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Aviat intros microwave link/router for SMB backhaul

Tue, 03/18/2014 - 1:33pm
Brian Santo

Aviat Networks announced a new microwave access point integrated with a full-featured IP/MPLS router, a rare and possibly singular combination designed to simplify cell backhaul, especially in urban areas that are candidates for small cell installations.

Aviat expects its new CTR 8540 a microwave router will be especially useful providing cell backhaul for SMB customers.

Cell backhaul sites typically use fiber connections, but as cell networks get more crowded, wireless operators are looking to install small cell networks – the wireless analog to a node split in cable. Running fiber can be prohibitive in many dense urban environments, however, and that’s when a microwave link (for decades commonly used for longhaul wireless communication) will come in handy.

A common microwave access point would probably do the job, but to serve business customers – mostly SMBs – routing capabilities become important, explained Aviat director of product Stuart Little. “It gives you powerful capabilities with regard to provisioning.”

Where fiber has virtually unlimited capacity, the capacity of a microwave link is finite. “Now you have to worry about adding new services, and how to support SLAs,” – service level agreements – Little said. That’s why integrated IP/MPLS routing is important.

It is possible to pair standard routers from the typical gang of router suppliers – Cisco, Juniper, Alcatel Lucent, etc., – Little said, but microwave systems present issues that don’t exist in typical fiber networks. For instance, microwave systems must be dynamically variable in terms of capacity. Standard routers don’t expect to see that, and that’s one reason why they sometimes do not work well with microwave systems.

The 8450 is scalable from 200 Mbps to 4 Gbps. It has an open, software-based architecture, so it can be deployed now as a Layer 2 microwave solution, with IP/MPLS functionality capable of being added when required via simple software upgrade. CTR leverages MPLS traffic engineering to offer SDN (software-defined networking) backhaul resource management and optimization, which provides a practical migration path to SDN architecture over time.

Michael Pangia, president and CEO, Aviat Networks, said of the system, “It combines the functionality of five separate devices and supports 50 percent more radio interfaces and twice as many Gigabit Ethernet ports as any other microwave solution and delivers up to 4 Gbps of aggregate capacity per link. This places CTR at the head of the microwave market, even before you add the L3 capability.”

Aviat said has received orders for the CTR 8540 from Osnova Telecom of the Russian Federation and Entel in Chile. Deliveries are scheduled to commence within the coming weeks.

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