I was reading some publications on cellular networks. They constantly mention two similar concepts — backhaul network and core network. I am not sure if these two are the same stuff, or in any way they are different. Does anyone know the differences? thanks!

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ As far as I know, core network is the central part of a cellular network. Backhaul network is the links between the core network and the network equipment (such as cellular base stations, etc.). $\endgroup$
    – zdm
    Aug 18, 2018 at 14:28

2 Answers 2


Let's have a little bit of a glimpse from the diagram below;

enter image description here

What you can analyse in that diagram,is a convention point to point (PTP) and line of sight (LOS), a microwave link uses atail node and aggregation node,which allows remote base station to access the core network through the backhaul link.

Therefore,backhaul network is a side network which communicates with the core network,i.e. it links packets to and from the core network.

That said, cellphones also communicates with a single cell tower which constitutes a local network (subnetwork);whereby the link between the celltower and rest of the world(to the core network) begins with the backhaul link. The rest of the world is termed as autonomous network system,which is administered by global internet providers.

A high-level summary is that cellular backhaul refers to transport from remote cell towers to mobile telephone switching offices (MTSO). This backhaul is frequently provided by a third-party internet service provider via layer 2 circuits. The ISP's edge device (optical switch or router) with a customer handoff point (UNI) is located at the cell tower and the network demarcation between the ISP and the cell provider's core network (ENNI) is located at the MTSO. An EVPL (point-to-multi-point) configuration is commonly implemented with both circuits traveling from the tower to the MTSO over divergent paths to provide redundancy.

Hope this can give you some insights.


I might be wrong, I did not read this anywhere, but, for me it would mean:

  1. Backhaul: a service link, with the main purpose of carrying information from one point to another. When we think about this network, we mainly think about throughtput, latency, etc... it is its main task.
  2. Core: network for the interconection of the different nodes. Its main purpose is to provide funcionality, but throughput is secondary (even though it can be high).

This is very loose, but I think those terms are equally loose too.


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