Wireless ‘Feel Good’ Factor

It has been satisfying to help a ‘go-getting’ wireless company from down-under win an award recently. Adelaide-based MIMP Connecting Solutions won the environment and energy efficiency category at the NECA (National Electrical and Communication Association) excellence awards using our Eclipse microwave radios.

MIMP won the award with a unique comms solution that links the Adelaide Zoo with the Warrawong Wildlife Sanctuary. The sanctuary is home to 100 species of birds and native mammals, most of which are nocturnal and endangered.

The Zoo’s old system ran at 256 kilobit-per-second at a very high cost until MIMP installed four environmentally friendly microwave radios. They now have a 32 Mb/s full-duplex connection between the sites with minimal ongoing costs. Now, the radios use less power than a light bulb.

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Highlights from Mobile World Congress 2011

Aviat Networks at Mobile World Congress 2011

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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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Wireless Backhaul Solutions Everywhere in Barcelona

I must have counted nearly 30 vendors during the opening day at Mobile World Congress this year who are promoting some form of wireless backhaul solution. It seems like instead of consolidating the market it continues to expand and fragment like never before. Ten or 15 years ago I thought that the market could not support 20 vendors, but now things are hotter than ever.

There are the big guys (Ericsson, NSN, Huawei, Alcatel Lucent and NEC), the independent point-to-point (PTP) microwave providers like Ceragon (newly merged with Nera) and SIAE from Italy (part of the STM Group), to a myriad of small guys from all over the world. And then there are the other wanna-be backhaul solutions, like point-to-multipoint (PMP), free space optics (FSO), mesh, E-Band, etc.

There are also a slew of new products announced and on display (including two from Aviat Networks), including Ericsson, Ceragon, Trango, Comba and NEC. A lot of these new products are IP based and primarily all-outdoor, reflecting the ongoing trend in the industry for ‘zero footprint’, packet microwave systems for new 4G/LTE base station deployments.

With all of these players and products coming to market each year at Mobile World Congress it’s a must see event and I can’t wait for the next few days to unfold.

Stuart Little,
Director of Marketing, Aviat Networks

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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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Top 11 Ways to Survive Mobile World Congress

  • Unless you want to stand in line for 2+ hours, print and bring your fast track pass. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
  • Pick up your badge Saturday or Sunday or be prepared for a long wait Monday morning. Bring your confirmation email for added time savings.
  • Foot soak after a long day on the show floor can become a necessity by day 3.
  • Catalan is widely used in Barcelona, be prepared for some locals to not understand your Spanish.
  • A small bit of laundry detergent works great if you have to wash something in your hotel sink, trust me it happens!
  • The day before the show, scout out coffee shops within walking distance of your hotel and the closest Metro line. You will thank us later.
  • If you check your luggage, make sure you carry on at least one outfit for the show. You don’t want to show up for that million dollar meeting in a $50 suit bought last minute at the corner shop by your hotel.
  • Most restaurants don’t open up until 9 or 10pm. Pre-dinner naps are encouraged!
  • Don’t bring your laptop to the show floor and if you do, guard it with your life!
  • Conversion power plugs are like gold bars on the show floor. Bring an extra for your hotel… or two.
  • Charge your devices every chance you get, international travel seems to burn through battery quicker.

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Taking a Realistic Look at 4G Backhaul Needs

Let’s get past the hype.

We can get a good idea of what capacities 4G networks will need for backhaul we should look at what the technology is actually able to support.

The backhaul requirements for a single cell are fixed by a number of factors, regardless of how many users there are in that cell. Network congestion and frequency interference will limit the throughput achievable to rates well below the advertised peak rates.

For a typical three sector macro cell operating in the maximum 20MHz channel bandwidth, the total backhaul capacity needed is actually below 200 Mbit/s, even with the future introduction of LTE Advanced (Release 10).

For the current Release 8 of LTE now being deployed, and with smaller operating channels of 5 or 10 MHz, the actual backhaul capacity needs will be more often in the 10’s of Mbit/s, not the 100’s!

So if this is the case, why do you need fiber?? It’s pretty clear that the presumption that only fiber is suitable for 4G backhaul doesn’t make much sense! As shown by Figure 1, modern microwave transmission systems more than meet the capacity needs of 4G/LTE, with lots of room to spare.

Microwave supports more than enough backhaul capacity for 4G/LTE

Innovative new microwave technologies have been introduced to the market in the past few years that dramatically increase the throughput capacity, while the move to packet-based transport has also enabled a new range of Ethernet/IP-aware products that are able to intelligently utilize the available microwave backhaul spectrum better than ever before, with throughputs of 1 Gbit/s achievable with fiber-like reliability.

Apart from that, the average cost of microwave has continued to decrease over the years. The result is that microwave $/MBit is a fraction of what it was just 5 years ago.

Why Pay for Capacity That You Don’t Need?

Driven by this continued uncertainty, many operators could waste huge amounts of money by deploying fiber to cell-sites that can be served much more economically with proven microwave solutions.

So far from fiber being the only answer for operators deploying HSPA+ & LTE, microwave transport can and will meet the capacity needs for mobile backhaul for many years to come.

Stuart Little

Director of Marketing, Aviat Networks

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