Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Microwave will ease '4G' backhaul strain

According to wireless technology leader, Radio Frequency Systems (RFS), high-capacity microwave links could provide relief to the strain felt by backhaul infrastructure, as high data throughputs and subscriber demand consume network capacity. RFS Area Product Manager, Asad Zoberi sees backhaul capacity as a likely bottleneck unless the networks (traditional T1 lines, opitical fiber and mircowave radio links) are upgraded. Zoberi is an advocate for microwave networks as they are less costly and far quicker to install.

Accommodating the higher-capacity services opens the way for innovative system architectures in microwave backhaul networks. Dual-polarized antennas double the capacity of the antenna system. Moreover, the superior interference characteristics of ultra-high performance antennas allow the installation of additional antennas on existing sites as new microwave backhaul systems are deployed. Zoberi expects two sections of the E-band spectrum, which are available between 71 and 86GHz, to come into frequent use in 2009. Trial systems have already been deployed. Using 1- or 2-foot antennas, E-band microwave systems provide 200 to 600Mbit/s capacity over distances up to two miles.

According to Zoberi, the growing demand for enhanced wireless data services to be available ‘anytime and anywhere’ is increasing pressure on operators to re-assess their backhaul infrastructure--with higher capacity the key. “For the network operators, the expression ‘time is money’ rings true,” he said. “Quick to install, high-capacity microwave systems offer a flexible and reliable solution to the backhaul dilemma as we embark on the next steps of wireless evolution.”

Perhaps some "Optical Fiber Guys" would like to argue their case for superiority in this area. We're all ears.

1 comment:

  1. Assuming that many cell-sites for the latest 3G and especially 4G technologies predict up to 50Mbps (and even higher) throughput per cell-site, microwave design engineers will definitely have to be very inovative in their network design approach as well as the equipment selection process.

    Millimeter-wave radios (licensed and license-exempt) in 60, 70, and 80 GHz bands are a very exciting option but still under development and not too many operators are willing to use them at the moment. Some major operators are field-testing them and it will be interesting to hear their comments in the near future.