Microwave radio choices
There’s no one-size-fits-all in microwave. Each radio architecture comes with tradeoffs, so you need to weigh the choices in each segment of the network to get the right product mix for your business. To determine your best solution, first establish your requirements from a capacity, reliability, operational, and cost perspective. Then choose the right product. Microwave’s major technologies include the following.
In this configuration, the transmit RFU and data connection interfaces are housed in an equipment room or shelter. The antenna is usually connected via an elliptical waveguide. This configuration has the highest upfront cost, but the lowest cost of ownership. All indoor radios do not have the same weight and size limitations that externally mounted RFUs have, so they can be run at higher transmission power levels. Aviat’s transmit power is typically high enough to overcome waveguide and insertion losses and deliver more power at the antenna port than external units.
In a split-mount configuration, data connection interfaces are located inside the room, shelter, or cabinet at the base of the tower. With no waveguide connection, it’s the most-used configuration for frequencies greater than 11 GHz. Prefer this solution where there is little or no space indoors to deploy your equipment. Eliminating the waveguide often reduces installation cost and time, and this configuration has a lower mean time to repair, since IF electronics are housed indoors.
All-outdoor radios are versatile, since they can be deployed in many traditional microwave bands. Equipment requirements are much lower, so they offer reduced CAPEX and installation costs. These radios can achieve high capacity by using single/dual modem-transceiver and multiple channels. Data can be carried over an electrical or fiber optic cable.
Matching equipment to the solution
Here are some general guidelines to help you determine where each radio works best.
- Most all 6-11 GHz links
- Best for reliability, services, and operations
- Any application, such as rural, critical traffic, LMR, or LTE
- Exceptions: locations with no place for indoor equipment or operators with CAPEX constraints
- CAPEX-sensitive or very short haul 6-11 GHz links—may sacrifice reliability or ease of operations
- High-reliability or multi-directional 18-23 GHz links
- Any band where no indoor space exists, such as pole mount or building tops where no shelter is possible
- Cost-sensitive 18-23 GHz links (may be sacrificing reliability or ease of operations)
- Non multi-directional edge sites with no TDM
As an operator, your choices are based on your business, your technical requirements, and your service offerings. Critical parameters include:
- New services: Carrier Ethernet and advanced IP/MPLS connectivity enable deployment of new services to end customers.
- Capacity: End users continue to exert pressure for 4G (and soon 5G) capacity and services.
- Total cost of ownership: Industries that provide services to critical infrastructure and public safety tend to be more tolerant to upfront costs. Some cellular companies try to minimize upfront costs.
- Operations management: Simplified, automated deployment and operation mean lower and more predictable operational expenses.
- Mean time to repair: Low MTTR has a direct positive impact on operating costs.
- Redundancy and resiliency: Mission-critical networks are likely to include greater redundancy. Operators with upfront cost constraints are more open to virtual protection and less physical redundancy.
Of course, different market segments have different priorities. Some prioritize cost over redundancy. Others prioritize new services.
Download our white paper to see top requirements and applications for each microwave radio architecture in verticals such as service providers, utilities and state/local government.
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