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Published 10 July 2018 in Events
Tags: mmWave 5G FWA
The crucial role of mmWave

The CBNL Team

Last month, I joined the Wells Fargo Securities Research team in New York to speak at their 2018 Telecom Forum. Entitled ‘Fast & Furious to 5G’, this year’s event sought to cut through the noise around 5G.

We were delighted to accept the invitation to share the knowledge we have gained deploying mmWave, pre-5G- fixed access networks over the last 10 years. We are proud of our field-work in this area and privileged to be amongst speakers such as AT&T’s CEO as well as the CTOs of Verizon and Sprint.

FWA evolution
Unlike previous mobile standards, 5G will be a gamechanger for non-mobile use cases such as fixed wireless access services. Jennifer Fritzsche, Managing Director of the Equity Research group at Wells Fargo Securities asked us how our customers were seeing the 5G opportunity. We explained how our customers are always on the look-out for higher capacities, better QoS, shorter time to market and lower TCO. 5G is seen as one way to stay competitive in their markets and to continue delighting their customers.

However, at CBNL we see the shift to using 5G standards for fixed access as an evolution of what we are already doing. We have long seen the huge advantages offered by mmWave spectrum in providing the power needed for 5G capacities. And we started out in life developing the technologies to build out wireless networks in these bands.

Very high-speed, high-throughput wireless networks built around a point-to-multipoint topology offering TCO savings of up to 50% and with the ability to provide individual traffic streams with dedicated QoS is what we do at CBNL.

mmWave under the spotlight
The market interest in 5G has put mmWave under the spotlight. For the first time the industry is putting significant focus on this high frequency spectrum and specifically how to build point-to-multipoint topologies at such high frequencies. But for us it’s an area in which we’ve been working for over 10 years.

As the industry looks at mmWave bands to support the shift to 5G and in particular to support FWA, and other non-mobile applications, we are able to bring the direct experience we have of deploying point-to-multipoint networks in these bands to bear.

We don’t say this lightly. To date CBNL has shipped over 150,000 units purpose-built for the job of creating carrier grade networks in mmWave. These are in active use with 7 of the world’s top 10 operator groups.

Jennifer also asked us whether we were seeing any urgency by operators wanting to get pre-5G FWA services to market. The answer is an emphatic yes: fast-moving operators are already building first-mover advantage. And needless to say, every operator is studying how 5G will change the economics of a variety of use cases. We are using our field-proven modeling tools to show what real-world designs might look like.

Given we already support spectrum bands from 10GHz right through to 40GHz we bring a lot of flexibility that can allow operators to build momentum. These bands include former LMDS A1, A2 and B bands as well as 39GHz. We have additional developments ongoing in other bands as part of our bespoke, customer-specific engineering service.

The 5G business case
It’s not just mobile operators with whom we’re talking. Fixed players as well as non-telcos such as utilities and government organizations such as smart city projects are also interested and many need support to navigate the minefield of spectrum and use case whilst marrying both with an appropriate technology. It comes down to the business case and the ability to monetise spectrum quickly in the form of services that their customers want.

Our live deployments in the field tell us that mmWave spectrum works really well for building carrier-grade networks. We’ve deployed many dense networks of 5000 sites or more in climates and environments all over the world and our proven field work shows us that hundreds of Mbps are achievable up to ranges of 5 miles: much greater range than some people envisage when they see ‘mmWave’.

Our solutions today support up to 1.3Gbps with a range of up to 5 miles. Each 90˚ sector supports up to 63 sites from a single hub with high speed connectivity. All from a 4kg, 6 litre form factor.

All said and done, Wells Fargo Securities’ 2018 Telecom Forum was a unique opportunity to meet the voices shaping the future of connectivity across the globe. I was delighted to discuss the role that mmWave plays in building 5G networks – and I look forward to returning to the summit in the future.

Published 05 November 2015 in Backhaul, Events
Tags: AfricaCom, digital dividend, tower sharing, Backhaul, LTE

Dr John Naylon, Chief Technology Officer, CBNL

One of the pleasures of attending AfricaCom is gaining insight into the most recent innovations in network architecture, and particularly in understanding how the business case for a mobile network can be improved by technical innovation.

The macroscopic telecoms environment features exponentially growing customer demand for data, delivered within a flat-to-declining ARPU envelope. 

This is particularly the case in Africa, and is driving a number of phenomena in all parts of the modern mobile network.

One example is tower sharing, whereby operators can reduce their capex and opex by amortising the costs of infrastructure across their combined subscriber bases.

Another example is the use of so-called ‘digital dividend’ ex-broadcast spectrum at 700 and 800MHz to create LTE coverage across wide areas more cost effectively. 

The physical propagation characteristics of these low frequencies mean that a given LTE base station can provide coverage to a larger radius. 

In turn, that means more subscribers are served by a single base station.

These approaches help in delivering services more cost effectively because they both increase the degree to which infrastructure is shared amongst subscribers. 

The neat part is that this increased sharing does not compromise the user experience in any way. 

This is because users’ data demands in mobile networks are statistically mutually asynchronous. 

In other words, it doesn’t matter how many other subs might use a given set of network resources throughout the day, only the number using those resources at a precise instant.

In the backhaul segment of the network, another example of a technology which can enhance network ROI is PMP microwave. 

Just as in the previous two examples, PMP microwave increases the amount of sharing of infrastructure that occurs. 

In this case, a single hub radio and its RF channel is time-division multiplexed amongst amongst multiple 3G or LTE base stations, avoiding the need for dedicated hub backhaul hardware for each base station. 

Again, because of the statistical asynchrony of backhaul requirements, there is no difference in the service delivered to the base station or end user. 

Using efficient technology in this way can create TCO savings of nearly 50% for the backhaul network.

African mobile operators are world leaders in adopting all three approaches described above, and in making a virtue of the necessity to do so. 

Because the growth in data demand shows no sign of abating, creating a relentless need to deliver more bits for the same cost, these techniques are becoming increasingly relevant in all regions of the world.

As in previous years, the CBNL executive team will be attending AfricaCom 2015 and look forward to meeting our customers and media from across the continent.

If you are attending AfricaCom and would like to meet us at the event, please email Chris Wright, CBNL’s Marketing Director, at cwright@cbnl.com who will be happy to schedule a meeting for you at the CBNL suite. 

Dr John Naylon, Chief Technology Officer, CBNL

With just under two weeks until Small Cell World kicks off, the industry is gearing up to see the latest and greatest small cell technologies and hear from operators on their deployment strategies.

Despite news earlier this year that over ten million small cells have been shipped, the industry is still very much in the early stages of outdoor, ‘urban’ small cells.

Backhaul will be central to every small cell network. As a result, operators’ decisions on backhaul technology will prove critical to their success.

Although close to their macro counterparts, small cells have somewhat different backhaul requirements which Infonetics recently summarised as: “Operators continue to look for smaller form factor, lower power, and lower cost backhaul equipment to help them drive forward the business case”.

These challenges bring into sharp focus the need for operators to create a compelling business case and a highly effective deployment strategy for small cell investment.

Operators are therefore turning to established carrier-grade wireless technologies for small cell backhaul, to deliver the high capacity services that are in such high demand by customers across their networks.

Key to a strong business case is a fast time to market and the ability to integrate small cell backhaul with existing macro networks.

This integration provides an incrementally low-cost means of adding small cells to the network and is the focus of the presentation I’ll be giving on the backhaul track at Small Cell World (14:40 on Wednesday 1 June for those that may be attending).

By removing the perceived need to deploy a wholly new, untried, backhaul solution for small cells, existing macro infrastructure can be leveraged, eliminating operators’ number one barrier to small cell deployment.

This is likely to see tried and tested backhaul become highly attractive to operators compared to completely new solutions.

We believe this to be so important that it played a key role in the development of our own PMP microwave small cell backhaul solution.

VectaStar Metro 600 small cell backhaul platformOur latest VectaStar Metro 600 small cell backhaul platform offers operators seamless macro integration, providing a field-proven business case and the ability to deliver up to 600Mb/s backhaul to each small cell.

PMP microwave saves valuable spectrum and equipment by aggregating backhaul traffic from multiple nodes to a single hub location.

By reducing hardware installs, operators are provided with a very quick time to market and total cost of ownership savings of up to 54% compared to fiber or point-to-point.

The underlying maturity of microwave backhaul has the added benefit of providing operators with a field-proven technology which is tried and tested the world over.

I look forward to exploring this further at the event and discussing our technology first hand with customers at our stand. I hope to see you there.

Dr John Naylon, Chief Technology Officer, CBNL

The forthcoming Small Cell World Summit will again bring together leaders from across the industry to discuss the latest trends and technologies in this space, along with operator’s deployment strategies (a particular point of interest for almost all delegates).

Last year we focused on total cost of ownership for small cell backhaul (see the slides here) which coincided with the launch of our first VectaStar Metro product

With the World Radiocommunication Conferences (WRC) set to take place in 2015, we thought it was timely to shine a light on the opportunities for backhaul in various frequency bands and how future spectrum availability may affect operator’s backhaul choices.

High capacity and low total cost of ownership continue to dominate the list of requirements for small cell backhaul and spectrum can play a major role in this.

I anticipate the WRC may designate more low frequency spectrum for LTE RAN services next year.

If they do we’ll see even more traction for technologies operating in the 6-42Ghz band as backhaul is displaced out of the sub-6GHz space.

Backhaul products operating between 6-42Ghz will play a central role in creating the low TCO we demonstrated last year for our own small cell multipoint product, whilst at the same time having the ability to deliver the essential capacity requirements.

Of course there’s the question of how to maximise spectrum resources once they are acquired.

The bursty data profile of small cells (whether LTE or Wi-Fi) lends itself especially well to multipoint backhaul.

Multipoint can realise huge efficiency gains in the network by aggregating data from several small cells, saving equipment costs and reducing the capacity operators need to provision.

By utilising licensed frequency bands, multipoint also offers seamless quality of service between macro and small cell layers.

We firmly believe ‘backhaul is backhaul’ and if customer satisfaction (and retention) is to be achieved, the user should always see great availability, reliability and speed whether connecting via a small cell or a macro node.

I’ll be discussing this in more depth at the Small Cell World Summit when I join Deutsche Telekom on the “Opportunities for backhaul in various frequency bands” panel session – 14.40 - Wednesday 11th June.

We’ll also look at how spectrum availability is dictating backhaul choices across the globe and if there is a balance to be met with licensed and unlicensed strategies.

I hope to see you at the event – please read our events page for more information and to schedule a meeting with the CBNL team.

Chris Wright, Marketing Manager, CBNL

CBNL recently joined TeleSemana, AT&T, the Small Cell Forum and Alcatel Lucent to discuss the latest small cell trends.

Filmed at Mobile World Congress and facilitated by Rafael Junquera from TeleSemana, the discussion focused on the following themes:

  • What is the small cell market status?
  • What small cell plans are operators making?
  • Is LTE-A a key factor for small cells due to eICIC and CoMP and how do they impact deployments?
  • What have we learned from implementations and trials about deploying small cells in the different scenarios?
  • Is interoperability an issue?
  • How close are we to plug and play?

Watch the film