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Mission-Critical Applications Need Microwave Networks

Firefighters using a tablet

The world is filled with networks of all kinds. The available menu of network infrastructure  choices ranges from fiber to copper and more.

With all the networking options available, why should microwave be toward the top of the list? For starters, microwave networks offer many important attributes and advantages:

  • They’re highly reliable, secure, and resilient. Microwave networks are equipped to meet the most demanding of mission-critical applications. That’s why defense and public safety applications have long relied on microwave technology to meet their need for always available communications.

  • Resilience during natural disasters. Microwave networks offer an easy, quick and stable connection in zones where natural disasters such as storms, earthquakes, and flooding often occur.

  • Rapid disaster recovery. Microwave networks are easy and quick to deploy to support first response services to provide new or resumed critical connectivity, and also support cellular services such as 4G and 5G with movable cellular towers such as cellular-on-wheels (COW).

  • Coverage where there is a lack of Infrastructure. In remote and difficult to address areas, the use of microwave radios provides a cost advantage over networks requiring fiber cable deployment – and may be the only viable alternative in challenging terrain.

  • Wide range of radio spectrum. Microwave’s radio spectrum of 6 GHz to 80 GHz provides a wide range of options depending on the regulatory, availability, bandwidth, and path length requirements.

  • Scalable bandwidth. Once a microwave network has been commissioned, it can grow with your needs. Modern packet-based microwave radios provide higher modulation rates and the ability to aggregate multiple RF channels together.

  • Easy integration with other networks. You can combine a microwave network easily with other network topologies to create an integrated, hybrid, tailored solution.

  • Improved energy efficiency and lower emissions. Microwave networks are designed to be more energy-efficient with lower emissions utilizing network automation, assisted by Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML). Their power consumption over transmitted capacity has improved 50-fold over the past 20 years.

According to Polaris Market Research the global microwave devices market, valued at USD 6.79B in 2021, is forecasted to grow at a CAGR of 5.8% through 2030. Long used for defense, energy, public safety, transportation, and service provider applications, microwave radio continues to be a key communication technology to extend coverage where it’s needed most urgently.


Microwave technology and Its uses

Microwave technology is predominantly deployed in point-to-point line-of-sight networks that transmit and receive voice, video, and data traffic via radio frequency (RF), thus without wires or cables. The advantages of a packet-based architecture and advancements in modulation techniques and amplifier design have increased bandwidth and transmit power, enabling microwave networks to span greater distances with higher capacity.

Microwave networks are ideal for a variety of uses, including:

  • Mission-critical public safety applications. Police, firefighters, and other first responders rely on the high availability of microwave communications in emergency situations.

  • Utilities backhaul. Electrical utilities use microwave networks to carry critical tele-protection circuits that monitor grid conditions, preventing damage to expensive infrastructure, reducing outage times, and ensuring the supply of power to their customers.

  • Oil and gas pipeline monitoring. Microwave networks make it possible for pipelines in remote locations to be continuously monitored for safety, IoT data sharing and more.

  • Railway operations and other transportation applications. Railroads use microwave technology to monitor and manage their complex network traffic across long distances and throughout remote areas to ensure safety and smooth operations.

  • Mobile network backhaul. Microwave networks provide the critical link connecting cellular base stations to the core network. This is of growing importance as operators roll out 5G services, which require more base transceiver stations and towers per square kilometer.

  • Extending the reach of rural broadband. In areas where fiber installation would be prohibitively expensive, microwave networks can bridge the gap, providing fast Internet access to underserved communities.

In these situations, a microwave network ensures rapid deployment, lower cost and latency, and high reliability.

In my next blog, I’ll explore two examples of Nokia microwave networks in action and the key role that Nokia channel partners play in crafting and deploying these solutions.

Rahul Aggarwal

About Rahul Aggarwal

Rahul is Head of Global Enterprise and Partner Marketing at Nokia, enabling large enterprises to unlock the full potential of digital transformation. Rahul is a veteran global and channel marketing leader with geographic experience in North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific. He is a passionate champion of digital marketing and new business development across products, solutions, and services management. He brings thought leadership expertise in critical networks, Industry 4.0, digital transformation, IoT, smart grid, AI, and analytics. Utilizing his experience building marketing and sales strategy, defining business goals, developing teams, executing channel initiatives, and driving profitable growth, Rahul helps Nokia effectively market its critical network solutions to its customers, prospects, and partners around the globe.

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