Mobile Operators Turning to Ethernet Microwave for Voice and Data Backhaul, Rate Vendors in IHS Survey

London, UK (August 27, 2015)—IHS (NYSE: IHS) conducted in-depth interviews with 23 service providers from around the world who use microwave equipment in their networks and found that 51 percent of the microwave links they deploy will be Ethernet-only by 2017, up from 38 percent currently.

“In additional to capacity requirements for backhaul connectivity continuing to rise, operator confidence in deploying Ethernet for voice and data backhaul has been boosted by packet synchronization, reducing the need for TDM,” said Richard Webb, research director for mobile backhaul and small cells at IHS.


“Our survey shows the microwave equipment market is shifting significantly towards all-packet microwave through the next few years,”Webb said.


  • Respondents are prolific users of microwave: By 2017, 52 percent will have more than 5,000 microwave links
  • Outdoor small cell backhaul is the fastest-growing deployment usage of microwave, growing from 17 percent of respondents now to 70 percent by 2017
  • A majority of survey participants want software-defined networking (SDN) controller support in the microwave products they buy
  • Ericsson leads respondents’ rankings of microwave manufacturers; Aviat Networks fared best of the microwave-only vendors


The 38-page IHS Infonetics Microwave Strategies and Vendor Leadership: Global Service Provider Survey explores operator plans for deploying microwave equipment and features a vendor scorecard with service provider ratings of 10 microwave manufacturers ( Alcatel-Lucent, Aviat Networks, Ceragon, DragonWave, Ericsson, Huawei, Intracom, NEC, SIAE, ZTE ) on 10 criteria. Respondent operators are significant users of microwave products and represent 33 percent of 2014 worldwide telecom capex and 29 percent of revenue. To purchase the report, please visit

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