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!

Posted by: Aviat Networks | May 31, 2016

Getting it Done! Aviat & Australia Public Safety Networks

Photo credit: Sidneiensis via Foter.com / CC BY

Photo credit: Sidneiensis via Foter.com / CC BY

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.”

Overall, Eclipse radio links deliver mission-critical microwave backhaul for many government agencies in Australia across multiple millions of square kilometers with links covering hundreds of thousands of kilometers. Working through a solid relationship with Motorola Australia, these long backhaul networks connect some of the most remote and rural outposts in Australia to emergency services networks for the first time.

More than 5,000 public safety personnel, some in the most remote and rural areas, are served by integrated emergency services networks enabling them to be seamlessly connected across agencies and allowing them to better fight crime and fires, respond to emergencies and save lives all over Australia.

Now Aviat has begun to deploy its CTR microwave routers, which integrate the functionality of a microwave radio with that of an IP router, in the Australian public safety market. The potential is even greater than that of the Eclipse radio.

“We are well seasoned to work in this market with huge deployments globally,” says Brendan Cochrane, Australia country manager, Aviat Networks. “Why Aviat for Public Safety? It is a about ‘-able’ —Super Reliable, Projectable, Manageable, Expandable, Local Support Is Always Available.”

Some key features are a must for public safety networks and upgrades of older networks. A new deployment is quite different from an upgrade because with an upgrade you need to bring the new network up side-by-side with the old network. This brings huge changes and often requires products that offer flexibility and key features to help make this easy and possible. Aviat ticks all the boxes!

Posted by: Aviat Networks | May 20, 2016

Quantifying the Benefits of Extra High Power Radios

IRU-600-EHP-Radios-Enable-Use-of-Cheap-Small-Antennas-Aviat-Blog

Figure 1: 8-foot antenna (left) clearly much bulkier than a 3-foot antenna (right in carton). Basketball included to indicate relative scale.

You may have noticed we’ve been talking a lot lately about our new 39dBm EHP radio (the most powerful digital microwave radio ever built by the way). We’ve been getting a phenomenal response to this product mostly because of the real business benefits it delivers…benefits largely related to the antenna.

As a rule of thumb in microwave backhaul, the more powerful the radio (i.e., system gain) the smaller the antenna has to be (i.e., overall diameter). More than any other factor, smaller antennas drastically lower the total cost of ownership for microwave.

For example an extremely large 8-foot microwave antenna requires special crating and heavy-duty lifting machinery because of its bulk and unwieldy properties. In contrast, a 3-foot antenna can be installed by one or two staff working with the dish by hand. You can get a real appreciation of the differences between the two sizes of antennas in the photo in this blog—click the picture to zoom in. Notice the dish scales in relation to a Golden State Warriors NBA Champions, Stephen Curry-autographed basketball—go Dubs!

At more than 1000 lbs dead weight, an 8-foot microwave antenna outweighs its 68-lb, 3-foot counterpart by a difference of more than 1300 percent! Whereas a 3-foot antenna could be transported to a site using a regular pickup, an 8-foot antenna would necessitate a super-duty truck. And depending on the existing infrastructure, the roadway could need an upgrade before moving the laden transport to the site—dare we even say helicopter. Overall, a larger antenna equates to a 38 percent higher installation cost.

Proof-That-Big-Antennas-are-a-Waste-of-Money

Figure 2: Table of significant statistical differences between 8-foot and 3-foot antennas. Click to read. Cost information blacked out due to competitive reasons. Sign up for the free white paper to access all information unredacted.

In addition, shipping costs for 8-foot antennas are much higher than for 3-foot antennas, especially when you consider them on a per-link basis (i.e., two radios). For example, if you were a leading mobile provider in Chicago or another close-by Midwestern city and Aviat Networks had to ship antennas to you from our San Antonio factory acceptance testing (FAT) center—the only FAT capability offered by any microwave specialist—it would cost you 70 percent more to receive an 8-foot antenna than a 3-foot antenna.

Oh, and did we forget to mention that the original list price on an 8-foot antenna is 77 percent higher than that for a 3-foot antenna?

These are just the minor expenses. If you own your tower, structural enhancements to support weight and wind loading of large dishes can be astronomical. If you lease the tower, leasing fees are proportional to antenna diameter and are very expensive ($100/month/foot of diameter).

All these are just some of the basic antenna contrasts that are easily discernible when you decide to use an extra high power microwave radio instead of a standard power radio. While all these advantages are plain to see, many others exist. For a full breakdown of cost savings of using small antennas with extra high power radios click here to sign up for our new white paper on the topic.

Posted by: Aviat Networks | April 30, 2016

Why we Created AviatCloud

Aviat Networks created AviatCloud to simplify the deployment and operation of microwave backhaul networks.

Photo credit: incredibleguy via Foter.com / CC BY

Through various innovations, wireless transport technology has consistently surpassed capacity demands through 2G, 3G and 4G transitions and remains on trajectory to continue in a 5G network. Reliability of wireless backhaul products has never been better, and costs continue to decline especially relative to fiber-based options. From a product point of view, many good and reliable options exist that cover all frequency bands and form factors to solve the problem of backhaul, small cell and other sub-applications.

Primary backhaul challenges not product related
While products remain critical, today’s primary challenges for wireless transport are not product-related. Prevailing issues lie in cost and complexity associated with operational activities including:

  • Acquiring sites
  • Surveying paths
  • Planning networks
  • Designing RF links
  • Licensing and coordinating spectrum
  • Managing installation (e.g., erecting towers, climbing them, hanging antennas)
  • Documenting processes
  • Troubleshooting onsite or via remote facility
  • Growing networks and adding capacity
  • Maintaining and managing networks on an ongoing basis
  • Delivering dynamic new services

Four operational obstacles of backhaul
In reality, technology does not constitute the main challenge for the deployment of wireless transmission. Operational issues remain the chief obstacles, which will only get worse—much worse. There are four reasons for this:

  1. Rollout of 5G and small cells. Cell site numbers project to increase six fold or greater, amplifying operational challenges even more. If wireless connectivity will scale to meet 5G projections, the total cost of ownership (TCO) must decrease. With declining hardware prices, operational expenses could go from 70 percent of TCO to 90 percent unless processes simplify
  1. Declining expertise. Most operators have skeleton crews dealing with transmission as they reduce staff, outsource and retire skilled workers. Given plans for 5G, with reduced staff and expertise operators will struggle to meet growing workload and must find ways to do more with less
  1. New service delivery requirements. As transport networks evolve to IP/MPLS and SDN, wireless transport will need to play an increasing role in service delivery. Today’s world of complex, highly manual service delivery will need to evolve and wireless transport networks will need to integrate with service delivery automation solutions to lower operational costs of turning up and enhancing new services
  1. Lack of automation, old processes. Old and non-integrated tools and processes cause countless errors resulting in site revisits, cost overruns, expensive project delays and slow service turn-up. What’s worse, present workflows, tools and processes will not scale to meet 5G and small cell deployment challenges—especially with a less technical and experienced workforce

Backhaul industry lacks integrated, purpose-built solutions
The backhaul industry lacks integrated, purpose-built solutions to deal effectively with the growing operational complexity of wireless transport networks. That’s why we created AviatCloud.

As a software applications platform, AviatCloud automates and virtualizes networks and their operations with the ultimate goal of simplifying wireless transport. With custom-built applications to automate and virtualize various aspects of microwave design, deployment, management and service delivery, and by tying all the data together in one place, AviatCloud enables operators to spend less time managing data and more time enhancing their networks and improving customers’ experience. The data is leveraged on the back end across all applications to ensure seamless end-to-end processes and tools for the automation of microwave networks.

The first user of these capabilities will be Aviat Networks. We are putting these new capabilities to work across our various service components to optimize and grow our services business and strengthen our lead as the industry’s specialist provider of turnkey microwave solutions.

Clearly, there’s a huge opportunity to simplify wireless transport networks. However, beyond this, unless the industry addresses the operational issues associated with wireless connectivity, mobile operators will struggle to implement 5G networks in the future. We envisage AviatCloud as a platform that will massively improve the TCO associated with microwave networks going into the next decade.

AviatCloud is an evolving platform, and we welcome your feedback as we continue to roll out new software applications with goal of simplifying microwave.

Gary Croke
Sr. Dir. Marketing & Strategy
Aviat Networks

Posted by: Aviat Networks | March 14, 2016

Sprint Opts for Microwave Radio over Fiber for Backhaul

Sprint-opts-for-microwave-over-fiber-in-backhaul-Aviat-Networks-March-10-2016In late January and into February 2016, a big tumult ensued when Sprint announced that it would begin to move its mobile backhaul strategy from one based on leased fiber to another based on owned microwave radio. The story first ran in technology news site Re/code and quickly got reposted with additional commentary by FierceWireless, Wireless Week and others, and which was reiterated this week in RCR Wireless.

While the breathtaking headlines about reducing costs by $1 billion caught most people’s attention—primarily through reducing tower leasing costs and not using competitors’ networks—lower down in the copy came a potent reminder from Sprint about the economic benefits of microwave radio. It also highlighted the fact that backhaul has entered a transitional period (see article end for more on that).

Most of that $1 billion that Sprint seeks to save comes by way of moving away from AT&T and Verizon fiber backhaul networks. You might think that Sprint would build its own fiber network instead. But that would take too long and still have an exorbitant price tag associated with it. It’s a function of both out-of-pocket capital costs and embedded lost opportunity costs. Bottom line: laying fiber connections is expensive and slow. Putting up a network of high-speed, broadband microwave relay towers is quicker and easier.

Fiber cost per mile: high in the country, higher in the city

As everyone already knows and previously mentioned here, fiber optic technology has long enjoyed a lofty price tag with costs coming in at $30,000 to $70,000 per mile for rural communities depending on topography, climate and other general deployment conditions. But if you consider the costs for fiber backhaul in the urban cores of cities, the cost per mile can become astronomical with total cost per mile topping out at a $250,000 per mile, historically.

Granted, like other technologies, the cost of fiber has come down since those halcyon days when DWDM first appeared. But even today, for equipment and fiber alone the projected 2016 urban backhaul cost per mile baselines at $50,000 according to an industry filing with the California ISO* (California Independent System Operator). However, this figure does not include costs for installing fiber in underground conduits. Those costs need to be calculated on a per project basis. But in a separate industry filing* it states that total urban fiber backhaul cost per mile ranges from $99,000 to $134,000 (*Excel spreadsheet opens in separate window).

Backhaul in transition

Even while the perennial debate about microwave vs. fiber rages on, the backhaul market has undergone change and transition. In the small cell space for urban settings, E-band radios have taken root for backhaul. For example, it is being considered for microcells, educational institutions and large enterprise campuses. This white paper explores these urban backhaul ideas more in-depth.

Others have proposed exotic solutions such as bonding E-band and traditional microwave radios to expand capacity and ensure transmission distance. That’s an interesting proposal but something that would need closer investigation and verification as to its feasibility.

Many more have talked about Software Defined Networking (SDN) for network forwarding and control functions in the backhaul. However, SDN remains a work in progress. For example, one industry research survey found that only about 30 percent of operators would deploy SDN by 2018 or later with a shade over 60 percent of operators saying SDN deployment was only in the evaluation stage or that they were unclear about the timing.

Surely, SDN will exist in the backhaul at some point, but wireless network operators need to leverage existing equipment and protocols now to get to that future state. Inasmuch, IP/MPLS can provide the solutions to today’s backhaul challenges as well as provide a transitional technology for graceful migration to SDN.

Impetus for IP/MPLS

Truly, IP/MPLS remains the keystone technology offering for mobile backhaul, ready and available for backhaul-to-access applications. Mobile cell sites are transitioning from simple base stations for voice and low-speed mobile data access to multi-functional hubs for delivery of new services, multimedia-rich content and broadband data access.

IP/MPLS provides backhaul networks the ability to handle data with particular characteristics in a smart manner—such as video over low latency routes—and can therefore deliver a wide variety of services from multi-functional hubs very efficiently. This white paper can tell you more about the case for more intelligent Layer 3 functionality at the cell site.

-Derek Handova
Corporate Marketing
Aviat Networks

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