Rules of the Game: Low Latency Microwave in a Multi-Regulatory Environment

[潛伏Latency] Charcoal, watercolor, fire on paper, 2011. Photo credit: RedPapaya (栩) / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

[潛伏Latency] Charcoal, watercolor, fire on paper, 2011. Photo credit: RedPapaya (栩) / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Over the course of the last 18 months, a new application has grown by leaps and bounds for microwave networks: low latency. Low-latency microwave networks find most of their applicability in financial transactions, such as for executing trading instructions between major stock exchanges and trading houses in other cities.

Typically, low-latency microwave is used to “replace” traditional-fiber based networks linking financial centers. The business driver for microwave-instead-of-fiber in low latency is the time it takes to transmit trading instructions. With microwave, latency is reduced by a few milliseconds as compared to fiber. Nevertheless, those few milliseconds can translate into a trading edge over rival investors, which means big bucks. Low latency investors will pay a premium for this edge resulting in increased revenue for low-latency microwave network operators.

However, as with most financial functions, low latency is subject to a set of stringent regulations. The scenario is doubly difficult when low-latency microwave networks transmit across international boundaries. This compares to linking financial centers within a single country, which is relatively straightforward from a regulatory perspective because there is only one set of rules. The fact is when connecting financial centers in different nations and the operator’s network has to traverse other countries’ borders, the process becomes orders of magnitude more complex. Download the complete article for a fuller examination of some of these issues and why there should be widespread support for greater international harmonization of microwave regulation.

Ian Marshall
Regulatory Manager
Aviat Networks

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3 Important Questions for Ultra-Low Latency Microwave Networks

Aviat Networks Ultra Low Latency Best Practices Webinar and 3 QuestionsAre you considering building an ultra-low latency microwave network? Then you are not alone. Microwave is quickly becoming the default transport choice for low latency networks. However, building an ultra-low latency microwave network is not simple; there are many considerations. Latency through the “box” is important, but it is not the only factor, and too much focus on this metric may be a distraction. What is most important is end-to-end latency of the link. Aviat Networks recently addressed this topic in a webinar (registration required) and free presentation download and answered three very important questions regarding ultra-low latency microwave technology.

Also in this webinar, Travis Mitchell, Aviat Networks director of low latency business development, and Sergio Licardie, Aviat Networks senior director of systems engineering, consider the best practices for ultra-low latency microwave networks as they explore the techniques, technologies and design approaches necessary to ensure lowest end-to-end latency. They also discuss some innovations to look for in microwave networking to ensure continuous improvement in end-to-end latency performance. Other topics covered include:

  • Main contributors to end-to-end latency of microwave networks
  • Best options to reduce overall latency
  • Strategies to avoid compromising overall availability

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Know Your Microwave Backhaul Options

If you look in the November issue of MissionCritical Communications, you will see an article by Aviat Networks director of marketing and communications, Gary Croke. In his article “Know Your Microwave Backhaul Options,” Gary covers:

  • Benefits of using indoor, outdoor and split-mount microwave radios in various scenarios
  • Rationale for choosing microwave over fiber (especially for LTE)
  • Deployability of microwave
  • Software-upgradeable capacity for “pay-as-you-grow” capex scalability
  • Cost contribution of towers over the first 10 years of LTE implementation
  • And more

You can read Gary’s article (on page-30) here—MissionCritical Communications—November 2012.

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The Impact of Streaming Video on Wireless Network Services

Video call between Sweden and Singapore, on So...

Sustained video streaming, such as a video call over a mobile network, strains the stat mux paradigm of oversubscribing Ethernet microwave backhaul. However, proper management can ensure a consistent, high-quality user experience can be maintained. Image via Wikipedia (author: Kalleboo)

Mobile backhaul networks today support Ethernet microwave transport for 3G and 4G wireless technology services alongside legacy 2G and 3G TDM-based microwave equipment. However, as late as 2009 these wireless network services were solely TDM transport. One of the primary benefits of moving to Ethernet microwave transport has been the inherent statistical multiplexing (stat mux) gains. Stat mux relies on the fact that not everyone is “talking” at the same time and when they do, their IP radio packet sizes are variable, whereas networks based on TDM have to be provisioned statically for peak rates to individual wireless microwave sites.

With the advent of Ethernet, the typical practice is to oversubscribe all the wireless network services (based on individual peak rates) knowing that there is a statistical improbability of hitting the peak rate across all your wireless communication towers at the same exact moment.

Now enter video streaming where data is “streamed” between two wireless communication points over a sustained period (e.g., 30-second YouTube video clips, Skype HD Video Conferencing, Netflix movies). The sustained aspect of these video streams begins to strain the overall stat mux paradigm. Not only does video remain sustained but also it uses large-size IP radio packets that do not vary greatly. VoIP does the same thing, but the effect is much less significant as the overall bandwidth utilization is much lower.

Oversubscription becomes more challenging the more active video streaming is at any given moment. Imagine a scenario where the latest cat-playing-a-piano video gets posted online and everyone starts viewing it at virtually the same time. For a large swath of bandwidth, stat mux will reach zero for approximately four minutes. The upside is that you can add more bandwidth and/or offer differentiated wireless network services levels that guarantee certain bandwidth or application performance. Even so, video streaming does not totally negate the benefits of an Ethernet microwave transport, it just needs to be properly understood and managed to ensure a consistent user experience across all applications and services for your global wireless solutions.

Steve Loebrich
Director of Product and Solutions Marketing
Aviat Networks

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What’s The Difference between Microwave Path Availability & Error Performance?

This white paper was extremely popular when we featured it in our eNews newsletter recently. Now it’s time to share it with a wider audience.

It talks about how there are several considerations when establishing realistic outage or reliability objectives for and how the effects of long-term and short-term outages differ when it comes to microwave path engineering.

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What is Mission Critical Microwave?

Public safety agencies with first responder assignments, mobile service providers with national footprints, and utilities companies all have communication networks carrying mission critical applications. These networks require robust, secure and powerful microwave radios.  

So what are the defining characteristics of Mission Critical Microwave?

  1. Hybrid (TDM and IP): Native TDM, native IP. No proprietary emulation or encapsulation.
  2. RF performance: Superior system gain. Adaptive Coding and Modulation.
  3. Reliability: 100+ year proven terminal (1+0) MTBF.
  4. Strong Security: Secure Management to prevent unauthorized access. Secure payload encryption to prevent eaves-dropping.
  5. Bullet Proof Redundancy: Full port, card, system level redundancy. Integrated T1 loop switch (USA).
  6. Physical Design for Usability: Front access, no hidden cables. Compact footprint. Expansion port.

 But delivering Mission Critical Microwave extends far beyond products and deals with the way a company behaves and treats its customers including:

  • A mindset that integrates uncompromised commitment to design and to building the most robust, secure and dependable microwave radios;
  • A culture of innovation to ensure the most innovative new microwave products are being developed to meet the needs of your critical applications;
  • Engineering professionals that are there at your side before, during and after any equipment deployment, to help you at every step of the way;
  • A commitment to customer service and support so that customers can depend on their chosen vendor.

At Aviat Networks, we believe one of the things that sets us apart is our focus on Mission Critical Microwave.  For critical applications it’s extremely important that customers have comprehensive local support at their fingertips. Our products are usually supported locally, so our customers know they’ll have immediate access to professional engineers when they need them, without waiting for out-of-country spares or support, including escalation to Tier III level technical support if needed.

At Aviat Networks, our engineers have been designing and building microwave networks for over 50 years. We are the microwave experts, because it’s all we do.

Gary Croke
Senior Product Marketing Manager

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What is Packet Microwave?

“Packet Microwave” radio systems continue to enjoy a lot of coverage and hype within our market. But it helps to understand exactly what packet Microwave is, including its benefits and limitations, and how Packet Microwave compares to Hybrid radios. We created a white paper a while ago to address these issues, and since it is still relevant today we are highlighting it again.

The paper provides a clear definition of this technology and also answers the following questions:

  • What features should you expect from Next Generation microwave radios?
  • How does Packet Microwave it differ from Hybrid microwave transport?
  • Is Packet Microwave ‘All-IP’ or ‘IP-Only’?
  • Do hybrid systems meet the requirements of packet microwave?
  • What is the best approach for operators trying to choose a microwave solution?

 

 

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Managing Wireless Networks with Element Management Systems

Management of Complexity

An EMS can be thought of as managing all the elements in a complex network, keeping them all in balance. Image by michael.heiss via Flickr

Managing a wireless network is essential. Radios, routers and third-party add-ons control vast amounts of valuable user data. Any wireless network downtime damages the user’s business and the operator’s long-term reputation. Thus, operators need a powerful but easy-to-use element management system (EMS) to monitor and administer all the disparate elements in their wireless communication networks.

Also, operators should be able to manage complete networks from a user-friendly interface, which must provide all the necessary information for fast network management system decision-making. And this system must be capable of complete standalone operation or being integrated into an operational support system using NorthBound Interfaces (NBIs).

Other additional functionality in the form of event management and notifications capability is also necessary in an EMS for wireless networks. An EMS should inform wireless operators about network events and device failures and let them to diagnose problems and apply network updates remotely. This reduces the time between a fault occurring and the fault being repaired. It may even allow a repair to be completed before a wireless link fails completely. For day-to-day management, operators need an EMS that can:

  • Deploy, manage and auto-discover wireless equipment—including all Aviat Networks devices, partner products and third-party devices
  • Display an entire network at once, via one of several map views
  • Provide an overview of network events
  • Deliver notifications of important network events
  • Enable analysis of network events, device events and performance data
  • Generate detailed reports on all aspects of a network
ProVision Screen Shot

The ProVision EMS solution can manage all Aviat Networks wireless solutions, partner wireless equipment and third-party devices from a user-friendly GUI.

Fortunately, such a carrier-class EMS solution does exist. Aviat Networks develops its ProVision EMS based on customer demand and continues to upgrade it as per user requests and requirements. For customers, implementing ProVision is vastly more efficient than developing an in-house EMS, saving time, resources and money. Aviat Networks EMS solutions are the most cost-effective way to manage wireless solutions. Aviat Networks works closely with customers to make sure that ProVision is user-friendly. The goal is that ProVision EMS allows operators to manage their networks proactively—rather than reactively—and with reduced network operating costs.

Look for future blog posts on must-have EMS data features and stats on operators using carrier-class EMS.

Mick Morrow
Sr. Product Marketing Manager, Aviat Networks

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Evolution of Microwave: History of Wireless Communications

The Microwave Sky

This image of microwave energy in a "total sky" picture of the known universe shows it's everywhere in primordial space, more than 13 billion years ago.

Microwaves are as old as the beginning of the universe. Well, they’ve been around for at least 13.7 billion years—very close to the total time since the Big Bang, some 14 billion years ago. However, we don’t want to go that far back in covering the history of microwave communications.

Having just observed the 155th anniversary of the birth of Nikola Tesla, arguably the most important inventor involved in radio and wireless communications, this is a good time to take a broader view of the wireless industry. If you have been in the wireless transmission field for some time, you are probably familiar with Dick Laine, Aviat Networks‘ principal engineer. He has taught a wireless transmission course for many years—for Aviat Networks and its predecessor companies.

The embedded presentation below comes from one of those courses. In a technological field filled with such well-educated scientists and engineers from some of the finest universities and colleges, it’s hard to believe that microwave solutions and radio itself started in so much controversy by men who were in many cases self-taught. Dick’s presentation goes over all of this in a bit more detail. Hopefully, it’s enough to whet your appetite to find out more. If you like the presentation, consider hearing it live or another lecture series on wireless transmission engineering at one of our open enrollment training courses.

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Antennas: Why Size is Important for This Wireless Equipment

Antenna tower supporting several antennas. The...

Image via Wikipedia

In response to the recent FCC docket 10-153, many stakeholders proposed relaxing antennas requirements so as to allow the use of smaller antennas in certain circumstances. This is an increasingly important issue as tower rental costs can be as high as 62 percent of the total cost of ownership for a microwave solutions link. As these costs are directly related to antenna size, reducing antenna size leads to a significant reduction in the cost of ownership for microwave equipment links.

The Fixed Wireless Communications Coalition (FWCC), of which Aviat Networks is a major contributor, proposed a possible compromise that would leave Category A standards unchanged while relaxing Category B standards. The latter are less demanding than Category A, and after some further easing, might allow significantly smaller antennas. The rules should permit the use of these smaller antennas where congestion is not a problem, and require upgrades to better antennas where necessary.

A further detailed proposal from Comsearch proposed a new antenna category known as B2, which would lead to a reduction in antenna size of up to 50 percent in some frequency bands. This would be a significant cost saving for link operators.

At the present time, the industry is waiting for the FCC to deliberate on the responses to its 10-153 docket, including those on reducing antenna size.

See the briefing paper below for more information.

Ian Marshall
Regulatory Manager, Aviat Networks

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