5G is fast becoming a reality in many parts of the world. According to the Global Mobile Suppliers Association (GSA), 461 operators in 137 countries/territories are now investing in 5G, including trials, licenses acquisition, planning, deployment, and launches. Of those, 176 operators in 72 countries/territories had launched one or more 5G services.
Just this February, Ncell, the leading mobile provider in Nepal, awarded Aviat Networks an Appreciation Certificate for successfully migrating its existing VSAT network to high-speed Eclipse microwave radio. This project was executed in the Himalaya range at an average attitude of 4,410 meters above sea level with three passive repeater links. Included in this rollout is a 99 km microwave link.
According to Ncell, this is the world’s highest 3G rollout. As a result, this upgrade is considered a feather in Ncell’s hat.
While Aviat Networks has completed many successful projects with Ncell, this one is worth a special mention. Awarded in 2013, this project has helped Aviat establish itself as a key Ncell vendor for the access network. The implementation includes equipment and services.
In South Africa, as in many emerging markets, wireless backhaul has long been a proverbial bottleneck to network growth. Due to cost and logistics, fiber optic technology remains out of reach as a practical solution for most aggregation scenarios, save for urban applications where population density and shorter routes can justify the exorbitance.
Now with the advent of higher speed, higher throughput mobile phones and tablet PCs, higher-order networking technologies are being pressed into service. Standard microwave radio, while cost efficient and effective for crossing far-flung forests, monumental mountains and desiccated deserts with traditional payload such as voice calls and moderate data rate applications, was not designed for the connectivity and capacity requirements of Layer 3 services. Thus, the bottleneck has grown still narrower. Even to the point where standard microwave radio might be hitting its upper threshold for serving mobile broadband.
Technical marketing manager, Siphiwe Nelwamondo, recently sat down with Engineering News, to discuss these issues and the present and future of microwave radio backhaul in South Africa and across the continent. In addition, he delved into how microwave networking is bridging the radio-IP gap for Layer 3 services by running IP/MPLS protocols on converged microwave routers.
As more and more mobile services get pushed out to the edge of the access network, the imperative for Layer 3 will only grow. Even as 3.5G and 4G mobile users who depend on full-IP increase in number, a majority of second- and third-generation subscribers will continue to rely on circuit-based technology. Not to worry, Nelwamondo covers how TDM telephony will be supported in a converged microwave and IP environment.
The full article goes on to discuss how mobile operators will strategize providing enterprise services from the cellular base station with microwave networking, virtual routers and more.