Wireless Backhaul Breakthrough: 40G bps & sub 1 usec Latency; 5G NR Call on 2.6 GHz

Ericsson announced on Friday that it has teamed with Deutsche Telekom to demonstrate a 40 Gbps mmWave wireless transmission link with sub 100-microsecond latency.

Ericsson said the test took place at the Deutsche Telekom Service Center in Athens. The test used millimeter wave (E-band) spectrum for transmission over a distance of 1.4 kilometers.  The round-trip latency performance of the link tested was less than 100 microseconds, which confirmed the positive contribution of wireless backhaul technologies to satisfy network-specific latency targets.

Alex Jinsung Choi, SVP Strategy & Technology Innovation, Deutsche Telekom, says: “A high-performance transport connection will be key to support high data throughput and enhanced customer experience in next-generation networks. While fiber is an important part of our portfolio, it is not the only option for backhaul. Together with our partners, we have demonstrated fiber-like performance is also possible with wireless backhauling/X-Haul solutions. This offers an important extension of our portfolio of high-capacity, high-performance transport options for the 5G era.”

Per Narvinger, head of product area networks for Ericsson said: “Microwave continues to be a key technology for mobile transport by supporting the capacity and latency requirements of 4G and future 5G networks. Our joint innovation project shows that higher capacity microwave backhaul will be an important enabler of high-quality mobile broadband services when 5G becomes a commercial reality.”

Ericsson has a five-year contract with Deutsche Telekom, which kicked off in December 2017. Ericsson’s senior VP Arun Bansal says that they can deliver a 5G network in that time frame. “We listened to Deutsche Telekom and understood their urgency to have 5G-ready infrastructure in order to stay at the forefront.” They’ll run 4G on their 5G hardware until it is installed across the entire network, then they’ll launch 5G with the flip of a switch sometime in the next few years.

Technical setup included the use of Ericsson’s latest mobile transport technology including Ericsson’s MINI-LINK 6352 microwave solution and Router 6000.

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Separately, Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, have achieved a non-standalone (NSA) 5G New Radio (NR) data call on 2.6 GHz, adding a new frequency band to those successfully tested for commercial deployment.

The bi-directional downlink and uplink data call was made at the Ericsson Lab in Kista, Sweden last December 20. It brings a new sub-6 frequency band one step closer to commercial rollout.

This latest Interoperability Development Testing (IoDT) data call is compliant with the 3GPP Rel-15 “early drop” specification that was frozen in March 2018 but further stabilized in September, and which is the basis for commercial launches expected in the first half of 2019.

IHS Markit: Microwave Network Equipment Market -1%; YoY; 5G to Boost Growth

By Richard Webb, associate director of research and analysis, service provider technology, IHS Markit

Highlights:

  • The total worldwide microwave network equipment market declined by 5 percent quarter over quarter – and by 1 percent year over year – in the second quarter of 2018 (Q2 2018), falling to $1.03 billion.
  • Revenue in the second quarter was comprised of 80 percent backhaul, 7 percent transport and 13 percent access. Also within revenue, 16 percent was dual Ethernet/TDM, 71 percent was Ethernet only, 2 percent was V-band millimeter wave and 11 percent was E-band millimeter wave.
  • Regionally, 10 percent of revenue in the second quarter came from North America, 39 percent from Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), 37 percent from Asia Pacific, and 13 percent from Caribbean and Latin America (CALA).
  • Ericsson (see Addendum) led the microwave network equipment market share ranking with 21.6 percent of revenue, followed by Huawei at 18.6 percent, Nokia at 12.5 percent, NEC at 10.6 percent, Ceragon at 8.5 percent, Aviat Networks at 4.2 percent, SIAE at 4 percent and ZTE at 3.8 percent.

IHS Markit Analysis:

Microwave equipment market declines in the second quarter of 2018 followed a stronger-than-expected first quarter, with second half of the year expected to be flat-to-slightly up.

Aside from performance by individual vendors, the market has been slow over the last two years. Mobile operators are typically cash conservative, and many operators in developed markets have undergone most of their backhaul upgrades for LTE. Although upgrades for LTE-A and LTE-Pro (and late-phase LTE deployment in developing regions) prop up the market, the early shoots of growth driven by 5G are now visible and will gain momentum over the next two to three years.

In the long term, the market will get an injection from 5G upgrades, driven by demand for higher-capacity backhaul combined with growing traction for outdoor small cell deployments. Although market growth will be muted in the short term, these drivers will push the market back to revenue growth in 2019 and beyond.

The effect of 5G on the microwave equipment market will be mainly felt in two ways:

  • Backhaul and fronthaul for mobile broadband: Increased capacity requirements for macrocells and small cells or remote radio heads to deliver high-speed mobile broadband connectivity.
  • Fixed-wireless access: In-home broadband for consumers, utilizing millimeter wave as a wireline (DSL/cable/fiber) equivalent, to deliver high-speed fixed broadband connectivity.

SDN, NFV and network slicing will impact transport networks over the next few years. Although they will make backhaul more flexible, they do not reduce the need for equipment at the endpoint of the backhaul link. However, the fact that SDN enables coordination between the radio access network (RAN) and backhaul network to optimize traffic and allocated network resources, is likely to strengthen the opportunity for microwave vendors with RAN portfolios to increase market share. Over the past few years, the market has been experiencing some consolidation among microwave-only specialists.

Microwave Network Equipment Quarterly Market Tracker:

The “Microwave Network Equipment Market Tracker” examines the vendors, markets and trends related to wireless radio equipment that uses microwave to transmit digital or analog signals between two locations on a radio path. The report tracks Ethernet, TDM microwave, Dual Ethernet/TDM microwave, and V-Band and E-Band millimeter wave equipment by spectrum, capacity, form factor, architecture and line of sight.

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Addendum:

Ericsson’s Microwave Outlook

Huawei Launches the Industry’s First 5G Microwave Equipment at MWC 2018

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