The small-cell backhaul market has been experiencing rapid growth recently, but it still has challenges to overcome. A new report from Heavy Reading 4G/LTE Insider, “Wireless Backhaul for Small Cells: Who’s Doing What,” covers the wireless-backhaul options for outdoor, public-access small cells as well as the issues faced by that market. In providing a rundown of the companies that are working toward addressing those issues, the report delves into the strategies of 11 wireless-backhaul vendors and identifies 16 new companies that have emerged to address the market’s problems.

Wireless-backhaul opportunities are dependent on the size of the public-access small-cell market. Therefore, the consensus today is that a mix of fixed and wireless backhaul is required for outdoor, public-access small cells. Most operator small-cell plans are in a trial and evaluation phase, which is based on coverage and capacity needs as well as traffic and subscriber growth forecasts.

Many startups have emerged with new products, flooding operators with technology developments. Yet the companies that have partnerships with larger vendors still have the advantage. With spectrum availability being a primary consideration for wireless backhaul, the next 18 to 24 months will be critical as strategies are enforced and smaller vendors consolidate.

The companies mentioned in the report include: Airspan Networks, Alcatel-Lucent, Aviat Networks, Cambridge Broadband Networks Ltd., Ceragon Networks Ltd., DragonWave Inc., Ericsson AB, Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., Intracom Telecom, NEC Corp., and ZTE Corp. With this market still shaking out, it is too soon to determine which strategies will ultimately be deemed most successful. As plans are adapted to fit the needs of different areas, however, the best options will emerge.

“Wireless Backhaul for Small Cells: Who's Doing What” is available as part of an annual single-user subscription (6 issues per year) to Heavy Reading 4G/LTE Insider. That subscription costs $1595, while individual reports are available for $900 (single-user license).