Aviat Networks in the News: Highlights & What’s Ahead in Wireless

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This month we have a few technology updates from our travels abroad to London and Amsterdam where we presented our perspectives on backhaul at two LTE conferences.

In May, Stuart Little, our director of global corporate marketing, presented at an LTE backhaul conference organized by Telecom IQ in London. Stuart hosted a workshop that focused on the current challenges faced by mobile service providers while preparing their backhaul networks to meet the demand of next generation LTE broadband services. Comprising an intimate crowd of mostly operators, the conference focused on a series of operator presentations, panel discussions and roundtable conversations. Representatives from operators such as BT, Telenor, France Telecom, Telecom Italia, Vodafone, Mobitel and Saudi Telecom were in attendance. Some key issues discussed focused on the backhaul needs of LTE, which are difficult to predict. With a few exceptions, most LTE deployments to-date are limited or in the trial phase. Operators are also grappling with a mix of technologies in their networks, making migration to all-IP a huge and complicated task.

While in London, Stuart also spoke at the 13th annual Transport Networks for Mobile Operators (TNMO) Conference on May 10. TNMO is one of the largest conferences in Europe focused purely on backhaul transport networks. This year, Aviat Networks participated by presenting on the topic of “Realistic Capacity Requirements for LTE,” or why fiber is not the only answer, and took part in a panel discussion on Carrier Ethernet for mobile backhaul. The conference was fairly well attended, with a packed agenda that covered the full range of transport challenges from the access to the core. Numerous solutions to the problem of delivering more capacity to meet expected demand were discussed, including network sharing, microcells, network offload and intelligent backhaul optimization techniques. It seems that there is no single winner in the race to find a solution. Operators are going to have to choose from an array of options to get the right fit for their particular needs.

Over in Amsterdam, Peter Croy, our senior IP network architect, presented on the topic of Carrier Ethernet for LTE mobile backhaul requirements at the LTE World Summit. Not sure if you have read previous blogs or joined in our webinars on this subject, but Peter is a well versed expert on backhaul. See his overview from the conference.

With summer fast approaching and vacations looming, June will be a bit slower. Good thing as planning will begin for some major events and shows coming in the fall and early 2012.

An event you won’t want to miss is the 1588v2 Synchronization for Mobile Backhaul Networks Webinar on June 6. Hosted by Patrick Donegan, senior analyst at Heavy Reading. This webinar will bring together leading vendors and operators to develop best practice guidelines for operators as they deploy the 1588v2 standard. Drawing on real implementation case studies, industry leaders will demonstrate where some implementations have gone wrong in the past and what leading operators and vendors are now doing right to deploy this key standard. Please join us for this highly interactive webinar. The webinar is co-hosted by Errol Binda, our very own solutions marketing manager.

Another interesting event is the National Urban Areas Security Initiative Conference (UASI) conference held in San Francisco, June 20-23. This conference is in cooperation with Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Grants Programs Directorate. The conference will provide an opportunity for stakeholders from all areas of homeland security and emergency preparedness to gather and exchange important information to make the United States safer.

We will have a booth, No. 85 in the Continental Ballroom, at the conference where we will display our public safety solutions along with showcasing all-indoor configurations of Eclipse Packet Node. Ali Hirsa from Aviat Networks will be at the booth to answer any questions you may have.

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.facebook.com/AviatNet

www.twitter.com/aviatnetworks

www.blog.aviatnetworks.com

www.youtube.com/aviatnetworks

Cyndy Johnson
Director of Corporate Communications, Aviat Networks

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Ethernet OAM Meets Demands on Microwave (Wireless) Networks

Ethernet OAM (Operations, Administration and Maintenance) can help mobile network operators and other transport providers meet the ever-growing demands for increased bandwidth across the backhaul network as well as meeting the equally important demand for quality and reliability of service.

This white paper will look at how Ethernet OAM can help the evolution from TDM to Next Generation Networks (NGN), with a focus on microwave-based NGN radio networks.

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Aviat Networks: Official Wireless Transmission Headquarters

The Aviat Networks Headquarters in Santa Clara is perfectly positioned to serve its wireless customers. Watch this video to see the full capabilities of the Aviat Networks North American offices.

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LTE Capacity Shortfall: Why Small Cell Backhaul is the Answer?

With exploding demand for mobile broadband services, networks must evolve to meet expanding capacity and coverage demands. Small cells are emerging as a viable technology. This paper reviews how backhaul for small cells will need to adjust to meet the specific challenges for small cell deployment.

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Refarming UHF Spectrum: Wireless Opportunities & Challenges for 4G

With more countries starting the auction process, the U.K. announced its intention in April, to sell off recently vacated prime 800MHz spectrum, seen by many as vital for rural wireless broadband expansion. This is happening as a consequence of the switchover from analog to digital broadcasting technology. In many countries this has already happened and globally is expected to be completed before the end of the decade. With the change in technology, broadcasters have the ability to transmit a greater number of channels, thus satisfying public demand, while using less spectrum. It is this development that is making spectrum available and is referred to in some regions as the “Digital Dividend.”

UHF spectrum, 700MHz to 900MHz, is attractive to many users because it covers what is known as the “sweet spot” for radio transmission. This sweet spot is where the ideal balance between range, bandwidth and cost resides. It is for this reason that this particular spectrum is so attractive to many users. The main competing demands for this spectrum are from broadcasters wishing to deliver HDTV using the DVB-T2 protocol (or similar) and cellular network operators looking to deploy LTE. There are however other interesting proposals such as white space usage.

Importantly, it is not just the competing interests for this spectrum that need to be considered, but also the effect of these new services on the many millions of pieces of existing equipment that are out there in the market place that users will expect to be able to be used for some years to come. These factors are explored in greater detail in a recent white paper from Aviat Networks that covers both the technical and organizational issues raised by this process and how they have been tackled in a number of major markets around the globe

Ian Marshall

Regulatory Manager, Aviat Networks

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Synchronization Over Microwave Mobile Backhaul Networks


Synchronization is creating quite a stir in the mobile backhaul industry as operators are wrestling with a variety of synchronization technology options including Synchronous Ethernet (SyncE) and Precision Time Protocol (PTP) a.k.a. IEEE 1588v2. This paper reviews unique microwave backhaul characteristics that need to be taken into account in support of synchronization, and how each particular synch approach can be addressed.

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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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Unlocking Capacity Block Through Higher Order Digital Modulation

If you are reading this post, then you probably have heard about “4G”, the 4th generation cellular network. For a cell phone user, 4G means improved data speeds that allow faster delivery of multimedia-based applications, see our previous post, What is 4G?, for more details. On the other hand, the network operator desires to spend a minimum on upgrading network infrastructure and prefers to buy a backhaul solution that supports current and near future capacity demands of a cellular network.

Thus, it is important to improve the capacity of wireless backhaul links. To increase transmission capacity, wider channel spacing can be used. However the wireless spectrum is expensive and may not be available in some countries. Using transmission in high frequency bands, such as 60 GHz and above, provides the bandwidth needed to increase capacity. However, very high radio frequencies increase the cost of radio components. In addition, 60 GHz links limit transmission range due to high absorption of radio waves by the atmosphere, making this solution somewhat cost inefficient. One efficient way of improving the capacity of a communication link is to increase the order of the digital communication modulation scheme used for transmission.

In simple terms, digital modulation is the process of mapping a group of data bits into an information symbol that gets transmitted, after up-conversion to the radio frequency (RF) of the link. The most popular digital modulation scheme used in wireless radios is known as quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM). For a given symbol rate, increasing the modulation order, or equivalently packing more bits per symbol, would be an effective way to increase the capacity of a microwave link. For example, each symbol in a 64-QAM signal represents 6 data bits, while for 256-QAM and 1024-QAM signals it represents 8 and 10 data bits, respectively. Therefore, 1024-QAM provides (theoretically) a 25 percent increase in capacity over 256-QAM and an impressive 67 percent increase in capacity compared to 64-QAM.

The price paid for achieving such an increase in capacity is more complex signal processing algorithms and stricter requirements for channel quality, e.g. higher signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) at the receiver is required. In that case, increasing the modulation order for some networks under normal operating conditions can have a diminishing return on throughput. This is due to the fact that the required SNR for an acceptable receiver performance rarely can be met.

Why this is the case? Let us briefly discuss the challenges in increasing the modulation order. Higher modulation order results in larger pool of symbols available for transmission. For example, for 64-QAM, there exists 64 symbols in a 2D grid (known as constellation points) compared to 1,024 symbols for 1024-QAM for the same grid size. Clearly, increasing the number of symbols (assuming fixed power) makes the symbols closer to each other in this 2D grid. Thus, data detection at the receiver becomes more susceptible to errors due to impairment.

In practical terms, receiver circuits are affected by thermal noise, clipping and non-linearity of power amplifiers, phase noise and many other distortions that are beyond the scope of this post. It is worth mentioning that increasing the signal power beyond some limits results in actually decreasing the received SNR since many of these distortions associated with RF circuits are dependent on the transmitted power. Rather, the way to increase the modulation order is to improve the detection schemes and build circuits that are less susceptible to power-related distortions, along with improving the correction mechanisms at the receiver for phase noise and other impairments.

At Aviat Networks, we have the expertise and knowledge to build the highest quality microwave radios that can work at cutting edge signaling schemes. We will make sure that our customers see a sizable return—not a diminishing one from increasing the modulation order. Our pledge is that microwave backhaul will always exceed the capacity requirements of our customers.

Ramy Abdallah,

Senior Signal Processing Engineer, 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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