Wireless Backhaul Technology (WiBACK)
When fixed line infrastructures are not available to provide backhaul connectivity, wireless links are an option for fast deployment at very low cost. While today's deployments are typically of small size, Fraunhofer's WiBack Wireless Backhaul Technology targets carrier grade service provisioning in very large wireless networks. Deployment scenarios range from "last-mile" service provisioning in developed countries to wide-area coverage (hundreds of square kilometers) in emerging areas and developing countries.
Key features of WiBack include QoS-provisioning, auto-configuration, self-management and self-healing. Compared to traditional operator approaches, WiBack provides very low investment and operational cost (OPEX and CAPEX). Compared to low-cost wireless mesh technology, WiBack offers carrier-grade service, management and interfaces.
The technical approach includes multi-hop heterogeneous radio technologies, MPLS and QoS support, IPv4 and IPv6 interworking, network auto-configuration, and an IEEE 802.21-inspired media-independent messaging mechanism. Access is provided by any type of interface, including GSM, wireless LAN, and Ethernet.
WiBACK is the result of several years of research and development at Fraunhofer FOKUS. It was motivated by the intention to provide carrier-grade service qualities for voice and data transmission over a large area with low-cost wireless technology. From a technological point of view, the WiBACK core can be positioned between point-to-point radio links and fibre-optic backbone networks. In its deployment, WiBACK is supplemented by access technologies such as Wi-Fi, GSM, and UMTS.
Initial research and development was funded internally (by Fraunhofer) as well as by grants from the European Commission and the German Ministry of Research (BMBF).
The version 1.0 is the first integrated release of the hardware and software tested in real world environment.
While R&D is continuing to add and improve functionality such as energy awareness, self-healing, multicast/broadcast capabilities, and security, an initial version with basic functionality is currently tested “in the field”. It is planned to have fully operational implementations in Germany (connecting rural areas) and Africa (emerging regions) by the end of 2011. These will be used to evaluate reliability, vulnerability in outdoor conditions, operational costs, and customer satisfaction.