Want Gwen Stefani videos on your broadband cell? Think WiMAX backhaul

 That's a depiction of Verizon V CAST, Verizon Wireless' new broadband video content for cell phones. Watching Gwen Stefani on your cell is cool, but that's not what we are going to talk about here.

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That's a depiction of Verizon V CAST, Verizon Wireless' new broadband video content for cell phones. Watching Gwen Stefani on your cell is cool, but that's not what we are going to talk about here. We are going to talk about the upgrades mobile providers need to make to get this content to your cell so that it looks good.

The growth of such broadband video content delivered over cellular networks and to cell phones isn't only exciting for content creators and consumers. It also creates substantial upgrade requirements for cellular base station backhaul.

In telecommunications, backhaul refers to the transmission of voice and data traffic from a cell site to a switch. This is usually done from a remote site to a central site.

Infonetics Research has just released a survey of 29 phone companies that among several other issues, were quizzed about their cellular backhaul plans. The survey is entitled Service Provider Plans for IP, MPLS, and ATM: North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific

"One of the hottest market segments now and for the next 5 years is cellular base station backhaul," the study authors write. "The number of mobile subscribers continues to grow in all regions, and cellular operators are launching data and video-based services."

"Most base stations require only a single T1/E1 to handle voice traffic. Adding data/video turns up the need to 3 or 4 T1/E1s at a minimum, with video potentially driving even higher requirements in the future," the authors note. "Since the data is IP and the video is likely going to be IPTV, data traffic volumes will quickly outstrip voice, just as happened a couple of years ago when the Internet/data traffic swamped voice.

Infonetics notes that this IPTV video and IP cata is driving mobile operators to readdress their mobile backhaul strategies. As a result, the survey and accompanyhing study notes, they are looking at IP/Ethernet technologies, and evaluating wired and wireless solutions (such as WiMAX) for cellular backhaul.

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