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I just finished a white paper that compares the TCO for fronthaul and backhaul. In the model developed for the paper, I looked at the combined per-bit costs macro- and small-cell layer.
It is a new approach that takes us beyond the initial comparison of small vs macro cells TCO — an interesting one, but also one that provides a potentially skewed perspective. If the choice is between small and macro cells, then it makes sense to compare the two. If we accept that small cells will become part of the landscape, the key question becomes how to integrate the small and macro layers. Where does it make sense to have a small cell or a macro cell within a HetNet context? And what topology for the small and macro layer combined gives us the best per-bit TCO?
The paper, entitled “Fronthaul or backhaul for micro cells? A TCO comparison between two approaches to managing traffic from macro and micro cells in HetNets”, sponsored by EBlink, has just been released and can be downloaded here.