5 ways to improve your all-outdoor microwave radio buying process

5 ways to improve your all-outdoor microwave radio buying process

Most radio buying processes haven’t changed for years. Some orders are still placed by picking up the phone, emailing a request, waiting for a response, and then juggling multiple POs. It’s such a long process to manage from start to finish. Aviat Store solves all those issues and more.

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Part 1: Aviat's System Gain Advantage and the Positive Impact on your Microwave Network's Total Cost of Ownership

TWS successfully trials Aviat WTM 4800 multi-band solution during mid-winter

TWS successfully trials Aviat WTM 4800 multi-band solution during mid-winter

TWS technologies, based in the Netherlands, are always looking for new systems to enable reliable connections for their customers, anytime, anywhere.

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Safaricom deploys Aviat Multi-Band to dramatically lower their backhaul TCO

Safaricom deploys Aviat Multi-Band to dramatically lower their backhaul TCO

Safaricom, the largest telecom company in Kenya, recently selected Aviat’s WTM 4800 multi-band radio platform to support their 5G backhaul rollout.

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Digicel and Aviat establish 166km link in Papua New Guinea between its two largest cities

Digicel and Aviat establish 166km link in Papua New Guinea between its two largest cities

In 2015, PNG outlined its Vision 2050, committing the government to promote the social and economic development of the nation by that date. National leaders spoke of W.W. Rostow’s five-stage model of development. The second of those stages is all important: the building of infrastructure necessary for the success of all sectors of economic and social life, which includes manufacturing, technology, transportation, and communication.

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Did you know?…Deploying Multi-Band instead of traditional Microwave can improve capacity by 20x

Did you know?…Deploying Multi-Band instead of traditional Microwave can improve capacity by 20x

Are you considering deploying microwave links in your network? Instead of deploying 15, 18 or 23 GHz why not try WTM 4800 Multi-Band with 80/xxGHz. You can replace your microwave links with Multi-Band which combines E-Band and traditional microwave (15/18/23GHz) on a single link over a single antenna to drastically improve capacity that can be typically achieved by microwave alone.

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Sub-Band Free Radios - Do they really help?

Sub-Band Free Radios – Do they really help?

By Stuart Little, Director of International Product Line Marketing

In the past years, a few microwave vendors have introduced ‘sub-band free’ RF outdoor units into the market. The main claim of these radios is that a single hardware variant can be deployed in any frequency sub-band, simplifying and lower costs involved with ordering, deployment and sparing of microwave networks.

However, these new radios are not available in all bands and come with a number of limitations, including lower RF performance, larger size, and weight, higher cost, limitations in modulation and channel sizes, amongst others.

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State-Wide Microwave Network Case Study: Extra High Power Radios

State-Wide Microwave Network Case Study: Extra High Power Radios

This large western US state had a longtime relationship with a microwave radio vendor and would have continued buying from them if their radios and support evolved with the State’s needs. However, over time its needs changed and it had to have more capabilities from its communications network. But it did not want to unnecessarily build new sites and erect costly new towers.

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85 Microwave Operators tell us their Biggest Backhaul Challenge

England-Campion-Hills-communications-mast-with-microwave-antennae-Aviat-Networks-blog-30July13

England: Campion Hills communications mast with microwave antennae. Photo credit: David Stowell [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The general mobile industry sentiment has typically been that the capacity bottleneck is the biggest challenge in backhaul. Thus, the focus has been on adding more capacity to address the surge of 3G and now 4G traffic. So you might think that this concern would rank first, particularly among microwave-centric operators, who are often looking to maximize their network throughput. We recently commissioned the experts at Heavy Reading to do a custom survey to get some quantifiable data to clarify this key question and a few others.

85 mobile operators were selected and surveyed globally, including a good cross-section from both developed and emerging markets. The respondents were screened to ensure that they all had a stake in microwave-specific backhaul: 93 percent had deployed microwave and the rest had plans to deploy it. In fact, 45 percent were categorized as heavy microwave users—those where more than 50 percent of their cell sites were served by microwave backhaul.

So we asked this select group, which consisted of mostly planners, engineers and strategy leaders, “What is the biggest challenge your company faces regarding the future development and deployment of microwave backhaul?” 

The results were interesting in that “total cost of ownership” actually eclipsed “increasing capacity” as their biggest challenge, as shown in the pie chart of survey responses below.

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All-Outdoor Radios Part II: Three Ways to Choose the Right ODR

Photo credit: mrbill / Foter.com / CC BY

Photo credit: mrbill / Foter.com / CC BY

A quick Google-glance around the Internet will reveal a panoply of all-outdoor radios (ODRs) in both microwave and millimeter-wave bands. ODRs do not conform to a universal norm in terms of networking features, power consumption, bandwidth scalability (i.e., capacity) or outright radio horsepower (i.e., system gain).

So if you find yourself asking the questions, “Which ODR is the best fit for my network?” or “How do I narrow the ODR field?” it is good to start with the basics.

The right product choice can be quickly resolved—or at least the candidates can be short-listed—by focusing on three ODR product attributes that most heavily influence the value-for-the-money (i.e., total cost of ownership or TCO) equation:

  • Packet throughput capacity, which dictates the usable life of the ODR
  • Power consumption, which affects the energy bill
  • RF performance, which impacts antenna size—more system gain equates to smaller antennas

For many microwave backhaul networks, the growth in underlying traffic is such that products which cannot scale to 500 Mbps/1 Gbps per channel will run out of momentum too early and precipitate the dreaded “forklift upgrade” (also known as the “CFO’s nightmare”).

These same CFOs are also suffering sleepless nights due to rising energy costs—which in some countries can double year-over-year. Therefore, it behooves the operator to seek and prioritize the use of über energy-efficient products, such as the Aviat WTM 3200, which—and this is important—do not compromise on RF performance.

That brings me to my last point: System gain (RF performance) remains a core TCO factor insofar as it can drive smaller antenna usage with the concomitant capex savings. Still, there might be little to differentiate ODRs in terms of RF performance—in which case the spotlight will fall on these other attributes to sway the decision.

Having worked on the operator side and wrestled with TCO analysis on many occasions, my experience tells me that you can narrow your ODR choice quickly by reflecting on these three attributes and the TCO gains they can deliver.

Jarlath Lally
Product Marketing Manager
Aviat Networks

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