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

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