• November 30, 2011

Just How Recyclable is My Radio?

Just How Recyclable is My Radio?Aviat Networks is working hard to reduce the landfill associated with its business activities and products and this includes ensuring that, where recycling facilities exist, customer units that have been damaged beyond repair are recycled.  For example, every unit that is scrapped at Aviat’s Hamilton repair and return centre is segregated and sent to a recycling centre called Datec in Kilwinning, Scotland.  Datec was chosen because it is the closest authorised treatment facility and this actively reduces the carbon emissions associated with the transportation of the scrapped units.  They complete some manual disassembly of the units to recover the mechanics of the unit and the electrical boards are shredded.  These shredded boards are then shipped to SiPi Metals in Chicago, United States.  This level of processing ensures the highest possible recovery rate.

SiPi Metals specialises in recovering precious metals from electrical boards and these precious metals then obviously go on to live yet another life.
Recently, Aviat was provided with a detailed report showing the percentage by weight that is recycled.  The average percentage across eleven shipments to Datec is 98.7%.
So the answer is that your microwave link is very recyclable indeed!

Better still, Datec has just started a new initiative that will offset the carbon emissions associated with any transportation involved in the recycling process.  Aviat Networks is moving forward with carbon offsetting for all shipments to Datec and SiPi Metals.  Datec’s carbon offsetting involves planting oak, birch, ash, willow and rowan trees in Scotland in recognition of the fact that Scotland has been heavily deforested and now has only 17% woodland coverage, compared with an average of 32% in mainland Europe. Their fledgling woodland is in a beautiful location in Highland Perthshire.  Aviat Networks may attend a future tree planting event – by train, of course!

Recycling these scrap units ensures that less is sent to landfill, brings materials back into the supply chain for re-use and gives Aviat’s customers the assurance of an environmentally sound end-of-life for these units. Aviat Networks recognizes that the packaging that the unit arrives in is also important to reducing landfill.  The Aviat ODU 600 Outdoor Unit ships to customers in a completely recyclable box.  Aviat Networks is currently working on releasing other environmentally sustainable product packs to reduce landfill in all 150 countries where we have customers.

Ruth French
Product Compliance Manager
Aviat Networks

  • November 24, 2011

How Many Radio Options Are You Juggling?

Juggling Radio OptionsBalancing cost and performance is a tough act for most operators dealing with telecom networking, especially when it comes to equipment procurement.  Getting all the bells and whistles can sometimes result in having a lot of options to choose from.   Often times microwave users have to juggle with a variety of radio options that suit a particular site requirement, for example, having to select between low power or high power radios to meet varying distance or system throughput/gain needs.  Depending on location and licensing requirements, this may even translate into different products types for different frequency bands.  More products result in more spares to maintain in inventory, along with added support and maintenance, inevitably leading to higher costs.

To help address this challenge, Aviat recently unveiled the industry’s first universal outdoor unit (ODU) to support software- defined base and high power modes in a single ODU, with Aviat’s unique Flexible Power Mode (FPM) capability.  FPM allows operators to optimize both cost and performance, minimizing their overall total cost of ownership, by paying for the power they need only when needed.  As a result, operators can procure a single ODU for multiple locations and via a simple software licensing mechanism, remotely adjust the transmit output power to meet the needs of a particular site.  No need to spare multiple radios, nor deal with the operational burden of managing and supporting a variety of product options.

Additionally, operators can apply this flexibility to migrate from legacy low power, low capacity radios to a high power and performance ODU  to support much greater link throughput, without having to change their installed antennas. This minimizes both their CAPEX and OPEX while migrating their network from a legacy low capacity TDM microwave link to a high speed Ethernet one.

So while juggling may still be a well needed skill to survive in Telecom, Aviat is reducing the load when it comes to microwave networking. Click here to find out more.

Errol Binda
Senior Solutions Marketing Manager
Aviat Networks

  • November 20, 2011

Migrating Utility Networks to Smart Grid with Hybrid Radios

What is the best migration strategy for utility networks migrating to Smart Grid using Hybrid Radios? We look at the technology choices that are available to support legacy TDM and IP-based services and investigate the many demands placed on utility networks. Demands include seamless migration, increased capacity, security, and interoperability.

We believe a hybrid network is the best solution and we explain why in this white paper:

  • November 7, 2011

Microwave Capacity: Examining Techniques to Improve Throughput

Microwave telecommunications tower, silhouette...

Recently we’ve kicked off the “Aviat Technology Series” – which are a series of bi-monthly live video streaming webinars for our customers and partners, giving a detailed overview of various technology topics (these are NOT sales pitches…)

Last week, Stuart Little and I gave a live streaming video webinar where we gave an in-depth analysis of all the possible technology options for getting the most out of your microwave system including what’s possible, what’s not, and a realistic look at what you can expect to achieve.  We covered the below topics:
•    Options for maximizing IP microwave capacity
•    Understanding capacity requirements: What’s real and what’s hype
•    The timing/availability of new capacity improvement technology

We reviewed techniques for increasing spectrum, improving spectrum utilization and growing effective utilization using higher layer protocol optimizations.  Technologies covered included: ling aggregation, co-channel dual polarization (CCDP), adaptive coding and modulation, 512/1024QAM, ethernet header compression, payload compression and asymmetrical RF.

We had lots of great questions and a ton of good feedback.  Please email: marketing@aviatnet.com to get the URL for the microwave capacity webinar replay.

Thanks to all who participated and see you in 2 months for the next one when we’ll talk about “Ethernet Protection and Redundancy”

Gary Croke
Product Marketing

  • FCC: New Spectrum for Wireless Backhaul, Relaxed ACM Rules (aviatnetworks.com)
  • What is Packet Microwave? (aviatnetworks.com)
  • October 27, 2011

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.

  • October 18, 2011

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.

What is Asymmetrical Link Operation?

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.

What is Asymmetrical Link Operation?

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

  • October 14, 2011

What is Mission Critical Microwave?

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

  • September 22, 2011

Time for an update on Timing Solutions

Time for an update on Timing Solutions

A network without synchronization is like an orchestra without a conductor.

Our partner, Symmetricom, recently announced the launching of a new segment of their SyncWorld ecosystem for microwave backhaul.  Our hat’s off to them; this is great news for Symmetricom and the new players that are now on board. We boarded this train awhile back.  After a couple years of collaborative testing between us, we first joined the ecosystem when it was initially launched in March at CTIA 2011.  

So, what have we learned since then you might ask?

Well for one, packet based timing is still growing in interest, evaluation, and deployment.  Customers around the world — including mobile operators, state and utility providers and others – are increasingly looking for timing solutions that operate over their Ethernet fiber and microwave network as effectively as their TDM timing solutions do.  A recent Heavy Reading analyst report projects close to 2 million cell sites will have deployed the two most dominant solutions, IEEE 1588v2 and Synchronous Ethernet (SyncE), by 2015.

Secondly, we’ve learned this is by no means the technology race it started out to be.   Remember when Blu-ray and HD–DVD were competing a few years ago?  Or perhaps that has well faded into memory.  Well, I still recall the industry buzz a couple years ago about whether Synchronous Ethernet (SyncE) was going to kill IEEE 1588v2, or vice-versa. Who was going to come out on top?  

Telecom watchers and players are always primed for a tech battle it seems.  Well lo and behold; this battle has become more of an alliance, as of late.  

The dominant discussion today is now about how BOTH these technologies can co-exist, and where best to deploy them in a network, either side by side or in parallel, with one backing up the other.  Hmmm, now that’s an interesting conclusion to a tech battle. 

Case in point, a couple of our customers are planning to deploy both technologies to take advantage of their respective strengths and are in the process of doing just this.  See this whitepaper for more information about synchronization over microwave backhaul or maybe this one for insight into deploying IEEE1588v2 synchronization.

So, with the reality today that packet timing is still growing and that options for packet timing (including TDM, 1588v2, SyncE, and GPS) will continue to co-exist for a long time, it becomes even more critical to seek experience when it comes to planning your sync migration. 

An ecosystem is probably a good place to start, especially with those players that have been at it for some time.

Errol Binda,
Sr. Manager, Solutions Marketing

  • September 19, 2011

Migrating Mobile Networks to IP/MPLS

Typically, a small number of DS1s has been sufficient to service 2G and 2.5G base stations, but with the data capacity needed for advanced 3G and 4G HSPA/LTE applications, new strategies and even new technologies being evaluated.

More network capacity translates to more backhaul capacity. This additional capacity can be more efficiently delivered in IP/Ethernet. Among the many technologies available, IP/Ethernet is consistently recognized as the transport media of choice for expanded backhaul services.

For many operators the introduction of Ethernet will be an overlay on top of existing TDM (voice) network connections given their huge investment in their TDM infrastructure. This will typically involve gradual migration using data overlay, with a decision at some future point to further migrate to an all-packet-based network. The transition phases may well include instances where there is a need to transport Ethernet alongside TDM, or Ethernet over TDM, and do so in a flexible, secure and cost efficient way.

It is clear is that the traffic requirements in carrier networks are becoming more advanced. To support real-time, two-way digital communications, an IP-enabled, communication pipeline must be established.

Our paper reviews the technology choices that are available to support legacy TDM and IP-based services when migrating to IP/MPLS. Network migration should consider the many demands such as seamless migration, increased capacity, cost, and security. Hybrid networks that can transport native TDM alongside native IP are the best solution to successfully tackle the many requirements for mobile carrier networks.

Jennifer Graybeal
Blog Editor

  • August 23, 2011

4 Realities about Rain Fading in Microwave Networks

Rain fading (also referred to as rain attenuation) at the higher microwave frequencies (“millimeter wave” bands)  has been under study for more than 60 years. Much is known about the qualitative aspects, but the problems faced by microwave transmission engineers—who must make quantitative estimates of the probability distribution of the rainfall attenuation for a given frequency band as a function of path length and geographic area—remains a most interesting challenge, albeit now greatly assisted by computer rain models.

A surprising piece of the puzzle is that the total annual rainfall in an area has almost no correlation to the rain attenuation for that area. A day with one inch of rainfall may have a path outage due to a short period of extremely high localized rain cell intensity, while another day of rain may experience little or no path attenuation because rain is spread over a long period of time, or the high intensity rain cell could miss the microwave hop completely.

Over the years, we have learned a lot about deploying millimeter wave microwave hops for our customers:

  • Rain outage approximately doubles in each higher millimeter wave band, e.g. 18 to 23 GHz
  • Rain outage is directly proportional to path length—assuming a constant fade margin for each hop
  • Rain outage in tandem-connected short hops is the same as for a single long hop—if they have the same fade margin
  • Multipath fading in optimally aligned millimeter wave hops does not occur during periods of heavy rainfall, so the entire path fade margin is available to combat rain attenuation fades

More information about assessing rain-induced attenuation is available in our white paper, Rain Fading in Microwave Networks.

  • The influence of rain attenuation (sce.carleton.ca)
  • The World’s Longest All-IP Microwave Link (aviatnetworks.com)
  • Comparison of Multiple Rain Attenuation Models with Three Years of Ka Band Propagation Data Concurrently Taken at Eight Different Locations (spacejournal.ohio.edu)
  • Microwave Wireless Backhaul Case Study: Tooele County (Utah) (aviatnetworks.com)
  • Proposed Rain Attenuation Model Revised From ITU Used For Prediction in Tropical Climates (aprsaf.org)
  • August 5, 2011

Fiber Isn’t Everything: Key Role of Microwave in Mobile Backhaul

Fiber

If fiber is this much of a mess in your wiring closet, just imagine the difficulty of deploying it to your cell site. Image by DrBacchus (Rich Bowen) via Flickr

Last year in August, Aviat Networks presented its argument for why fiber optics technology isn’t everything where backhaul of wireless networks is concerned. If anything, this point has only been reinforced by analyses and anecdotal stories showing that fiber can be overkill for the mobile backhaul requirements of  LTE wireless. Plus, there is the simple truth that fiber cannot be deployed to every cell site due to financial and topological issues. That’s why microwave technology remains the world’s first choice for backhauling wireless networks. So let’s look at last year’s FierceWireless webinar slide presentation and refresh our memories.

These slides present the findings of an Ovum survey of North America’s largest backhaul players to understand their strategies regarding media types used to supply cell-site backhaul.

Ovum found that demand for wireless backhaul equipment in North America will continue to grow as mobile operators upgrade their networks to support higher-speed LTE networking technologies. The most common backhaul strategy for mobile operators in the region comprises leasing services over fiber combined with owning and operating microwave-based facilities. Microwave has a distinct advantage vis-a-vis leased services over the long-term due to the opex associated with leasing.

If you would like to see more, you may register for the on-demand replay of the full webinar. It will also present the latest trends and advancements in microwave transmission technology that support the evolution of mobile backhaul networks to all-IP.

  • Telecom PR: Looking for the “Back Story” in Today’s Wireless Boom (customerthink.com)
  • Backhaul for the Mobile Broadband or Wireless Broadband Network (aviatnetworks.com)
  • Pictures From LTE World Summit (for 4G Wireless) (aviatnetworks.com)
  • Ethernet OAM Meets Demands on Microwave (Wireless) Networks (aviatnetworks.com)
  • Small Cell Mobile Backhaul: The LTE Capacity Shortfall (aviatnetworks.com)
  • July 29, 2011

‘The Cloud’ and What it Means for Wireless Technology

Cloud

Image via Wikipedia

The cloud is an all-encompassing thing that’s actually been around for a while (e.g. distributed computing, Network Attached Storage). Most of it exists today in the enterprise but is being pushed to the Internet and rebranded “The Cloud.” This affects three wireless networking segments: consumers (e.g., you, me, mom, dad), Internet providers (e.g., mobile operators, ILECs, CLECs) and wireless solutions vendors (e.g., Symmetricom, Aviat Networks).

For consumers, it represents the ability to store information—pictures, music, movies—virtually and access them wherever we go from devices of our choice. No longer do we have to worry about backing up smartphones, tablets or laptops. The downside is that this magic is going on in the background all while your data caps are being reached. So, watch out….

On the mobile operator side, this will represent a substantial increase in bandwidth used. In addition, bandwidth usage starts to become more symmetrical as more uplink bandwidth is utilized while uploading to the cloud. This also means more frequency consumption on the RAN-side as subscribers stay “on” more often. Operators need to figure how to get users off the air interface as quickly as possible. This calls for greater throughput and potentially much lower latency. Trickling data to end users compounds the air interface problem. For the most part, subscribers won’t realize what’s happening and data caps are more likely to be reached. This translates into either more revenue and/or dissatisfied customers. Clearly, operators must monetize transport more effectively and at the same time provide more bandwidth.

Lastly, for wireless solutions vendors this translates into increased sales of wireless equipment to ease the sharp increase in bandwidth consumption. This also translates into more intelligent and robust network designs (e.g., physical and logical meshes, fine-grained QoS controls) as subscribers rely more on network access for day-to-day activities. As for the cloud in general and the overall effect:

  • Traffic starts to become more and more symmetrical (i.e., photos and videos automatically upload and then downloaded to all individual peer devices (e.g., your iPhone video uploads to the cloud and then syncs to your laptop and iPad)
  • Lots more bandwidth will be used. Today, content drives bandwidth demand (e.g., you open a browser and connect to a website, you launch your Facebook mobile app and upload photos). Tomorrow, those activities will happen automatically and continuously
  • Over the Air (OTA) updates to the phone are now downloaded over Wi-Fi or 3G/4G networks. Seemingly, updates are the only things that have changed, but it still amounts to about 150 MB per phone per update—another bandwidth driver
  • More prevalent use of video conferencing—low latency, sustained bandwidth demand

Therefore, the amount of bandwidth consumption will rise dramatically this September when Apple releases iOS 5 and iCloud. Android has already driven much bandwidth demand, but it’s not nearly as “sexy” as what Apple is releasing for its 220 million users—or alternately total iOS devices: iPod touch, iPad, iPhone). It’s more than just bandwidth—it’s quality, reliable bandwidth where QoS and Adaptive Modulation will play significant roles—of this, I’m certain.

At a recent TNMO event they were talking about LTE-Advanced and leveraging the cloud for virtual hard drives. Imagine, no physical hard drive in your computer. Laptops are connected via 4G wireless/5G LTE wireless to a cloud-based hard drive, equating to lots and lots of bandwidth plus stringent latency requirements….

Steve Loebrich
Director of Product and Solutions Marketing, Aviat Networks

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