Opt-in or opt-out of the FirstNet plan is the biggest decision states will make about public safety in the coming years. Costs are critical, but states must ensure a sound architecture for mission critical communications. Whatever the opt-in/out decision, the advantages of microwave will play a huge part in the FirstNet network, and states will do well to follow these four recommendations:Read More
Aviat: The American Microwave Company and The Trusted Choice for State-Wide Microwave Networks
Aviat is the #1 provider of microwave and microwave routing systems to state/local government networks nationwide with 25 of 50 state-wide networks running Aviat equipment.Read More
This large western US state had a longtime relationship with a microwave radio vendor and would have continued buying from them if their radios and support evolved with the State’s needs. However, over time its needs changed and it had to have more capabilities from its communications network. But it did not want to unnecessarily build new sites and erect costly new towers.Read More
The public safety market has relied for many years on Aviat Networks to be a supplier of mission-critical microwave backhaul equipment. For example, since the introduction of the Eclipse microwave radio a few years ago, it has been received very successfully in the Australia public safety market. In the last five years, Aviat has sold and deployed thousands of radios (i.e., TRs) in the public safety and life critical radio ecosystem.
“The cutting-edge Gigabit Ethernet and IP capabilities of Eclipse were critical for Australia government agencies,” says Raj Kumar, vice president, sales and services, Asia Pacific, Aviat Networks. “As radio sites rolled out across Australia, Eclipse has enabled efficient deployment of multiple radio carriers in a single chassis—a mission-critical advantage for the simulcast trunking sites.”Read More
U.S. based state and local government backhaul buyers face a dilemma. Their microwave networks require continuous upgrades—now with the expectation that they become broadband capable—but their funding apparatus remains stagnant or even atrophies under fiscal pressures from citizens and policymakers. How can they obtain the next generation of wireless backhaul equipment vital to public safety and other purposes while doing so on a reality-based budget? The answer lies partly in an ongoing program that Aviat Networks can offer its government customers.Read More
In the last few weeks, the future prospects of small cell antennas got brighter and shrank at the same time. AT&T and T-Mobile both filed comments with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in support of an industry-wide waiver of rules against flat-panel antennas for backhaul radios in the 70-80GHz bands. Currently, out-of-date FCC regulations about antenna radiation patterns hold back development and deployment of this type of equipment that urban dwellers will find acceptable in big city cores.
The current rules effectively call for the use of parabolic antennas that will be unsightly and would violate the aesthetics considerations and zoning regulations in many city core locations—precisely the type of environment that 70-80GHz radios exist to service. While the FCC regulations seem to necessitate parabolic antennas to keep radio beams focused and from interfering with equipment in the vicinity that uses the same wavelengths, mobile subscribers prefer more visually friendly solutions.
How to get from here to there
For the last few years, Aviat Networks has been working with the Fixed Wireless Communications Coalition and others to get the FCC to update its regulations in the 70-80GHz bands. The problem: when the FCC promulgated these rules, the idea had never occurred to anyone that these bands would ever service small cell applications. And the applications that the FCC’s 70-80GHz rules were designed to support never materialized, with only 5,500 links registered in this spectrum since 2005, according to T-Mobile.
However, with this breakthrough in support from Tier 1 operators like AT&T and T-Mobile, the FCC should feel reassured that granting the waiver to the antenna rules for 70-80GHz bands is in the best interest of all the wireless industry service providers. And with OEMs in addition to Aviat asking for the waiver, no specific vendor will be favored. We urge other wireless service providers, communications equipment OEMs, subscribers and anyone else interested in moving forward as fast as the technology can go to also contact the FCC about granting this industry-wide waiver.
In the meantime, to learn more about urbanized small cell backhaul in the 70-80GHz bands, download this white paper.Read More
If you pay much attention to the mobile backhaul space, you may have noticed a big press launch this week by Ericsson and Cisco for a new partnership between the two tech giants. Both vendors will partner in the mobile backhaul space reselling each other’s solutions.
Analysts inside and outside the backhaul space have been hot to lodge their points of view on this combination. But as in William Shakespeare’s overused quote about “the sound and the fury” it might signify nothing. OK, that’s a bit of an overstatement, but there’s less here than meets the eye.
Don’t let the facts get in the way of a good ‘story’
Let’s take a look at the facts, as commonly understood in the industry. While Cisco is the 800 lb. gorilla in the IP networking room, when it comes to cell site routers it’s less than a 90 lb. weakling for microwave backhaul. Truly, Ericsson ranks high among microwave backhaul vendors, but its IP routers are not top-shelf offerings and leave much to be desired. You may think, well that was the point of the announcement: for Cisco and Ericsson to bolster each other’s relative portfolio failings by teaming up.
However, just as two wrongs do not make a right, a duo of less-than-optimal products cannot have the makings of a No. 1 contender. The shortcomings of both vendors’ kit are still present. Customers do gain the advantage of having one throat to choke, but they will just be choking the same throat twice as often.
Tried-and-tired method of microwave and IP
The underlying tried-and-tired method of using a different microwave radio and IP router in conjunction to solve Layer 3 issues in microwave backhaul still remains: individual devices living separate operational lives. Like a divorced couple staying in the same house, they may talk to each other when they must, but they don’t really like to. So, too, do microwave radios and IP routers have the ability to communicate, but they’re not designed to interact and honestly they’re not very good at it.
Which brings us to the inspiration for the integrated microwave router—the CTR 8000 platform from Aviat Networks. As we’ve made the case before, CTR 8000 microwave routers have been engineered from the ground up to function natively in both the microwave and IP communications worlds. The two technologies function seamlessly within one device. And existing as one piece of gear, a microwave router is easier to deploy and manage in the mobile backhaul network than a pair of randomly cobbled together radio and networking boxes.
In addition, with Aviat’s coded-for-microwave-networking software, ProVision, the leading network management system, admins at Network Operation Centers (NOCs) have full monitoring and management capability. They can see with minimal latency just how effectively microwave and IP activities are being carried out by CTR.
To find out more about the family of CTR 8000 microwave routers, we invite you to see our video that explains the benefits in crystalline detail.
The microwave radio business: a small community in a niche market where everybody tends to know each other. However, if your involvement in the microwave backhaul space goes back any length of time, no doubt you recognize the outside influence that industry analyst firms play within the industry. The analysts at Heavy Reading, Sky Light Research, Infonetics and a handful of others play a prominent role in shaping opinions about microwave radio solutions providers as well as the solutions themselves.
Reports from these analyst research firms remain very important even in a tight-knit place like microwave backhaul. They can make or break the business environment for microwave vendors for months—or years—at a time. For example, Infonetics issued its latest “Microwave Strategies and Vendor Leadership” survey results at the end of June. In this survey, 23 operators—from incumbent to competitive to pure mobile—laid bare their perceptions of not only the dedicated microwave specialist solution providers but also the telecom generalists who dabble in wireless backhaul infrastructure as an afterthought.
What emerged captivates the collective commercial consciousness.
Representing 33 percent of all capital telecom expenditures made worldwide in 2014, the 23 operators polled by Infonetics revealed just what microwave-oriented issues interest them ranked in order from most important to least significant. For 2015, the top five considerations in microwave equipment for the operators in descending order are:
Among all the microwave specialists, Aviat placed first in product reliability, service and support and management solutions. Aviat also placed first in four other categories.
These other categories that also made the list somewhat lower down in Infonetics’ survey have much importance for operators but had their presence muted due to survey methodology, perhaps. For example, solution breadth and technology innovation did not make the top five but without them the operators’ very strong desires for sophisticated and robust microwave solution features such as cross polarization (83 percent rated very important) and high system gain (78 percent rated very important) could not reach fulfillment.
Infonetics did not survey how operators perceive solution providers on specific product features, but objectively Aviat leads not just the microwave only providers but all microwave providers with its extra high power Eclipse IRU 600 EHP +39 dBm radio and across the board support for XPIC (i.e., cross-polarization interference cancellation) on a number of products.
Full disclosure: Aviat also rated número uno for solution breadth and technology innovation among all microwave specialists.
Overall, Aviat Networks was rated No. 1 by Infonetics’ operator survey respondents.Read More
Back in April the telecom experts over at CommLawBlog weighed in on a simmering issue in the 70-80GHz radio space. Since October 2012, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has mulled over a motion by the Fixed Wireless Communications Coalition (FWCC) to relax rules for flat panel antennas as well as a 2013 waiver to the existing rules while it considers a new rulemaking.
Lack of taking any action on any of these filings has left the backhaul industry in a quandary. With viable radio solutions ready to deploy in the 70-80 GHz frequency ranges, the only holdup has been a technical requirement that FCC rules place on the radiation pattern of the very thinnest of flat panel antennas. These rules were originally formulated for an era where microwave radios were used for links that spanned 1 to 5 kilometers.
In the new urban reality for small cells, the distances between mobile base stations will be measured in hundreds of meters. At these lengths, the radiation patterns of flat panel antennas will not materially increase interference, to paraphrase language the FCC itself has used previously when approving use of smaller antennas in the 6, 18 and 23 GHz bands, circa 2012.
With small cell wireless in close-in city settings, both mobile and non-mobile subscribers have a heightened sense of awareness, and they will take extra notice of backhaul radios with prominent parabolic dishes that stick out like sore thumbs. With their figurative and literal low profiles, flat panel antennas provide the critical missing link in ameliorating the aesthetics concerns that many feel toward old, bulky microwave installs. While these hulking communications devices were fine on towers at long haul sites way out by the interstate freeway or high atop skyscrapers in the heart of the business district, when they are situated on the side of a residential building the modern-day urbanite will not tolerate these telecom equipment eyesores.
In reality, there is very little for the FCC to decide upon. While the telecom regulator here in the United States has its own rules, regulators in much of the rest of the world use the ETSI standards. Actually, the standard in effect is of little consequence. The point of fact is that the flat panel antennas in question before the FCC have been approved for use in all these ETSI countries without any significant drawbacks being reported in nearly three years of use. Even the FCC’s companion agency to the north, Industry Canada, has given tentative go-ahead to flat panel antennas for use with 70-80GHz backhaul radios, with the implicit understanding that they will receive formal approval if no unforeseen snags occur in final rule drafting.
So while the rest of the small cell community enjoys a flat panel world, the U.S. is walking a tightrope of red tape in hopes that some decision is made—soon.
Full disclosure: Aviat Networks is the filer of the 2013 waiver request and is a member of the Fixed Wireless Communications Coalition. Aviat Networks is legally represented by Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth, PLC, the host of CommLawBlog.Read More