Wireless providers looking to landline IP to cut costs

Wireless service providers moving towards Ethernet in the future

Wireless service providers are expected to move aggressively toward Ethernet and other alternative backhaul network options by 2008, according to a new report by Infonetics Research.

The research firm released its Mobile Backhaul Equipment, Installed Base and Services report Tuesday. Infonetics predicts that by 2008 the majority of wireless service providers will have IP packet switching network connectivity in place to backhaul wireless traffic as it comes out of the sky and onto terrestrial networks at cell sites around the world.

Mobile operators are looking to new technologies because backhauling wireless traffic is a huge expense. Infonetics says wireless service providers spent US$19.5 billion on wireless backhaul services in 2006.

Today the majority of wireless service providers use TDM-based private lines to backhaul wireless traffic, but these services are costly and less efficient than IP and next-generation microwave services, said Michael Howard, principal analyst at Infonetics in a press release.

He goes on to say that the cost per mobile backhaul connection for leased lines is about two and a half times that of new wireline connections including Ethernet, DSL or cable connections.