Fiber-based Ethernet, P2P microwave dominated small cell backhaul in 2015, says research firm

While the wireless industry's move to outdoor small cells has been relatively slow, wireline-based Ethernet fiber and point-to-point (P2P) microwave led the market in terms of revenue in 2015. According to a new IHS report, the global outdoor small cell backhaul equipment market totaled $117 million. In 2011, 42,600 outdoor small cell backhaul connections were built out in 2015 and IHS has forecast that figure will rise to 878,000 in 2020.

Driven mostly by mobile operators' need to enhance saturated macrocellular networks and improve the mobile broadband experience by adding capacity through dense low power node deployments, IHS says the outdoor small cell backhaul market will reach $2.2 billion in 2020, with a five-year (2016–2020) compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 80 percent. IHS expects small cell deployments will really start to ramp in 2017, with growth to continue through 2020 as deployments proliferate. As a result of these deployments, a cumulative $6.4 billion will be spent worldwide on outdoor small cell backhaul equipment between 2016 and 2020.

Initially, wireless operators will deploy small cells and backhaul in dense urban areas like Boston and Chicago, but IHS notes that Vodafone and other wireless operators are using small cells for outdoor coverage in rural areas, where the backhaul is usually based on a wireline connection. Release