THE Mobile Marketplace: Towers, Small Cells and Backhaul

CTIA: The Wireless Association held its annual show in Las Vegas, May 21-23, 2013. Photo credit: @jbtaylor / Foter.com / CC BY

CTIA: The Wireless Association held its annual show in Las Vegas, May 21-23. Photo credit: @jbtaylor / Foter.com / CC BY

This week, Aviat Networks participated in the very well attended CTIA 2013 wireless and mobile trade show in Las Vegas. The theme for this year’s event was “THE Mobile Marketplace” with various areas of focus dealing with applications, devices and, of course, infrastructure. LTE, backhaul and small cells were once again important infrastructure-related topics during the event.

Aviat was a Platinum Sponsor of the Tower & Small Cell Summit—a sub-conference program composed of presentations, panels and case studies on wireless backhaul, mobile video, Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS), small cells, 4G and residential tower builds. I spoke on a panel at this event and shared our views on small cell evolution, including our thoughts on the migration of the mobile network to the Cloud Radio Access Network (C-RAN) architecture—if interested in this topic, please register for our upcoming webinars: North America or Europe, Middle East, Africa.

In addition, this show also paid significant attention to FirstNet—the nationwide public safety LTE network here in the United States. Aviat’s Ronil Prasad shared Aviat’s perspective on FirstNet, options for network sharing to reduce costs and best practices for building mission-critical backhaul networks for public safety LTE (with our 60-year history in public safety and our deployments in some of the largest LTE networks in the world, we are uniquely qualified to talk on this topic).

In addition, Aviat’s meeting facility experienced a constant flow of customers, industry analysts and partners, which kept Aviat staff on its toes for the entire event. Overall, it was a great show and Aviat was happy to participate to share our views on some of the most exciting new topics in mobile networks in the U.S.

Gary Croke
Director, Marketing and Communications
Aviat Networks

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Aviat Networks Speaking at the CTIA Tower Technology Summit

CTIA is always an interesting event especially the Tower Technology Summit. Today,  I sat on a CTIA panel session to discuss the topic of “Microwave Backhaul Gaining Momentum”, along with two other colleagues from other microwave companies. The purpose of the session was to  discuss the proposed changes to FCC Part 101 rules listed in 10-153 for fixed microwave links. Sounds pretty dry? Not really, as the proposed changes being considered by the FCC are intended to ease some of the restrictions placed on microwave links operating in the lower frequency bands, and also to enable more flexible use of technologies like Adaptive Modulation. In short, good ideas to make microwave even more cost effective for operators.

Each panelist gave a short talk on updates to the new proposed changes and what these changes mean for microwave backhaul.  At the high level, there was clear agreement that the current rules are pretty old, outdated, and need modification to support the industry’s migration to all IP. However, there was broad recognition that changes probably won’t happen overnight!

The panel had a heavy focus on total cost of ownership (TCO) for microwave solutions, and how smaller antenna sizes can play a significant factor in reducing costs.  I presented our view of a TCO model (that we recently presented in more detail on a recent Strategies for Lowering Your LTE/4G Backhaul Bill webinar with the WCAI ), and discussed technology and network design approaches to utilize smaller antennas. You can download a copy of the presentation slides here. Aviat Networks’ CTIA Tower Technology Summit Presentation

LTE backhaul capacity requirements and backhaul options for small cell architectures were also topics of discussion.  Our perspective on this is that LTE backhaul capacity requirements are often over-hyped and overstated, leading to poor backhaul decisions, which seemed to garner a lot of “head-nods” from attendees.  There was also general agreement from the panelists that new backhaul solutions were needed to address the small cell backhaul challenge and a “one-size-fits-all” product would surely not meet the needs.

We are just touching on the tip of what will become a hot topic of discussion in the months and year ahead. For more on this topic check back next week for my follow up post to Microwave Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) Pt. 1.

Gary Croke

Product Marketing, Aviat Networks

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