No mountain too high: how to get ultra broadband to everyone

Sep 23, 2013

Having access to information, education and economic opportunities are what make a high quality of life possible. So no matter where you are located, digital inclusion is critical.

Yet, it’s not always easy to get people around the world connected. For those in remote communities, mountainous regions and geographies isolated by water, long-haul microwave transport is the only option to access the power of the Internet.

For those who don’t know, microwave transmission refers to radio towers with round drums located at the top. These drums point to each another and transmit video, voice and data using radio waves that beam distances of a few meters and up to many kilometers. Today, microwave technology transports more than 50% of the world’s cellular traffic, and in some cases is the primary technology in a network’s backbone. This number will only grow as more and more people adopt digital communications to be more efficient in all aspects of their lives.

I believe this is going to create some interesting challenges for service providers. Traditional microwave systems (hybrid long-haul) were engineered to carry voice services based on TDM. But as more people access video, games and other business and consumer cloud services on their home, office and mobile devices these hybrid systems are under strain to support the growing amount of Internet Protocol (IP) based traffic. In many service provider networks, IP service traffic levels have exceeded traditional levels on microwave long-haul links. The reality is that this impacts the ability to deliver new services and ensure the performance of existing services.

Time for Packet Microwave

With the continued market evolution to IP-based packet technologies the time is ripe to make the move to what’s referred to as “packet microwave”. In North America, packet microwave long-haul transmission has been widely deployed to support the move to LTE, specifically to provide connectivity to LTE base stations. It is also used by service providers to carry all services to remote communities in mountainous regions. Utilities, government agencies, and other mission critical networks also use long-haul microwave to reliably reach areas for remote monitoring or to provide emergency services.

However, the pace of microwave packet introduction varies by country, in synch with the pace of IP transformation and data explosion in cellular and strategic industry networks. Given the reality of this shift to IP-based data traffic, operators must consider packet microwave for its ability to deliver more capacity over a microwave connection while lowering TCO. More effective capacity means more services can be carried to remote areas with less service delay. And that will lead to an enhanced end-user quality-of-experience – regardless of location.

More on Packet Microwave

The recently introduced extension of our 9500 MPR portfolio brings packet microwave to the ETSI long-haul market. The new system can deliver 8X the system capacity in just 1/3 of the footprint of traditional hybrid microwave systems. Operators will be able to meet demand for high-bandwidth services while reducing their total cost of operations (TCO). The world’s population – whether they’re in Manhattan or the most isolated regions – will continue to enjoy new IP services and applications, with unmatched network reliability and scale.

To find out more about Alcatel-Lucent’s Microwave Packet Radio portfolio talk to your sales representative, or visit the Microwave Transmission solution site.

Listen to a Digital Ideas Podcast with François Allain on the introduction of a new long-haul packet microwave solution:

Email Newsletters

Sign up to receive TelecomTV's top news and videos, plus exclusive subscriber-only content direct to your inbox.