Perfectly in synch: packet-based mobile backhaul

February 21, 2012 by Ixia Blog Team

Carriers are replacing legacy TDM-based mobile backhaul networks with IP/Ethernet-based solutions to cost-effectively scale their networks and accommodate bandwidth-hungry mobile devices. However, carriers must overcome timing challenges because native IP/Ethernet technology does not address the packet synchronization of the TDM networks they aim to replace.

Reliable distribution of packet synchronization is critical to the operation of advanced mobile broadband communications: it is required to ensure seamless mobility and enable new services such as those that leverage the LTE multimedia broadcast multicast services (MBMS) capabilities. One of the most demanding packet synchronization environments is one that addresses the phase synchronization requirements for LTE time-division duplexing (TDD) and LTE MBMS over a backhaul network consisting of microwave links.

Network devices are implementing IEEE 1588v2 to achieve accurate clock synchronization for both frequency and phase (time of day), but 1588v2 implementations can become strained in large network environments that include many slave clocks synchronizing to a master clock.

Timing synchronization and service delivery can also be compromised during network failover and recovery. It is important to test both the scalability of 1588v2 implementations, as well as the speed of clock alignment following network failure, to ensure the stability of network services and SLA compliance. To verify the reliability and accuracy of 1588v2 clock implementations, carriers need test systems that simulate these real-world network conditions over long test intervals.

At the upcoming Mobile World Congress conference (Barcelona, February 27 – March 1) Ixia and Alcatel-Lucent will demonstrate how packet-based backhaul networks can satisfy synchronization requirements for mobile voice and multimedia services under real-world conditions. Ixia test measurements prove that the Alcatel-Lucent IP/MPLS mobile backhaul solution can maintain accurate phase synchronization and QoS guarantees under extreme packet congestion and network failovers.

For further information about this industry-first demonstration:

  • Visit Ixia’s booth (Hall 1, 1E47) and Alcatel-Lucent’s booth (Hall 6, 6C23) at Mobile World Congress 2012 in Barcelona, Spain from February 27 – March 1
  • Ixia press release: Ixia Showcases Alcatel-Lucent Next Generation Packet Synchronization in a Demanding Mobile Backhaul Environment
  • See video on the Alcatel-Lucent demonstration with Ixia