DragonWave: Faster, Cheaper Backhaul

Posted by Sam Churchill on

DragonWave, a leading global supplier of packet microwave radio systems for mobile and access networks, today announced their Horizon Quantum, with lower cost per bit and higher capacity.

The new Horizon Quantum provides up to a record-breaking 4 Gbps per link and requires half as much carrier rack space so network operations can be streamlined and simplified.

A native Ethernet implementation, the new DragonWave solution is optimized for the rollout of 4G services. The Quantum’s Bandwidth Accelerator allows it to achieve better spectral efficiency and redefine the capacity standard for packet microwave with interference-free performance in both licensed and unlicensed radio frequencies in the 6 to 38 GHz range.

The carrier-grade DragonWave is said to enable 99.999 percent service reliability, delivers advanced security and encryption and fully supports SynchE and other critical Ethernet data transport capabilities such as virtual local area network (VLAN) queuing/prioritization, flow control and jumbo packets. Its pseudowire capability enables Ethernet and Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) traffic to be collapsed on a single, packet-based network.

The half-rack-unit device incorporates integrated switching capability and serves as a switch for ring and mesh network architectures. Its user-scalable bandwidth, enables simple and remote scaling without truck rolls, affording carriers key operational cost benefits.

Four G systems, like Mobile WiMAX and LTE, will require 100-180 Mbps per sector, or close to 500 Mbps per tower. Clearwire CTO John Saw says microwave is critical. He estimates that 90 percent of the firm’s network uses the radio backhaul systems. DragonWave is the dominant supplier for Clearwire’s microwave backhaul network. AT&T and Verizon, which often monopolize fiber access in smaller communities, charge Sprint and Clearwire high rates to lease their fiber.

“Our involvement with customers like Clearwire has allowed us to understand first hand the needs of leading 4G service providers,” said Peter Allen, president and CEO, DragonWave.

Clearwire is also implementing Ciena’s Ethernet transport gear, which could transport cellular 3G and 4G traffic, if the opportunity presents itself. Clearwire also uses WiChorus 4G gear to provide a network-neutral solution for multiple 3G and 4G data architectures. It provides a key (but open) interface to millions of constantly moving mobile devices.

Microwave resellers like Fibertower and XO often use higher frequencies, in the 38GHz band, although their range is lower. If the 6-38 GHz bands get congested, the 70/80 GHz band could be used, although range at that frequency is generally reduced to less than a mile.

Bridgewave’s AR80x uses adaptive rate modulation in case of heavy rain in 80 GHz. The company’s AdaptRate feature can temporarily downgrade a 1 Gbps link to 100 Mbps to maintain connectivity, while the AdaptPath option can switch over to an alternative link when needed. The company’s most expensive solution, the extended-range 80 GHz product with AdaptRate, AdaptPath and AES encryption, lists at $47,000 per link.

Other Gbps wireless gear is available from Alvarion, Ceragon, DragonWave, E-Band Communications, Gigabeam, Loea, Proxim’s GigaLink, and Exalt, among others.

The Horizon Quantum is scheduled to ship by the end of 2009 and will cost around $12K per link. It is being demonstrated at 4G World in Chicago, September 15-18.

Posted by Sam Churchill on Monday, September 14th, 2009 at 9:13 am .

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