5 Expert Tips for Deploying Successful Long-Distance Microwave Links

What is the key to ensuring that your long-distance microwave links work reliably, even in the most challenging environments? Imagine transforming remote outposts and underserved communities with seamless, high-speed connectivity.
Streamline Your Microwave Radio Design with Our Case Study

In this blog, we will use our 80 years of experience in microwave and break down exactly how to overcome your challenges and achieve optimal performance for your network.

Optimize Site Selection and Conduct Detailed Link Planning

The foundation of a successful long-distance microwave link deployment starts with meticulous site selection and detailed link planning. It is almost impossible to design a successful microwave link without advanced link budget calculating software.

Aviat Design is an advanced, free planning tool that helps with every step of this process. Designed by engineers but with a simple and intuitive interface. Aviat Design provides accurate visualizations of the link, considering line-of-sight (LOS), terrain, environmental conditions, and more to give you extremely accurate predictions of how the link will perform in the real world.

How do I choose the best sites for my long-distance microwave links?

Choosing the best sites for long-distance microwave links involves careful consideration of several key factors to ensure optimal performance and reliability. Aviat Design can help streamline this process through maps, layers, and Lidar data. Here are some important steps to follow:

Line of Sight (LOS)

  • Clear Path: Ensure there is a clear, unobstructed line of sight between the two endpoints of the link. Any obstacles, such as buildings, trees, or terrain, can interfere with the signal.
  • Fresnel Zone Clearance: Make sure the Fresnel zone is clear of obstructions. This elliptical area around the LOS must be free from interference to maintain signal strength.

Terrain Analysis

  • Elevation: Choose sites that are elevated to avoid natural obstacles and minimize the potential for signal blockage.
  • Topographical Maps: Use topographical maps and tools to analyze the terrain between sites. High points are preferred.

Environmental Considerations

  • Weather Conditions: Consider the typical weather conditions in the area, such as fog, rain, or snow, which can affect signal propagation.
  • Temperature Variations: Be aware of temperature inversion layers that can impact microwave signals.

Distance, Path Length, and Antennas

  • Distance: Ensure the sites are within the practical range for the frequency band and equipment being used. Longer distances may require higher power levels or repeaters.
  • Link Budget: Utilize link planning software like Aviat Design to calculate the link budget to determine if the selected sites will provide adequate signal strength and quality.
  • Antennas: Choose antennas based on availability targets, tower strength and loading, and tower rental fees. Larger antennas may improve signal reliability but can increase load and costs. Assess tower capacity and rental impacts when selecting antenna size. Aviat Design can also help determine the proper dish size to ensure optimal performance.

Frequency Selection

  • Interference: Choose frequencies that are less likely to experience interference from other sources. Licensed frequencies typically offer more protection against interference.
  • Propagation Characteristics: Different frequencies have different propagation characteristics. Lower frequencies travel further and propagate around obstacles better than higher frequencies. Additionally, higher frequencies are more susceptible to rain fading, which can significantly impact signal quality during heavy rainfall.

By thoroughly addressing these aspects with the help of Aviat Design, you can significantly enhance the reliability and performance of long-distance microwave links, ensuring robust 5G coverage even in challenging environments.

Implement Adaptive Coding and Modulation

Adaptive Coding and Modulation (ACM) is essential for maintaining consistent performance in varying environmental conditions. ACM dynamically adjusts modulation schemes and error correction based on real-time link conditions, optimizing data throughput and reliability. This is especially important for long-distance microwave links, where weather and other factors can significantly impact performance.

How does ACM dynamically adjust to changing conditions?

ACM continuously monitors link conditions and adjusts the modulation and coding schemes accordingly. For example, in clear weather, the system can use higher-order modulation schemes to maximize data throughput. During adverse weather, it can switch to lower-order schemes to maintain link reliability.

Why is ACM important for reliability?

By dynamically adapting to changing conditions, ACM ensures that the link remains stable and reliable, minimizing downtime and ensuring consistent performance.

How does ACM enhance efficiency?

ACM optimizes the use of the available spectrum, allowing for higher data rates and more efficient use of bandwidth. This is crucial for 5G applications, which demand high-capacity and low-latency links.

Can you provide a real-world example of ACM in action?

In a real-world deployment, a network operator using ACM was able to maintain a stable connection during a severe storm, while neighboring networks without ACM experienced significant downtime.

Choose High-Powered Radio Solutions

High-powered radio solutions are vital for improving link reliability and extending the reach of microwave links, especially over long distances. These radios enhance signal penetration and reduce the need for larger antennas, which is particularly advantageous in remote areas.

How do high-powered radios improve signal strength?

High-powered radios improve signal strength by increasing the transmission power, which enhances the ability of the signal to travel greater distances and penetrate obstacles. This results in a stronger and more reliable signal, even in challenging environments. We make the highest-powered radio on the market, the IRU 600 UHP (Ultra High-Power).

What benefits do higher power levels provide?

  • Extended Coverage: Higher power levels enable signals to cover larger areas, reducing the number of required base stations and infrastructure.
  • Enhanced Reliability: Increased power reduces the likelihood of signal degradation due to interference or environmental factors, providing more stable and reliable communication.
  • Higher Data Rates: With improved signal strength, higher power levels support faster data transmission rates, enhancing overall network performance.
  • Enables Smaller Antennas: Higher power levels allow for smaller antennas while maintaining high capacity and reliability. This reduces installation costs, simplifies site acquisition, and minimizes the physical footprint of the deployment.

Leverage Multi-Band Solutions

Multi-band solutions provide significant advantages in long-distance deployments by utilizing different frequency bands simultaneously. This approach optimizes performance and coverage, enabling better capacity and reliability.

How do multi-band solutions optimize performance?

Multi-band solutions, such as Aviat’s WTM 4800, use different frequency bands simultaneously to optimize performance. Typically, a higher frequency band with wider channels is used for increased capacity, while a lower frequency band with narrower channels ensures higher availability. This combination allows the network to handle high data rates and maintain consistent performance over longer distances.

Why are multi-band solutions beneficial for 5G?
Multi-band solutions are beneficial for 5G for several reasons:

  • Enhanced Capacity: Leveraging multiple frequency bands allows for increased data throughput, accommodating more users and higher data rates.
  • Improved Coverage: Different frequency bands have varying propagation characteristics. Lower bands provide better coverage and penetration in urban and indoor environments, while higher bands offer increased capacity and speed. Combining these bands ensures comprehensive coverage and performance.
  • Resilience and Reliability: Using multiple bands helps maintain consistent performance under varying conditions, such as congestion or interference on a particular band. This redundancy improves the overall reliability of the network.
  • Efficient Spectrum Utilization: Multi-band solutions make better use of the available spectrum by dynamically allocating resources based on demand and network conditions, optimizing network efficiency.
  • Flexibility and Scalability: These solutions enable network operators to adapt to evolving requirements and technological advancements, ensuring the network remains future-proof and scalable.

Leverage Network Management Tools

Effective network management is crucial for maintaining the performance and reliability of long-distance microwave links. Advanced network management tools from Aviat, such as ProVision Plus, Frequency Assurance Software (FAS), and Health Assurance Software (HAS), offer comprehensive solutions for real-time monitoring, diagnostics, and optimization.

How do network management tools enhance microwave link performance?

Real-Time Monitoring

  • ProVision Plus: Provides full visibility across all network layers on a single map, offering comprehensive FCAPS (Fault, Configuration, Accounting, Provisioning, and Security) capabilities.
  • HAS: Monitors network health in real-time, diagnosing issues before they impact performance.

Diagnostics and Troubleshooting

  • FAS: Detects and analyzes interference, performing trend analysis to isolate problem links before noticeable impacts occur.
  • ProVision Plus: Accelerates fault resolution with built-in service-aware fault analysis, enabling rapid deployment of complex services.

Optimization and Maintenance

  • ProVision Plus: Supports efficient collaboration between network components, lowering total cost of ownership with end-to-end management.
  • HAS: Uses predictive analytics to reduce link downtime and operating costs, diagnosing 95% of issues before they affect network health.

By leveraging these network management tools, you can ensure high performance and reliability for your long-distance microwave links, maintaining robust 5G coverage and minimizing operational disruptions.

Getting the Most Out of Your Network

Deploying successful long-distance microwave links requires thorough planning, advanced technologies, and the right solutions. By following these five expert tips, network operators can enhance 5G coverage and ensure reliable connectivity, particularly in remote outposts and underserved communities. Aviat Networks, with 80 years of experience, offers proven solutions that provide the lowest TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) in the industry, making them the best choice for achieving optimal performance and reliability.

For more information on Aviat’s products and solutions, visit our website or contact our team for further consultation.

Designing your microwave links is FREE with Aviat Design

Aviat’s microwave path planning tool is available to all, for free, via AviatCloud. Once you have created your account on AviatCloud, simply navigate to the Design section to start design your links!

Request more information:


Aviat is pioneering wireless solutions across diverse industries, driven by customer challenges. Explore Now
Mobile Operators
Public Safety
Oil & Gas


Aviat's products offer unique, tailored solutions, ensuring optimal performance and cost-effective network design. Explore Now
All-Outdoor Radio
Microwave Indoor Units
Microwave Routers
Split-Mount Radio
All-Indoor Radio
Microwave Trunking

Hosted Software

Aviat's hosted software streamlines network management, ensuring efficient, accessible, and reliable solutions. Explore Now
Aviat Design
Frequency Assurance Software
Health Assurance Software


Aviat offers tailored services optimizing wireless infrastructure, from project management to continuous support Explore Now
Project Services
Managed Services

Explore Company

Aviat Networks delivers reliable wireless transport solutions, backed by 70 years of expertise and a strong focus on customer satisfaction. Explore Now
About Aviat
Responsible Sourcings


Aviat's Resource Center offers a comprehensive collection of insights and tools to support your wireless transport needs Explore Now


Aviat Networks, Inc. is the leading expert in wireless transport solutions and works to provide dependable products, services and support to its customers. Explore Now
Press Releases
Events & Presentations
Financial Information
Stock Information
Investor Resources

Contact Aviat

Contact Aviat for network solutions, sales, support, and global locations. Explore Now
Discuss My Network
Schedule a Demo
Request a Quote
Request Customer Pin
Get Tech Support
Request an RMA
Upgrade / Buy License Key
Become Aviat Certified
Customer Training