Innovator Profile: HCL Technologies

 5G Backhaul Solution 

By Namrata Sharma ,
Sales Director,


5G is here and we are at the start of an era that will result in a paradigm shift in the way we consume bandwidth. Global mobile subscriptions will reach 8.3b in 2021, leading to an increased demand for bandwidth in both RAN and transport segments of the network. These billions of connected devices will enable technologies like AR/VR/IoT to reach their true potential resulting with infinite applications in healthcare, transportation, education and beyond. Backhaul solutions are the backbone of every network and the extremely high bandwidth demands of 5G require these solutions to be even more robust and flexible.

5G NR RAN, supporting frequency bands up to 100 GHz with large channel BW and enabling RAN throughputs of multiple Gb/s per connection will put huge challenges on the wireless backhaul transport side of the network, operating at the same microwave frequencies. Due to this, the throughput and spectrum efficiency requirements of next generation microwave transport products are much higher. However, this gain has to be achieved with no compromises on service availability and as well as minimal impact on the total cost of ownership.

Another shift we see is that operators will deploy mmWave to complement microwave and fibre mobile backhaul which have seen a wide usage in the past.

HCL has developed a fully configurable, high performance, low power modem for 5G Backhaul with advanced features such as 16K-QAM, MLC FEC and XPIC to meet the stringent requirements of next generation networks. HCL’s 5G Backhaul solution coupled with a complete offering of R&D services that seamlessly integrate this solution with existing platforms results in significant time-to-market improvements.

The solution offers operators outstanding Radio Performance with the highest spectrum efficiency in the market, enabled by such features as 16K-QAM and a highly optimised multi-level FEC. System gain is maximised thanks to the advanced transmitter linearisation function which offers a wider range of compensation of RF power amplifier non-linearity.

Flexibility is another benefit of this solution as the modem can be tailored to match different radio link products requirements. With our scalable and flexible architecture, we guarantee seamless integration of customer’s existing functions or IPs like traffic management, uPP etc. The modem solution can also be made backwards compatible with previous product generations in most scenarios.

HCL’s modem comes with SDN/NETCONF ready architecture that is enabled on the target SoC platform by means of suitable APIs.

The solution is technology-independent, allowing our customer to choose the digital technology which better fits their needs. When implemented on a FPGA architecture, our solution provides the additional benefits of in-field upgrades for modem and traffic-related functions, thereby further reducing the time-to-market for new features introduction. HCL also provides R&D services to enable seamless integration of our solution within existing platforms.

The current version supports microwave backhaul with XPIC and mmWave / E-band versions are on the roadmap expected to be released in 2019. This solution has generated significant interest during demos at MWC Barcelona ‘18 with PoCs now being conducted by our customers. We are confident in the ability of the 5G Fully Configurable Backhaul modem to reduce bill-of-material (BOM) cost compared to current solutions.

Radio Performance, Flexibility and Time to Market are the three most important backhaul criteria for operators as they deploy their 5G networks and HCL’s Fully Configurable 5G Backhaul modem checks all these boxes.


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