE networks, TR-221 specifies the equipment requirements for the control, user and management planes to provide unified and consistent end-to-end transport services for mobile backhaul.

Likewise, equipment vendors will be able to establish an interoperability plan with other vendors that may operate in their respective wireless customer's backhaul networks.

"As mobile operators look to preserve their investment in traditional TDM and ATM networks whilst developing their 4G/LTE architectures, TR-221 will enable them to integrate new packet-based MPLS technologies into their established networks," said Robin Mersh, CEO of the Broadband Forum. "Operators will be able to evolve their networks to be faster and more efficient to meet the increasing multimedia needs of the mobile user, whilst preserving a lower cost per bit in the backhaul network."

For more:
- see the release (pdf)

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