Construction, Not Capacity, is the Real LTE Challenge in U.S.

STEEL RODS, MADE FROM SHREDDED AUTOS, ARE BEIN...

Like building out the Interstate Highway System, the real challenge for LTE deployment in the U.S. lies in the actual construction. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Like the Interstate Highway system in the 1950s, building out a national LTE infrastructure in the U.S. is a major undertaking. The largest challenges in building out an LTE network consist of planning, staging and deploying the technology at maximum speed and with minimal costs. Mobile operators are in a tight race to build out LTE networks in the U.S. as quickly and cost-effectively as possible, and backhaul is a key component of the job.

There are more than 300,000 2G/3G cell sites in the United States; LTE penetration is at approximately 50,000 sites today. Mobile operators want to have 95% of their footprints covered with LTE within the next year or two, so a massive construction project lies ahead with a tight timeframe for completing it…see the entire article at Telecom Engine.

Gary Croke
Senior Product Marketing Manager
Aviat Networks

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Mobile World Congress Day 3: Connected Life Becomes Reality

Another update here from Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. This time we’d like to discuss a little about the trend toward using the next generation of mobile technology—LTE or Long Term Evolution—to support a growing number of connected devices across multiple different industries—not just the traditional mobile operator sector.

Across from our pavilion was the Connected Life booth that showcased how in the future, everyone and everything will benefit from a wireless connection. With more than 6 billion connections globally—and this is expected to grow to 24 billion in 2020—mobile is redefining and transforming the way we communicate and access information—cars, buildings, medical monitors, TVs, game consoles, consumer electronics and household appliances—even exercise equipment. It is all about seamless and intelligent connectivity between people, processes and products to be delivered when and wherever they are required.

24 billion mobile connections from devices like exercise equipment by 2020

By 2020, estimates place total worldwide wireless connections at around 24 billion counting devices such as exercise equipment.

The huge market opportunity offered by the connected life creates benefits for the mobile industry by enabling mobile operators to form partnerships with companies from other sectors to deliver compelling new services to consumers and businesses. The executive chairman of Ford Motor Company noted this in his Mobile World Congress keynote address. Not only does this create more opportunity for the entire industry supporting telecoms, but it will open up opportunities to increase efficiency and introduce smarter ways of working.

The GSMA estimates that the market for connected devices will be worth $4.5 trillion by 2020. By its estimates, the top 10 connected devices will account for 60 percent of the connected devices market by 2020.

Top Ten Connected Applications in 2020:

  • Connected Car – $600 billion
  • Clinical Remote Monitoring – $350 billion
  • Assisted Living – $270 billion
  • Home and Building Security – $250 billion
  • Pay as you Drive Car Insurance – $245 billion
  • New Business Models for Car Usage – $225 billion
  • Smart Meters – $105 billion
  • Traffic Management – $100 billion
  • Electric Vehicle Charging – $75 billion
  • Building Automation – $40 billion

Stay tuned to developments in this space as it certainly represents an interesting and incremental market opportunity for mobile operators and those vendors supporting them.

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Aviat Networks in the News: Recent Highlights and What’s Ahead

What do Orlando, Winnipeg, Rio de Janiero, Spokane and Santa Clara have in common? Nothing, except for the fact that they’re all on a list of places where we have been this past month visiting customers and participating in events. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the good fortune to go, but some of our top marketing and engineering team members did and had the chance to meet industry experts to share and exchange ideas and thoughts on microwave backhaul technology, trends and opportunities.

One of the major events we attended was CTIA Wireless Conference 2011, which was held March 22-24 in Orlando, FL. At the show, we participated in a panel discussion and presented on the latest trends in microwave radio technology at the Tower Technology Summit. In one of the sessions, Shaun McFall, our CMO, talked about the backhaul capacity requirements to support 4G/LTE cell site deployments. You can read his viewpoint on “Why Fiber is not the Answer for 4G/LTE Backhaul in North America.”

In addition, Gary Croke, our senior product marketing manager provide his insights on how microwave technology is well positioned to serve both the short and long haul backhaul needs for deploying next-generation cellular networks. You can read more about his viewpoint on his blog post.

And if that wasn’t enough, we announced our IEEE 1588v2 synchronization capability for mobile backhaul and co-promoted it with Symmetricom® as part of its SyncWorld Ecosystem Program. Find out more information about deploying IEEE 1588v2 Synchronization over Packet Microwave Networks.

Moving on to Canada, Gary gave a different presentation titled “Hybrid Radio and Essential Functionalities for Smart Grid” at the MIC/MUG 5 UTC Regional Conference in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, on April 14. Attendees at the conference included utility radio engineers who were interested in learning about upgrading legacy TDM-based microwave systems and devices to meet the needs of Smart Grid. Gary’s presentation focused on hybrid radio, Strong Security, Adaptive Coding and Modulation, and improved capacity and performance—all features required to support the evolved Smart Grid utility network. Find out more about the Utilities Telecom Council.

Another great event that we participated in this month was the LTE Latin America 2011 Conference in Rio de Janiero. Unfortunately—again—I did not get a chance to go, but Louis Samara, our director of marketing/channel sales, Latin America, did attend and spoke on the importance of microwave backhaul for mobile operator migration to Long Term Evolution/4G. During the conference, he met with Emmanuel Jaffrot, asesor tecnologico del ministro de planificacion federal, Argentina, Humberto Roca, CTO ANTEL, Uruguay, and Juan Carlos Pepe, general manager Telecom Personal Paraguay to discuss several telecommunications initiatives. Check out our Flickr site to see the photos and get additional details on our visit.

Another interesting event was the WiMAX Rural Operators Summit, organized by the WiMAX Forum and held in Spokane, WA, April 26. Stuart Little, our hip, savvy, director of marketing, attended the event, which was the first event of its kind organized by the forum in the US. It drew good attendance from operators and vendors, including a few international attendees. The agenda covered a variety of topics of concern for smaller operators who are deploying wireless networks to bring broadband services to the unserved and underserved rural communities in the US.

Speaker panels included larger operators such as Sprint and Clearwire, as well as smaller ones like Ecliptixnet Broadband and Keyon Communications, with some interesting debates including how operators are navigating the challenging process of winning and utilizing federal Broadband Stimulus funds. Probably the biggest challenge that these rural operators have is access to capital to invest in their networks. Of course, stimulus grants help, if you’re one of the lucky ones to win an award. For the rest, cost is a huge driver for their equipment selection. On the WiMAX side, specific requirements such as frequency bands for the US (e.g., 3.65 GHz) make it difficult for them to deploy a WiMAX basestation to serve customers in very small rural communities, since vendors struggle to achieve economies of scale to drive prices down far enough.

On the backhaul side, focus is also on cost, not so much on capacity. Many operators utilize very cost effective unlicensed microwave solutions for backhaul, but to support a real “carrier-grade” network licensed microwave is preferred to enable the high reliability and interference free operation. Stuart sat on a panel with three representatives from other independent microwave companies, where we discussed how we as an industry are bringing new solutions to lower the cost of ownership of licensed microwave for rural operators. New techniques, such as ACM and ring network topologies can help to reduce antenna sizes, one of the largest OPEX drivers. Some of the proposals now presented to the FCC will also help rural microwave deployment, including reducing restrictions on minimum antenna size and bandwidth efficiency in the lower frequency bands.

Whew! That was a lot of detail, but worth the trip to Spokane.

Now onto the one of the coolest events, which will be broadcast tomorrow, the “LTE Backhaul Capacity Requirements: Diving Deeper” webinar. Panelists will include Stuart and Peter Croy, senior IP network architect for Aviat Networks, in addition to other industry experts.

Following on from our previous webinar where Stuart and Peter addressed the practical backhaul capacity requirements of 4G/LTE, this webinar discussion will dive deeper into our analysis, share some new insights, provide updates on operators’ plans regarding backhaul and discuss how the emerging small cell market will address network capacity needs and what new backhaul innovations will be needed for these small cells. Please join us for this highly interactive webinar to delve further into the network capacity requirements for LTE backhaul.

So what’s ahead for next month? Well, it will be busy. So many interesting events and topics!

LTE Backhaul Conference, London, May 3-6

London is our first stop. Although just after the fanfare of the Royal Wedding—which by the way would have been nice to see in person! But LTE backhaul is “just” as exciting. At the LTE Backhaul Conference in London on May 3-6, we will host a workshop on “IP Mobile Migration Challenges and Issues.” If you live in the UK or will be in London, we invite you to join us alongside mobile operators and industry partners to tackle some real-world issues related to IP backhaul migration, including planning for realistic LTE capacity demands and packet synchronization migration, in this engaging and interactive workshop. Details about the conference.

Transport Networks for Mobile Operators Conference, London, May 10

While in London, Stuart will also speak at the 13th Annual Transport Networks For Mobile Operators Conference on May 10. Stuart’s topic will focus on “A Realistic Look at LTE Backhaul Capacity.” Find out more about the conference.

UTC Telecom, Long Beach, CA, May 10-13

At this conference, Gary will speak on the topic of “Microwave Technology Options.” In his session, he will give an overview of the microwave options and applications best suited to each form in a side-by-side comparison that will enable you to develop your microwave plan for the future. Find out more about this conference.

LTE World Summit 2011, Amsterdam, Netherlands, May 17-18

Peter will speak on the topic of “Examining the Role of Carrier Ethernet in Meeting Mobile Backhaul Capacity Needs Including LTE.” View the conference details.

And find out more about our other events!

That’s it for now. I will be back in touch next month to update you on the latest happenings at Aviat Networks. Until then, follow the dialogue and news on our social sites.

www.aviatnetworks.com

www.twitter.com/aviatnetworks

www.blog.aviatnetworks.com

www.youtube.com/aviatnetworks

Cyndy Johnson

Director of Corporate 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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CTO Insights from Mobile World Congress 2011

Aviat Networks SVP and CTO, Paul Kennard, shares technology trends and insights from Mobile World Congress 2011.

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The Future of Backhaul is Now

There is an old saying in some places with words to the effect that “the future is now.” We believe the future of mobile backhaul is microwave and that future is now. At the risk of stretching the point of a seeming paradox, let us explain. The focal point for much of Mobile World Congress 2011 will be on Long Term Evolution (LTE) 4G cellular services.

Even with all the hype for LTE, its demand on the backhaul network will probably not exceed 200Mbps, and it will likely settle somewhere in the range of 150Mbps to 200Mbps for the typical LTE macro cell site. This figure is well within the throughput capabilities of modern IP/Ethernet microwave backhaul radios. We will be explaining more about this at our MWC courtyard pavilion #CY08 in the Fira de Barcelona during the week.

For a more detailed look at what Aviat Networks has planned for the week, let us elaborate. Aviat Network presenters will outline the company’s vision for the future of backhaul networks, focusing on the key challenges faced by mobile service providers around the world including:

1. 4G/LTE Backhaul—A Dose of Reality. The requirements for 4G/LTE backhaul capacity are being overhyped, leading to operators wasting potentially billions of dollars by running fiber to cell sites. Understand how microwave is exceeding the true backhaul capacity needs of 4G/LTE with high reliability—and much more cost effectively.

2. Simplifying Mobile Backhaul Evolution. The evolution of mobile network infrastructure to all-IP is potentially risky and complex, giving operators many confusing options. Learn how Aviat Networks is developing solutions that will help simplify and lower the cost of this evolution.

3. Small Cell Backhaul—Challenges and Opportunities. There is a growing consensus in the industry that operators will need to deploy a new “underlay” network of small, micro-base stations to provide the needed capacity and coverage for 4G. Find out how microwave is uniquely positioned to provide the backhaul for this new class of base stations.

In addition, you can see the latest Aviat Networks microwave solutions, which we will be introducing in person at MWC:

4. Aviat WTM 3000. A fully functional Carrier Ethernet transport node in a true zero-footprint package, the WTM 3000 includes for the first time advanced radio, modem and Ethernet networking functions all in a compact outdoor unit, unlike other “all-outdoor” packet radios that require an indoor unit or a separate switch/router to provide important networking advanced radio features.

5. Eclipse IDU GE3. An ultra-compact indoor unit (IDU) that combines the very latest Carrier Ethernet networking and advanced radio features for hybrid TDM/Ethernet or all-Ethernet/IP wireless transmission. The Eclipse IDU GE3 enables the deployment of cost-effective wireless tail-end cell-site connections and standalone point-to-point links.

6. Eclipse DAC GE3. A new plug-in interface module for the Eclipse Packet Node platform, theDAC GE3 provides the most advanced Carrier Ethernet switch subsystem available in microwave backhaul today. Featuring higher capacity and an impressive breadth of new capabilities, this third-generation design sets a new benchmark for resilient wireless access and aggregation networks.

For more information visit our booth at Mobile World Congress or our website Aviat Networks.

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What is 4G?

By now, you have seen the blogs, read the tweets and perhaps watched a YouTube video about “4G” mobile networks. In these postings, various claims and counterclaims have been made for what really defines 4G wireless. Further down in the industry dialogue, debate has been swirling among the ITU, IEEE 802 and various telecom analysts and pundits about what constitutes 4G. The technical acronyms LTE, WiMAX, HSPA+ and perhaps others have floated through the ether, creating more confusion than clarity.

All this happened when ITU let the genie out of the bottle in late 2010 and loosened the technical definition of what is truly 4G. The answer had been mobile technology capable of 100 Mbps+ downloads. However, ITU seems to have given mobile operators and others with vested interests enough leeway to define 4G as any mobile broadband technology that is faster than “3G,” which enjoyed a similar hype and uncertainty when it debuted in the early 2000s. And so began the public’s conditioning to equate more Gs with faster throughput.

Of course, all these Gs only refer to the generation of mobile technology, currently in its third generation in most places, with some limited availability of fourth generation technology. For the record, 4G technology in ITU’s strictest sense only refers to Long Term Evolution (LTE) Advanced and WiMAX 802.16m. Even current LTE and WiMAX 16e installations do not qualify. They are evolutionary steps on the road to 4G. And though HSPA+ is a fast download technology, it is still a third generation mobile telecom technology. Still, some HSPA+ carriers are achieving 21 Mbps downloads—faster than the 12 Mbps of early LTE carriers. With a software upgrade by the end of 2011, HSPA+ carriers can conceivably get up to 42 Mbps—but that is the theoretical maximum. Someday, LTE operators could hypothetically top out at 300 Mbps, but that day is not in the immediate future.

What is immediately apparent and most important is what 4G means to the end user. Most people cannot be bothered to dive into the technical details of mobile broadband technology, even if they are capable of grasping its intricacies. What they can grasp is faster mobile video loads with a minimum of latency and lack of jitter. What they can get is the mobile Internet displaying web pages with images in place and not red Xs or empty pictureholders. What is important is delivering content to the end user—wherever she is—faster than she expects, however many Gs it takes….

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