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Extend the reach of your broadband network with microwave backhaul

Extend the reach of your broadband network with microwave backhaul

The capacity requirements of advanced communication networks are significantly increasing, especially as demand for 5G services grows, this is impacting all network layers including backhaul. Communication service providers and enterprises with private wireless networks are looking for high-capacity backhaul solutions while keeping cost efficiency in mind. High-performance microwave is essential for extending the reach of 5G networks beyond cities and into rural areas.

Landscape of microwave usage in the USA

As mobile networks and technology have evolved, microwave transmission has remained the dominant backhaul solution. For over 50 years, point-to-point microwave transmission has heavily relied on the 6 GHz and 11 GHz frequency bands, especially in North America. With the increasing adoption of 5G, the number of microwave links necessary to support this growth has risen over the past few years.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) coordination chart, shown below, gives an idea of microwave usage in the USA. For broadband links, the 6 GHz band has been the favored approach, because of its robust propagation characteristics. However, it’s clear that 11 GHz is also a commonly used frequency band. It offers benefits including wide coverage, a balance of high-capacity with the support of 80 MHz channel sizes, flexibility in antenna requirements, as well as high system gain appropriate for typical urban and sub-urban applications.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) coordination chart

Interference and congestion are valid concerns for choosing the 6 GHz band

Both communication service providers and private network operators look to expand their networks beyond city limits and into rural areas. How can microwave transmission satisfy the need for cost-effective, high-capacity solutions? For broadband microwave links, the 6 GHz frequency band has been widely adopted as it provides robust propagation characteristics. However, because of its popularity, it is often challenging to find additional channels in the 6 GHz band to enhance current capacity in a given location.  

Another impacting factor is the recent FCC approval to expand the use of unlicensed spectrum for Wi-Fi devices into the 5.925 – 7.125 GHz band. It means that communication service providers utilizing the 6 GHz spectrum allocations for microwave backhaul will need to pay more attention to Wi-Fi interference, which can cause degraded and poor link performance. To help counter this, we developed the Wavence Interference Notification system. See more details in this White Paper.

To address the challenges associated with using the 6 GHz band, many communication service providers are looking for alternatives, especially for their mission-critical communications networks.

High-performance 11 GHz links bring a robust alternative

Network performance is the key criterion for communication service providers when evaluating options for microwave backhaul. Typically, the 11 GHz band has been used for sub-urban applications. Having foreseen the increasing need to find alternatives for 6 GHz, Nokia developed a new microwave backhaul product variant, Ultra Broadband Transceiver Twin eXtreme Power (UBT-T XP). It provides a robust broadband solution utilizing either the 11 GHz band or a dual-band option (6 GHz – 11 GHz).

To make it easy for you to extend the reach of your network without compromising performance, our UBT-T XP brings the following benefits.

  • More transmit power at 11 GHz
  • Direct replacement of up to 50 km long 6 GHz links with 11 GHz links, providing the same level of performance
  • Option for dual-band functionality: one channel at 6 GHz and another at 11 GHz, providing up to 1.2 Gbps of throughput capacity in a single outdoor transceiver
  • Significantly smaller antenna size for reduced tower load and lower related deployment costs.

Carrier Aggregation is a key technology for making the best use of spectrum assets for optimized capacity and performance. With the Carrier Aggregation service-aware functionality of the UBT-T XP, the highest priority traffic will always have bandwidth even if the 6 GHz link would experience service degradation because of interference. This is especially important for mission-critical communications.

Visit the Nokia Wavence microwave portfolio webpage to learn more about how our products match your microwave use cases.

Scott Thompson

About Scott Thompson

Scott is General Manager, Americas, for Wireless Transmission products at Nokia. In this capacity he has helped shape Nokia’s products to support the transformation of both mission critical and service provider networks to resilient high capacity packet based networks, while continuing to support the needs of traditional TDM networks.

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