State-Wide Microwave Network Case Study: Extra High Power Radios

State-Wide Microwave Network Case Study: Extra High Power Radios

This large western US state had a longtime relationship with a microwave radio vendor and would have continued buying from them if their radios and support evolved with the State’s needs. However, over time its needs changed and it had to have more capabilities from its communications network. But it did not want to unnecessarily build new sites and erect costly new towers.

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Three Elements to IP/MPLS Success in the Microwave Access

Three Elements to IP/MPLS Success in the Microwave Access

In microwave communications—as in all electronic communications mediums—operators trend toward the latest technologies (e.g., IP/MPLS). They all have conditioning to think that newer is better. And by and large that’s right.

However, when it comes to IP/MPLS—one of the most advanced packet technologies—you need to handle this concept with care. Especially in a mixed infrastructure that includes microwave, fiber and other potential backhaul transport.

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SDN in the Backhaul: All About Reducing OPEX

 

SDN-reduces-backhaul-OPEX

Figure 1: SDN will not significantly reduce microwave CAPEX costs.

Software-defined networking (SDN) promises to drastically simplify how transport networks deploy, operate and get serviced. Reducing OPEX remains a significant factor for implementing software-defined networking. Automating service creation, traffic and bandwidth control, and network management as well as reducing maintenance complexity of routing protocols remain areas where it will simplify backhaul and lower OPEX. The only questions seem, “When will this happen?” and “How much will it save?” And what about CAPEX? Can we expect reduction in purchase price of microwave backhaul based on such a migration?

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2G to 5G: Evolution of Microwave Backhaul

2G-to-5G-Evolution-of-Microwave-Backhaul

5G mobile phone photo credit: cszar via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Without becoming reality, 5G mobile communications have already captured the imagination of operators and technology providers. So can the general public catch up with the hype soon? We’ll see. Meantime, behind-the-scenes mechanics of prepping for 5G continue, building on prior technologies. At each step of the evolution of backhaul infrastructure, different challenges cropped up.

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SDN in the Backhaul: 4 Takeaways for a 5G World

Ola Gustafsson SDN backhaul expert for Aviat Networks.

Aviat Networks Chief Product Officer Ola Gustafsson talks about SDN 5G backhaul during AfricaCom 2016.

The most pressing business need in many networks deals with delivery of new services.The biggest evolution today in the backhaul network is the trend toward integration of IP/MPLS intelligence into microwave. Software-defined networking (SDN) remains another more recent trend in backhaul. However, as we’ve posted many times, integration of IP/MPLS intelligence into microwave systems provides a number of benefits. These include lower cost, fewer boxes to buy/deploy/maintain and better network performance overall such as lower latency and better reliability.

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Sprint Opts for Microwave Radio over Fiber for Backhaul

Sprint-opts-for-microwave-over-fiber-in-backhaul-Aviat-Networks-March-10-2016In late January and into February 2016, a big tumult ensued when Sprint announced that it would begin to move its mobile backhaul strategy from one based on leased fiber to another based on owned microwave radio. The story first ran in technology news site Re/code and quickly got reposted with additional commentary by FierceWireless, Wireless Week and others, and which was reiterated this week in RCR Wireless.

While the breathtaking headlines about reducing costs by $1 billion caught most people’s attention—primarily through reducing tower leasing costs and not using competitors’ networks—lower down in the copy came a potent reminder from Sprint about the economic benefits of microwave radio. It also highlighted the fact that backhaul has entered a transitional period (see article end for more on that).

Most of that $1 billion that Sprint seeks to save comes by way of moving away from AT&T and Verizon fiber backhaul networks. You might think that Sprint would build its own fiber network instead. But that would take too long and still have an exorbitant price tag associated with it. It’s a function of both out-of-pocket capital costs and embedded lost opportunity costs. Bottom line: laying fiber connections is expensive and slow. Putting up a network of high-speed, broadband microwave relay towers is quicker and easier.

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AfricaCom Demos! Come See the All-outdoor Microwave Router

Aviat-Networks-Demos-CTR-8380-at-AfricaCom-17-19-November-2015Aviat Networks We’re taking appointments for a limited number of demo slots. Sign up now before they’re all gone!

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Case for IP/MPLS Routers at the Small Cell…but not Just any Router!

Case for IP/MPLS Routers at the Small Cell…but not Just any Router!

With the goal of a hyper-meshed 5G street level network, clearly today’s small cell deployments represent just an interim phase in a progressive network densification—pushing the network outward. This means today’s small cell sites will become tomorrow’s macrocells, or hub sites.

Future-looking mobile operators have planned for this eventuality. In the developed world, small cell and the Internet of Things (IoT) drive mobile network densification. However, in the developing world the primary goal of enterprise connectivity spurs network densification, due to lack of wireline infrastructure to business buildings. The end result of network densification is the same.

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Aviat Networks wins best Microwave Backhaul Provider award in Ghana

Aviat Networks wins best Microwave Backhaul Provider award in Ghana

At the Ghana Telecom Awards in May 2015. Ahmed Adama, Aviat Ghana country manager (right) proudly accepts on behalf of all Aviat Networks the honor for Best Microwave Backhaul Vendor of 2015.

At the Ghana Telecom Awards in May 2015, Ahmed Adama, Aviat Ghana country manager (right) proudly accepts on behalf of all Aviat Networks the honor for Best Microwave Backhaul Vendor of 2015.

At the recently concluded Ghana Telecom Awards held in May 2015, Aviat Networks won the Microwave Backhaul Vendor award for the second year in a row. Based on a survey of telecom industry participants, Aviat bested all the other major microwave specialists and one of the top three telecom generalists.

“I am very proud to inform you that Aviat Networks has been honored again as the best overall microwave backhaul solutions provider in Ghana,” said Ahmed Adama, country manager, Ghana, Aviat Networks. “The combination of our microwave networking technology and full turnkey service capability was key to securing this award.”

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Your Network Deserves Better than a Regular Router

Aviat-Networks-says-Regular-Routers-bad-for-Microwave-Networks-but-there-is-good-news-in-microwave-routers-January-29-2015

Regular routers are bad news for microwave networks. But there is also good news in the form of microwave routers. Photo credit: Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com / Foter / CC BY

Mobile network operators (MNOs) continue to reap the windfall of the widespread adoption of smartphones. Mobile data volumes spiked initially and still rise quarter over quarter. Along with the demand for more data throughput from their subscribers, MNOs have to accommodate the greater need for responsiveness closer to the network edge.

While regular routers are good at serving Layer 3 services to mobile users on fiber-heavy backhaul networks, they do not do a very efficient job of servicing mobile backhaul networks that primarily use microwave radio. As it turns out, the worldwide majority of mobile backhaul networks are still based on microwave technology, as regularly updated industry research shows.

What can an MNO with microwave backhaul do to bring Layer 3 functionality to its customers that will handle bandwidth constraints, unique aspects of translating router protocols across the microwave interface and failure detection and recovery, among others?

Aviat Networks has published an article in Mobile World magazine that looks at these challenges of regular routers when used in a microwave backhaul network and proposes possible solutions.

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