What’s The Difference between Microwave Path Availability & Error Performance?

This white paper was extremely popular when we featured it in our eNews newsletter recently. Now it’s time to share it with a wider audience.

It talks about how there are several considerations when establishing realistic outage or reliability objectives for and how the effects of long-term and short-term outages differ when it comes to microwave path engineering.

What is Asymmetrical Link Operation?

Introduction
Last year one of our microwave competitors introduced a new development for the point-to-point licensed microwave market – asymmetrical link operation. There are some very real challenges with the growth of mobile multimedia that are driving interest in this approach. However there are numerous harsh realities involved in introducing such a ‘radical’ technique into the relatively conservative licensed microwave industry. The myriad of Regulatory studies and approvals that will be needed to enable asymmetric operation to be deployed in existing bands means that it could be years, if ever, before asymmetric links can be deployed in most countries around the world.

Today’s Licensed Microwave Bands are Exclusively Symmetric
In current licensed microwave bands and all commercially available equipment today, transmission is symmetric – i.e., the same capacity and bandwidth in both directions. Frequency bands are arranged for frequency division duplex (FDD) operation, where two identical channels are used for Tx (‘go’) and Rx (‘return’). Asymmetric operation is usually reserved for unlicensed time division duplex (TDD) radios, which use a single channel for both go and return.

Spectrum Borrowing
The proposed Asymmetrical scheme is based upon a concept called ‘Spectrum Borrowing’, where frequency spectrum is taken from the upstream direction of a lower capacity link, and given to the downstream direction of an adjacent higher capacity link.

Before - Symmetrical Microwave Network

A second (but related) proposal has been also tabled to amend the standard channel options from the current 7, 14, 28, 56 MHz to an n*7MHz arrangement (i.e. 7, 14, 21, 28, 35, 42, 49, 56 MHz), which is required to support the asymmetric concept.

Asymmetrical Microwave Network, after Spectrum Borrowing

What is driving the need for this Asymmetry?
The underlying rationale is that in 3G and 4G mobile networks, a majority of the traffic over the network is increasingly web- and video- based, meaning more capacity is needed in the backhaul network in the direction towards the base station, and less in the opposite direction back to the core.

However, while this is true today, new emerging mobile applications such as video chat, video uploading, P2P sharing, and new cloud based services (eg: iCloud), have the potential to change the imbalance between upload and download demand over the longer term. This presents a challenge for the proposed asymmetric implementation, which is fixed in nature, not dynamic. This means that the link has no way to adapt to instantaneous uplink/downlink traffic demand, or to change over time as more uplink capacity is needed. Changing this ratio could prove to be very difficult once an asymmetric link is in place and has been operating for several years.

Regulatory Approval
Making substantial changes in the way that licensed microwave bands are used is not a simple process, since strict regulations and standards at the international and national level have been put in place to ensure that links deployed in these bands are assured to be virtually interference free.

A proposal has now been submitted to the Electronic Communications Committee (ECC), the Regulatory Body responsible for amending the channel plans for the existing frequency bands, a part of the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT), representing 48 countries throughout Europe and Russia. The ECC has agreed to set up a study group to examine the proposal, which is due to report their finding in February 2013.

If the ECC agrees to amend the channel plans to permit asymmetric operation, which may not happen before 2015, the national regulator in each CEPT country will then have to decide whether or not to adopt the recommendations. Further lobbying will also be necessary beyond the CEPT region, for example with the FCC in the USA, to successfully influence regulatory policy in favor of Asymmetrical operation.

A Long Road to (Possible) Adoption
In summary, asymmetrical operation may be a potentially useful technique to improve the efficiency of backhaul networks and frequency utilization. However, introduction of this technique will be extremely difficult within existing congested frequency bands, and will face significant and lengthy regulatory scrutiny and approval before we will see widespread adoption.

Stuart Little
Director of Marketing

What is Mission Critical Microwave?

Public safety agencies with first responder assignments, mobile service providers with national footprints, and utilities companies all have communication networks carrying mission critical applications. These networks require robust, secure and powerful microwave radios.  

So what are the defining characteristics of Mission Critical Microwave?

  1. Hybrid (TDM and IP): Native TDM, native IP. No proprietary emulation or encapsulation.
  2. RF performance: Superior system gain. Adaptive Coding and Modulation.
  3. Reliability: 100+ year proven terminal (1+0) MTBF.
  4. Strong Security: Secure Management to prevent unauthorized access. Secure payload encryption to prevent eaves-dropping.
  5. Bullet Proof Redundancy: Full port, card, system level redundancy. Integrated T1 loop switch (USA).
  6. Physical Design for Usability: Front access, no hidden cables. Compact footprint. Expansion port.

 But delivering Mission Critical Microwave extends far beyond products and deals with the way a company behaves and treats its customers including:

  • A mindset that integrates uncompromised commitment to design and to building the most robust, secure and dependable microwave radios;
  • A culture of innovation to ensure the most innovative new microwave products are being developed to meet the needs of your critical applications;
  • Engineering professionals that are there at your side before, during and after any equipment deployment, to help you at every step of the way;
  • A commitment to customer service and support so that customers can depend on their chosen vendor.

At Aviat Networks, we believe one of the things that sets us apart is our focus on Mission Critical Microwave.  For critical applications it’s extremely important that customers have comprehensive local support at their fingertips. Our products are usually supported locally, so our customers know they’ll have immediate access to professional engineers when they need them, without waiting for out-of-country spares or support, including escalation to Tier III level technical support if needed.

At Aviat Networks, our engineers have been designing and building microwave networks for over 50 years. We are the microwave experts, because it’s all we do.

Gary Croke
Senior Product Marketing Manager

What is Packet Microwave?

“Packet Microwave” radio systems continue to enjoy a lot of coverage and hype within our market. But it helps to understand exactly what packet Microwave is, including its benefits and limitations, and how Packet Microwave compares to Hybrid radios. We created a white paper a while ago to address these issues, and since it is still relevant today we are highlighting it again.

The paper provides a clear definition of this technology and also answers the following questions:

  • What features should you expect from Next Generation microwave radios?
  • How does Packet Microwave it differ from Hybrid microwave transport?
  • Is Packet Microwave ‘All-IP’ or ‘IP-Only’?
  • Do hybrid systems meet the requirements of packet microwave?
  • What is the best approach for operators trying to choose a microwave solution?