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Cable Technology Feature Article

March 27, 2009

Verizon's Fiber Backhaul Links to Benefit Wireless Companies

By Anshu Shrivastava, TMCnet Contributor

Verizon says it has started using an advanced fiber-optic network to provide links to cellular towers and mobile switching offices.
The new links, provided by local Verizon (News - Alert) fiber-optic facilities across the country,   are expected to allow wireless carriers to offer next-generation services at “ultra-high-quality” levels in comparison to traditional copper-based or microwave links, according to the company.
Under the terms of the deal, Verizon Wireless cell sites and mobile switching offices in the country will be among the first being networked using Ethernet-based fiber-optic technology.
 “Using fiber for what's called the “backhaul” of traffic—from cell sites to the broader voice, data and video networks—provides an extraordinarily reliable option for the carriers,” said Quintin Lew, senior vice president of marketing at Verizon Partner Solutions (News - Alert).
The company’s fiber backhaul solutions are a Switched Ethernet Service, an all-Ethernet option, and an Ethernet over SONET choice.
Ethernet over SONET choice allows the data to be sent using synchronous optical network (SONET) technology. Plus, officials said that it provides dual routing of traffic through separate facilities and near-instant recovery should one of the links go down.
“Verizon's fiber-optic Ethernet backhaul capabilities play an important role in our current network and will be a key part of our overall 4G/LTE (News - Alert) rollout strategy,” said Nicola Palmer, vice president of network support at Verizon Wireless.
Palmer said that the company has invested more than $5.5 billion on average every year in expanding and fortifying its network capabilities.
Officials said that fiber networking features fewer electronics in the links, and it also does not suffer the same impact of weather or electromagnetic interference that often affects microwave and copper-based links.
Verizon's fiber-backhaul availability leverages company's transition in recent years from copper to fiber in its transport facilities. In addition, officials said that this availability leverages fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) deployment that is delivering FiOS (News - Alert) Internet and FiOS TV services in parts of 16 states.
“Wireless carriers will find value in switching from traditional backhaul links to the higher-value connections we can give them with Ethernet and SONET services on fiber,” said Lew.

Anshu Shrivastava is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Anshu’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Tim Gray