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You would have to be hiding under a rock to miss the increasing excitement – mixed with confusion – about what will be happening next in wireless backhaul networks. New technologies like software-defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV) promise to enable new capabilities while decreasing costs for wireless operators. They also are providing areas in the physical layer for innovation to the network infrastructure that will ultimately support 5G. One such area is microwave backhaul.
Deployments of fiber cables for backhaul will continue to grow, and that’s a strong business for CommScope. However, microwave has always played a major role in backhaul and most people in the industry agree it will continue. Microwave is usually faster and cheaper to deploy. It is easier to troubleshoot and easy to upgrade as technology improves, meaning it has excellent flexibility if you need to make a change. It is already used in areas where extremely low latency is required.
With the evolution to 5G, operators are densifying their networks, deploying small cells in urban locations. These areas bring challenges for microwave backhaul due to building and wireless congestion. One way that operators ensure their microwave backhaul links are suitable here is to use licensed frequency bands and radiation patterns with minimized side lobes. This gives their microwave links the robust quality and higher data rates required.
CommScope has developed small flat panel antennas in licensed frequencies, which also minimize the aesthetic impact in urban environments. Layer 123 was so impressed by them, they recently honored CommScope with a Network Transformation Award for the innovation. Network Transformation Awards recognize achievement in advancing the industry, celebrate innovation founded on SDN and NFV, and inspire determination for future progress.
Unlike any other flat antennas on the market today, CommScope’s antennas have high aperture efficiency (gain) and typically class 4 radiation patterns in licensed frequency bands. They are available in sizes that can easily be integrated into microwave radio packaging, meaning the antenna doesn’t have to look so much like an antenna anymore.
Want to find out more? Leave me a comment and I’ll be happy to talk to you.