One reason why Sprint is fighting the AT&T/T-Mobile merger is that they don’t have a wireline business. Both AT&T and Verizon do. They price their fiber access to cell towers as high as possible, to reduce competition and avoid lawsuits. That had the effect of forcing Sprint and Clearwire to utilize microwave backhaul, using Dragonwave gear in the 18-24 GHz band.
Clearwire deployed Horizon Duo microwave radios for its high-capacity backhaul network ring architecture (pdf) thoughout its system.
But microwave backhaul is now becoming essential for linking microcells, which cover just a block or two. Fiber won’t go there and twisted pair is too slow.
The advantages of 60 GHz:
- License-free operation in the U.S. and Canada
- Highly secure, narrow antenna beamwidths
- Interference-free operation, enabling high-density deployments
- Full rate, full duplex, Gigabit or Fast Ethernet
Bridgewave’s PG60C picocell backhaul (above) lets operators deploy smaller, lower cost street-level cells. It doesn’t require a traditional “dish”. It blends in with the environment, mounting unobtrusively on light poles.
Other Gbps wireless gear is available from Alvarion, Ceragon, DragonWave, E-Band Communications, Gigabeam, Loea, Proxim’s GigaLink, and Exalt, among others. Exalt, for example, has a new EX-i Series GigE long haul product. The EX-i Series is an indoor system, using the upper and lower 6 GHz FCC bands.
Market research firm Infonetics forecasts strong growth in the microwave and millimeter wave market as macro sites accommodate LTE traffic and feed micro/pico cell sites.
Related Dailywireless stories on Millimter Band radios include; Exalt on 5 GHz, DragonWave: More Bits per Buck, 3.65 GHz Gets Real, 70GHz Radios, NextPhase + GigaBeam Deliver SoCal Biz Nets, EZ Wireless Deploys 60 GHz for DOJ, FiberTower to Backhaul Sprint WiMAX, XO Expands Backhaul, and Millimeter Gigabit Gets Competition.