5G is the next generation cellular networks which is expected to quench the ever-ending thirst of data rates and interconnect billions of smart devices to support not only human centric traffic, but also machine centric traffic. Recent research and standardization work have been addressing requirements and challenges from radio perspective (e.g., new spectrum allocation, network densification, massive multiple-input-multiple-output antenna, carrier aggregation, inter-cell interference mitigation techniques, and coordinated multi-point processing). In addition, a new network bottleneck has emerged: the backhaul network which will allow to interconnect and support billions of devices from the core network. Up to 4G cellular networks, the major challenges to meet the backhaul requirements were capacity, availability, deployment cost, and long-distance reach. However, as 5G network capabilities and services added to 4G cellular networks, the backhaul network would face two additional challenges that include ultralow latency (i.e., 1 ms) requirements and ultradense nature of the network. Due to the dense small cell deployment and heavy traffic cells in 5G, 5G backhaul network will need to support hundreds of gigabits of traffic from the core network and today’s cellular backhaul networks are infeasible to meet these requirements in terms of capacity, availability, latency, energy, and cost efficiency. This book chapter first introduce the mobile backhaul network perspective for 2G, 3G, and 4G networks. Then, outlines the backhaul requirements of 5G networks, and describes the impact on current mobile backhaul networks.
Part of the book: Broadband Communications Networks