Posted by: Aviat Networks | September 30, 2016

Tyranny of Distance: MIMP Gets Remote Aussies Online with Microwave

In Australia, the federal government has had an ambitious plan to connect all citizens to a national broadband network (NBN). However, in some of the more remote parts of the country, of which there are more than a few, the incumbent provider, Telstra, cannot deliver that subscriber experience. This leaves it to alternative access providers to fill the gap.

One of these providers, Aviat partner MIMP Connecting Solutions, decided to use Aviat Networks microwave solutions to reach remote customers beyond the NBN fiber footprint. This is important as many vulnerable subscribers need to be connected to doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals for help. Literally, this can be a matter of life or death.

In reality, the more routine day-to-day requirements of using wifi to be able to make a phone call, play videos and stream music remain priorities, too. Microwave radio provides an affordable method to extend the benefits of the wireless broadband internet into the bush, according to Allan Aitchison, MIMP telecommunications expert.

In this YouTube video, Aitchison describes how MIMP uses Aviat microwave networking technology to put remote customers online, which wireline incumbents cannot do even with fiber. In the end, MIMP customers save money and make their lives safer.

Posted by: Aviat Networks | September 23, 2016

How an Integrated Microwave-IP/MPLS Solution Reduces Latency

The point of this post is to determine the amount of latency reduction possible with a one box integrated microwave router solution when compared to a two-box (separate router + microwave) offering. By how much does the one box solution improve latency?

Latency is important to all network operators. The lower the end-to-end delay the better it is for all types of applications.

For example latency is critically important to mobile network operators (MNOs) for LTE Advanced features like coordinated multi-point (COMP) and MIMO, which require extremely tight latency. CRAN architectures are also demanding tighter latency from the backhaul.

In addition, for latency sensitive applications like Teleprotection, SCADA and simulcast in private markets such as public safety, utilities and the federal government will greatly benefit from lower latency network performance. For other customers, lower latency is critical for synchronization and HD video transport.

And latency also impacts connectivity requirements for the emerging Internet of Things (IoT).

Fortunately, the recently introduced CTR microwave router, which integrates IP/MPLS packet handling and microwave radio functionality into one device can help all operators. By having these capabilities together in one box, the CTR microwave router can decrease latency by up to 43 percent compared to a separate IP router and microwave radio configuration. With this improved response time carriers can deliver a superior user experience (UX).

According to the experts, users expect a latency delay of no more than 100 milliseconds on 4G devices. However, as wireless networks move toward 5G, users’ expectations for application response time will drop drastically on the order of 10x to less than 10 milliseconds. Let’s look at this a bit more in-depth.

Latency in Packet Networks

Latency is the sum of many factors such as:

  • Propagation delay
  • Serialization delay
  • Routing and switching
  • Queuing and buffering

For every packet microwave backhaul connection, an IP router processes the IP packets and forwards them. At each step, the router adds latency. And this is in addition to latency from switches and microwave radio units that packets accumulate. Hybrid networks that contain discrete IP routers and microwave radios necessarily have to endure this latency. In-the-lab results can tell us just how much latency is involved.

Hybrid Microwave Backhaul Latency

To explain the impact latency has on hybrid microwave network backhaul, let’s consider a configuration based on an MPLS L3VPN. Aviat Networks conducted measurements in its laboratory of just such an MPLS L3VPN microwave backhaul configuration.

In this hybrid scenario the MPLS L3VPN is created between the edge routers (Figure 1). The microwave links provide a Layer 2 segment between adjacent routers and do not participate in IP routing or MPLS label switching.

figure-1-hybrid-backhaul-networks-with-discrete-routers-have-high-latency

Figure 1: L3VPN latency test topology for a hybrid network (click to enlarge)

Overall, the latency testing for the hybrid microwave network in Figure 1 produced the following results when measuring different size IP packets:

  • 64-byte packets: 560 microseconds average latency
  • 500-byte packets: 665 microseconds average latency
  • 1500-byte packets: 903 microseconds average latency

Converged Microwave Backhaul Latency

In a converged microwave backhaul scenario the third party routers are removed and an MPLS L3VPN is created between edge CTR microwave routers. In this configuration the microwave routers perform IP routing and MPLS label switching (Figure 2).

figure-2-converged-microwave-router-backhaul-networks-have-low-latency

Figure 2: L3VPN latency test topology for a converged network (click to enlarge)

When conducting latency testing on the converged microwave network featured in Figure 2 lower latency numbers were achieved in contrast to the hybrid network:

  • 64-byte packets: 320 microseconds average latency
  • 500-byte packets: 418 microseconds average latency
  • 1500-byte packets: 623 microseconds average latency

Bottom Line Results

Comparing the Aviat laboratory results for IP/MPLS functionalities on the hybrid network (Figure 1) and converged network (Figure 2) gives us the following bottom line latency improvements:

  • For 64-byte packets, latency is decreased by 42.8 percent
  • For 500-byte packets, latency is decreased by 37.1 percent
  • For 1500-byte packets, latency is decreased by 31 percent

Conclusively, you can see that evolving microwave backhaul toward a converged model will derive significant positive impacts on latency. And with 4G LTE and the oncoming 5G requirements for short app response times, MNOs and other network operators will be able to deliver on the heightened UX expectations.

If you’d like to talk to someone about reducing your latency by up to 43 percent, please click here.

Posted by: Aviat Networks | September 7, 2016

8 Benefits of Converging Microwave and IP Router Functionality

CTR offers up to 43 percent latency reduction compared to other microwave solutions.For a couple years, Aviat Networks has been talking about the benefits of a converged system encompassing the functionality of microwave radios and IP routers to result in a microwave router. Simply known as the Aviat CTR platform, this next-generation microwave router delivers eight key benefits that make designing and implementing a modern backhaul network easier and more cost effective than ever:

  1. One QoS configuration policy and IP management platform
  2. 50 percent lower installation costs than typical backhaul configurations
  3. 50 percent decreased power consumption
  4. 30 percent reduction in network administration overhead
  5. Up to 43 percent reduction in latency
  6. Layer 3 awareness (via adaptive media awareness)
  7. Better performance and fault recovery than standard microwave radios
  8. Integrated Power over Ethernet (PoE) capability

With all these robust benefits, the Aviat CTR platform can enable a new flat network architecture for VPN services for enterprise, government and mobile. All of this on one network. For a closer look, click on the infographic. Or for further information, please contact us.

ctr-infographic-600wide_v5

When using IRU 600 EHP extra high power radios, microwave backhaul networks can use fewer large antennas and more small antennas.

When using IRU 600 EHP extra high power radios, microwave backhaul networks can use fewer large antennas and more small antennas.

When designing microwave networks, backhaul engineers have a wide variety of techniques at their disposal. One method that remains highly effective is Space Diversity (SD). With SD, two antennas separated by some distance can increase the availability of a link from something less than 99.999 percent to in excess of five-nines uptime. However, the introduction of a second parabolic antenna on a microwave path poses a substantial increase in the capital expenditure (capex) budget.

In some situations where SD would be an option, an extra high power (EHP) radio can provide an alternative solution and at the same time reduce capex. In these cases, EHP radios are able to cut through conditions that lead to fading with the application of greater system gain (i.e., >39 dBm).

Most Applicable to Non-Reflective Paths
EHP radios can have the largest effect on reducing the need for SD in areas where sources of signal reflection from water are below normal, such as elevated regions with mountains and hilly terrain. For example, in a recent project, not only was Aviat Networks able to design a replacement microwave network whose deployment contains many mountainous paths but also reduce the overall number of antennas—of which a proportion were diversity antennas in SD links—by almost 10 percent.

Even more impressive, the number of large 8-foot diameter antennas, which can heavily impact capex in terms of their own outlay as well as tower reinforcements, was decreased by 42 percent. In addition, the more common 6-foot antenna count in the network came in 35 percent below the network predecessor’s design. This last reduction has much meaning in the context of this network because 31 percent of all antennas in the network are 6-foot dishes.

Lower Capex
Based on total reduction in number of antennas in this mountainous backhaul network, the capex attributable to antennas was lowered by an astounding 56 percent. And this is only one figure to calculate in evaluating the money savings generated by using EHP radios in this network. Associated costs such as shipping will also be lower for antennas when EHP radios remain involved. Because more and larger antennas were needed in the predecessor design, the shipping costs tended to be out of proportion as they take up more dead space that must be charged for than the smaller antennas that will be used with EHP radios. For example:

  • There are fixed unit costs to ship a single antenna
  • There’s an economy of scale linked to filling a truck. Typically, discounts range between 5 to 20 percent depending on volume
  • As antennas get bigger, the economy of scale goes down—you can only put two 10-foot antennas on a truck—no discount there. Maybe a 5 percent discount with 8-foot antennas and so forth

Something to Think About
Reduction in numbers of required antennas is but one possible benefit of using EHP radios in a microwave backhaul network. And, of course, any network can benefit, whether mobile operator or private network. You can find more benefits of using EHP radios on Aviat’s IRU 600 EHP fact sheet.

Posted by: Aviat Networks | June 23, 2016

4 Steps to Make Cisco Routers Microwave Bandwidth Aware

Cisco-Routers-Powerful-but-Microware-Ignorant-Aviat-Networks-Makes-them-Smarter

Cisco routers. Powerful but microwave ignorant. Let Aviat Networks help make your Layer 2 connections microwave aware. Photo credit: Jemimus via Foter.com / CC BY

Cisco routers remain the backbone of internet connections worldwide. Deep in the heart of networks, core routers perform the essential plumbing of the web. Further out on the edges, access routers provide connectivity for mobile devices via microwave radios (many of which are Eclipse radios from Aviat Networks). Generally, routers assume a full 1 Gbps bandwidth capability between Layer 2 connections provided by microwave radios.

However, modulation and channel size selections can vary the actual bandwidth between 1 Mbps and 1000 Mbps (i.e., 1 Gbps). This can also happen when Adaptive Coding Modulation (ACM) is activated on a point-to-point microwave link and the link’s bandwidth varies based on propagation conditions. If congestion occurs on the link, the router cannot quickly prioritize traffic nor select the optimal path, resulting in possible “black holing” of critical traffic.

If the router is unaware of the microwave link capacity it cannot prioritize important traffic in case of congestion nor can it select the optimal path when multiple paths are available. If you have Cisco routers in your network—and who doesn’t—you should watch this short YouTube video that Hadi Choueiry, Aviat IP network solutions architect, created to demonstrate how you too can make your Cisco routers microwave bandwidth aware.

Or if you’d rather read all about the four steps of how to actually configure it yourself, download this white paper. Then you can set up your Cisco routers to become aware of the bandwidth available to them on Eclipse radios at your leisure. Perfect summer reading material for the IP expert on vacation!

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