Microwave Emerged As Trusted Choice For 5G and 5.5G Backhaul


Microwave transmission is emerging as an important part of 5G deployment, especially so in European and Middle East markets, according to Huawei’s Perry Yang, President of Huawei’s microwave product line.

“Since the beginning of 5G deployment Microwave transmission has become a must for 5G deployment. It has been proven around the world that microwave has accelerated 5G deployment especially in markets such as Europe and the Middle East. It has become one of the most mainstream technologies for 5G backhaul in countries in these regions. And now the performance of Microwave has reached the same level as optical fiber cable,” said Perry Yang in an exclusive interaction with Total Telecom at Mobile World Congress 2023 in Barcelona, Spain.

Factors driving wide adoption of microwave transmission

There are several reasons for the growing relevance of microwave transmission. A key reason is that Microwave has evolved and is much more flexible technology now helping the service providers to address several new-age challenges. “The Microwave industry has witnessed several changes. For instance, it has evolved from single-band to multi-bands and also from single carrier component to multiple carrier components, thus helping service providers to increase capacity and improve network performance,” explains Perry Yang.

Further, microwave backhaul is able to meet the growing demand for capacity and low latency. It is also allowing service providers to provide services in areas where service providers are unable to deploy fiber. “Using Microwave for 5G deployment will help reduce the digital divide. For instance, in areas where fiber might be difficult to deploy Microwave will be the best and the most reliable way for people to access 5G connectivity,” says Perry Yang.

Further, microwave transmission is helping telcos bring down the power consumption. Huawei’s microwave range of solutions are empowering telcos in bringing down their power expenses while improving the efficiency of their network.

Even so, the most crucial reason for the growing adoption of microwave transmission in 5G is the use of E-band (71GHz–76GHz and 81GHz–86GHz) which has now emerged as the most crucial band for microwave deployment.

“5G demands almost 10 times the capacity as compared with LTE and that means that the operators need technology that helps in smooth evolution from 4G to 5G. We know that E band spectrum is as large as 10GHz which allows service providers to provide the required speed, capacity and coverage of 5G. Further, E-band adopts single band architecture and because of low power consumption it is very crucial for 5G,” explains Perry Yang.

He further highlighted the deployment Huawei LR E-band in Germany which demonstrated that Microwave transmission was able to cover a long distance of 7 km, thus helping the service provider in bringing down investment in fiber cable, which can now be used in some other areas. “The next generation of technologies will help telcos enjoy longer distance transmission and reduce cost because now they don’t need to pay that much for power,” said Perry Yang.

The traditional way to increase capacity for microwave transmission is to add more bands. However, that also leads to a more complex architecture and increased power consumption. Telcos also end up paying more for additional band licenses. However, now with the use of E-band for microwave transmission can truly empower the telcos.

Huawei recently introduced MAGICSwave range of solutions which is designed to help service providers address several challenges related to backhaul. Multi-T and multi-R construct with 50Gbps cross-band bandwidth capability ensures that the performance is similar to optical fiber. Further, Perry Yang elaborated that Huawei is also announcing the launch of MAGICSwave which will support the next ten years of evolution for service providers.

“These solutions are not just designed for 5G evolution but they are designed for 5G, 5.5G and will support the service providers with smooth evolution from 4G to 5G and then to 5.5G and even beyond,” says Perry Yang.

Helping Telcos Reduce Power Consumption

Huawei has taken a lead in helping service providers bring down power consumption without impacting the performance. “When the consumption is high microwave will need to provide more capacity but during idle time or at night microwave will not need to provide high capacity. We have technology that can dynamically sense the amount of traffic so during idle time or during night our solutions are able to shut down while ensuring that the services are not interrupted,” says Perry Yang.

“We are also innovating in the architecture of our hardware. These are the kind of innovation we have brought to the market to reduce overall power consumption,” he added.

Huawei hopes that with the launch of truly innovative microwave transmission solutions, it is giving confidence to the industry that microwave transmission technology will help them evolve seamlessly from 4G to 5G to 5.5G and even 6G.

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