Ericsson’s Report Says High-Capacity Microwave is Key to 5G

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This year’s Ericsson Microwave Outlook Report discussed how the demand for higher capacity microwave backhaul can be met with advanced microwave technology, spectrum, combination with fiber, and machine intelligence.

“Service providers have the option of deploying varying amounts of New Radio (NR) spectrum and advanced radio features,” Hans Mähler, Head of Microwave Systems at Ericsson said. “That will increase the spread of needed backhaul capacity in a 5G network. We also see an ongoing shift in backhaul to future-proof frequency bands to support the introduction of 5G.”

The report foresees 5G NR bringing a new backhaul option called Integrated Access and Backhaul or self-backhauling, which will enable faster, more flexible and very dense deployment of millimeter wave radio access sites at street level without the need for a denser transport network.  

“Microwave backhaul is a cost-efficient way to handle backhaul needs for LTE and 5G. Advanced microwave offers higher capacity and performance levels that to date was only believed possible for fiber solutions. Fiber is not the only option for building transport networks for 5G,” Mähler says.  

Exactly when and how to launch 5G will be decided nationally for each operator according to the report. What they will have in common is the importance in securing spectrum not only for access but also for backhaul.

With the introduction of 5G, the report says, E-band is not only becoming an essential backhaul band of high global alignment but, together with the 32 GHz band, will help aid the transition to 5G from other microwave frequencies. Operator trials, such as with A1 Hrvatska in Croatia, are proof of the value of E-band and multi-band as tools to increase backhaul capacities over longer distances.  Comments?  E-mail us.                                        

December 11, 2018

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