Sunday, May 18, 2014

DragonWave Whitepaper: Unlocking the Value of E-Band with Extended Reach

by Greg Friesen,
Vice President of Product Management at DragonWave

When first- and second-generation E-Band systems introduced Gigabit wireless systems to the market, they took advantage of the wide amount of spectrum available which is very low-cost, to be able to offer high capacity wireless links.  However, these systems did not focus on reach and were inhibited by the high amount of rain fade present in the 70/80 GHz frequency bands. As a result, current E-Band systems have been limited to about 1-3 Km reach, resulting in a limited application space that has been primarily last mile fiber extension in enterprise and campus environments.

With the next generation of E-Band systems, and a number of features targeted at extending reach, manufacturers are now effectively doubling previous link lengths and achieving up to 7 Km of reach. This increased reach is critical to expanding the application space of E-Band products. Now, with extended reach capabilities, 70/80 GHz can be used for the traditional cellular backhaul market. These E-band ranges are comparable to 38 GHz links ranges and can be used for many 23/26/28 GHz links as well.

Using the 70/80 GHz band as a spectrum alternative to traditional 23-42 GHz links has tremendous advantages. In the 23-42 GHz band, many countries issue a maximum channel size of 28 MHz channels, limiting link capacities to 200-250 Mbps. A few countries will issue channel sizes up to 56 MHz, still limiting capacities to about 500 Mbps.  However, 250 and 500 MHz channels are generally available in the 70/80 GHz band. Using these channels, today’s products can deliver 1-3 Gbps of capacity and provide operators with tremendous scalability to meet growing LTE requirements. In addition, E-Band systems offer significant total cost of ownership benefits by leveraging spectrum that costs about 1/10th as much as 23-42 GHz spectrum, as shown in Figure 1 below.



The benefits of E-Band versus 23-42 GHz are significant and offer 10 times the capacity with 1/10th of the recurring spectrum costs.  Nevertheless, in order to take advantage of these benefits, reach needs to be >4 Km, which is comparable to the 23-42 GHz bands.  First- and second-generation E-Band systems could not transmit this far and were typically limited to about 2-3 Km. of reach. Today, a number of new technologies are emerging to increase that reach twofold.
The first of these technologies is adaptive modulation, which monitors signal strength and shifts from the current modulation to a lower modulation during a fade event. Utilizing this technique, the system will shift from 64QAM all the way down to BPSK, resulting in a 15-20 dB link gain improvement.

The next area of reach improvement is adaptive waveform. Once the system has tried to compensate for path fade using adaptive modulation, it can then shift to smaller channel sizes, from a typical 250 or 500 MHz channel down to a 25 or 50 MHz channel. This adaptive waveform switching improves the receiver sensitivity, further increasing link budget by about 10 dB.
The last technique that can be used to extend the reach of an E-Band system is MIMO (multiple input, multiple output). In E-Band, MIMO can be used to transmit the same signal over two spatially separated antennas. This is different than traditional forms of MIMO which use spatial separation to achieve a doubling of capacity. In this case, spatial separation is used to get improved link budget by having 2X antenna and Receive side gain, thereby improving the total system gain by up to 9 dB. Due to the high frequency range of E-Band, the separation of the antennas required for MIMO can be very narrow, allowing them to be packaged into a single unit.

The combination of these three features can extend E-Band range to >6 Km. The graph below shows the impact of these features for a link designed at 99.99% availability in Europe.  Even at this high availability, link lengths close to 6Km are achievable.

Extending the range of E-Band is a very important step in extending the applicability of E-Band. Taking this extended range and mapping it across an existing mobile network in Europe allows one to determine how applicable E-Band could be as an alternative to 23-42 GHz microwave systems. In this case, the existing links were consuming 28 MHz channels and delivering 20 Mbps of capacity. It was found that 99% of the 38-42 GHz links could be replaced with E-Band, a further 70% of the 26-32 GHz links could be replaced, and 55% of the 23 GHz links could be replaced, which amounts to 75% of the full field population of 23-42 GHz links being viable for E-band deployment.

Further analysis compares three deployment scenarios from a cost perspective. The first scenario replaces the link with an E-Band link, increasing the capacity to 2.5 Gbps, but incurring CAPEX and install cost. The second scenario leaves the current 23-42 GHz links in the field, but not being able to scale beyond 200 Mbps and continuing to incur the high spectrum lease costs. The third scenario expands the existing microwave system to 56 MHz and adds a second XPIC channel in the 23-42 GHz range. This scenario incurs CAPEX and install costs, but scales to 1 Gbps, although it will result in costly recurring spectrum charges. In addition, the third scenario may not always be deployable, as it is often not possible to acquire 2X 56 MHz channels. All three scenarios are compared for 7 years, and shown in the graph below.



As shown in the graph above, the E-Band scenario offers slight cost savings over leaving the existing system in the field and provides greater than 10X scale. It also is by far the lowest cost option for providing any scalability beyond 200 Mbps.

It’s clear that E-Band systems have evolved tremendously over the past five years. In doing so, the reach and corresponding addressable market has expanded significantly.  With new reach capabilities of >5 Km, E-Band systems are now a viable alternative for enhancing mobile backhaul networks. For operators, the new E-band solution is something that should be highly considered, as it provides a viable means to deliver >1 Gbps, while also achieving major spectrum cost savings.

About the Author

Greg Friesen is the Vice President of Product Management at DragonWave, responsible for global product management responsibilities across DragonWave’s complete portfolio of products. This role includes regular interaction with customers to understand their evolving network requirements. Greg has 13 years experience in senior product management roles, network design, planning, and engineering, at a number of communications firms, including his current role at DragonWave and previous roles at Nortel Networks, Innovance Networks, and Fundy Telecom. As Senior Product Manager at Innovance Networks he was responsible for all product definition, architecture, and network design. He has been involved in the planning and engineering of over 10 nationwide network deployments. His experience ranges from operations and Capex modeling to network architecture design to site and link engineering. Greg holds B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering from University of Saskatchewan.

About DragonWave
DragonWave(R) is a leading provider of high-capacity packet microwave solutions that drive next-generation IP networks. DragonWave'scarrier-grade point-to-point packet microwave systems transmit broadband voice, video and data, enabling service providers, government agencies, enterprises and other organizations to meet their increasing bandwidth requirements rapidly and affordably. The principal application of DragonWave's portfolio is wireless network backhaul, including a range of products ideally suited to support the emergence of underlying small cell networks. Additional solutions include leased line replacement, last mile fiber extension and enterprise networks. DragonWave's corporate headquarters is located in Ottawa, Ontario, with sales locations in EuropeAsia, the Middle East and North America
For more information, visit http://www.dragonwaveinc.com

Video: Introducing DragonWave's Harmony Eband for 70/80 GHz

DragonWave introduces its Harmony Eband product featuring more reach, greater capacity,and lower spectrum costs.

0:44 - Markets and applications
01:43 - Reach Extender
03:07 - Performance in real world mobile networks

Presented by Peter Allen and Greg Friesen.

See video: http://youtu.be/g0UcP-k0sLc


AT&T's Bid to Acquire DIRECTIV Brings Subscribers, Content, Cash Flow

AT&T reached a deal to acquire DIRECTV in a stock-and-cash transaction for $95 per share based on AT&T’s Friday closing price, comprising  $28.50 per share in cash and $66.50 per share in AT&T stock. The implied total equity value is $48.5 billion and the total transaction value is $67.1 billion, including DIRECTV’s net debt.


Some key points:
  • DIRECTV has over 20 million satellite-TV customers in the United States and more than 18 million customers in Latin America.
  • DIRECTV has premier content, particularly live sports programming. It has the exclusive pay TV rights to NFL SUNDAY TICKET, ownership of ROOT SPORTS Networks and minority stakes in the Game Show Network, MLB Network, NHL Network and the Sundance Channel.
  • DIRECTV will continue to be headquartered in El Segundo, California, after the deal closes.
  • AT&T expects cost synergies to exceed $1.6 billion on an annual run rate basis by year three after closing. The expected synergies are primarily driven by increased scale in video.
  • To facilitate the regulatory approval process in Latin America, AT&T intends to divest its interest in América Móvil. 

AT&T also announced a number of promises to help achieve regulatory approvals, including:

  1. expanding it broadband network to 15 million more places beyond those already targeted by Project VIP
  2. a commitment to offer broadband service at rates of at least 6 Mbps for customers who want only over-the-top (OTT) service
  3. a commitment to offer DIRECTV’s TV service on a stand-alone basis at nationwide package prices for at least 3 years
  4. a continued commitment for three years after closing to the FCC's Open Internet protections established in 2010, irrespective of whether the FCC re-establishes such protections for other industry participants following the DC Circuit Court of Appeals vacating those rules and
  5. a commitment to meaningfully participate in the FCC’s planned spectrum auctions later this year and in 2015. AT&T intends to bid at least $9 billion in connection with the 2015 incentive auction provided there is sufficient spectrum available in the auction to provide AT&T a viable path to at least a 2x10 MHz nationwide spectrum footprint. 

"This is a unique opportunity that will redefine the video entertainment industry and create a company able to offer new bundles and deliver content to consumers across multiple screens – mobile devices, TVs, laptops, cars and even airplanes. At the same time, it creates immediate and long-term value for our shareholders,” said Randall Stephenson, AT&T Chairman and CEO.

“DIRECTV is the best option for us because they have the premier brand in pay TV, the best content relationships, and a fast-growing Latin American business. DIRECTV is a great fit with AT&T and together we’ll be able to enhance innovation and provide customers new competitive choices for what they want in mobile, video and broadband services. We look forward to welcoming DIRECTV’s talented people to the AT&T family."

http://about.att.com/story/att_to_acquire_directv.html

Zayo Acquires London's Geo Networks for UK Fiber Network

Zayo Group has acquired Geo Networks, a London-based dark fiber provider, for an undisclosed sum.


The acquisition will add over 2,100 route miles to Zayo’s European network, and connectivity to 587 on-net buildings. Geo's network owns and operates a high capacity fiber network in the UK, providing managed networks, dark fiber and co-location services to a variety of high-bandwidth sectors including media companies, service providers, financial services, data centers and gaming organizations.

Geo’s 100-route mile London network is housed in the London sewer system, which minimizes the threat of physical faults, boosting reliability and security, and enabling rapid deployment with minimum disruption.  The network reaches 130 data centers across the UK. Geo also operates a diverse optical fiber subsea system, East-West Ring, providing diverse connectivity to Dublin, a strategic hub for data centers and cloud service providers.

With this acquisition, Zayo will have 79,000 miles of fiber in 8 countries, and connectivity to more than 650 data centers.

http://www.zayo.com
http://www.geo-uk.net/


The new Cricket Wireless Launches on AT&T's LTE Network

The new Cricket Wireless officially launched service on AT&T's nationwide 4G LTE network, which covers more than 280 million Americans.

Cricket targets pre-paid, value-conscious consumers. No-contract, unlimited voice/text/data plans start at $35 a month after a $5 credit for using auto pay.

“We kept the Cricket brand name, but one thing is certain, we are stepping up our game. We are giving no-contract consumers the value they have been waiting for,” said Jennifer Van Buskirk, president of Cricket Wireless. “Now new Cricket customers can enjoy great prices, popular phones, loyalty rewards, and friendly service on a reliable nationwide 4G LTE network. The new Cricket has more 4G LTE coverage than Sprint, T-Mobile, and Metro PCS, period.”

http://www.cricketwireless.com

In March 2014, AT&T completed its previously announced acquisition of prepaid wireless provider Leap Wireless International Inc., which operates under the Cricket brand, for $15 per share in cash. Leap shareholders will also receive a contingent right entitling them to the net proceeds received on the sale of Leap’s 700 MHz “A Block” spectrum in Chicago, which Leap purchased for $204 million in August 2012.

Leap built a 3G CDMA network, as well as a 4G LTE network covering 21 million people across 35 states. The company serves about 5 million prepaid mobile users under the Cricket brand. It currently ranks as the fifth largest mobile operator in the U.S. Its network currently covers approximately 97 million people in 35 U.S. states, and Cricket had 4.57 million customers as of February 28, 2014. Customer migrations are expected to be completed approximately 18 months after the launch of the new Cricket.

The deal would include all of Leap’s stock and wireless properties, including licenses, network assets, retail stores and approximately 5 million subscribers. 

When the merger closed, AT& said it plans to integrate Cricket with its existing operations to create the "new Cricket" for the pre-paid market -- featuring a combination of simple, low-cost rate plans and smartphones. 

In addition to Cricket’s operations, AT&T also acquired spectrum in the PCS and AWS bands covering nearly 138 million people. This spectrum is largely complementary to AT&T’s existing spectrum holdings and includes unutilized spectrum covering 41 million people. AT&T will immediately begin to put the unutilized spectrum to use to support 4G LTE services for its customers. This additional spectrum will provide additional capacity and enhance network performance for customers using smartphones and other mobile Internet devices.

Sixth Next-Gen GPS Satellite Successfully Launched

The sixth Global Positioning System (GPS) IIF-6 satellite for the U.S. Air Force was successfully launched from Cape Canaveral aboard a Delta IV rocket from the United Launch Alliance.

GPS IIF-6 will join the next generation GPS timing and navigation system, which features24 satellites in six different planes, with a minimum of four satellites per plane positioned in orbit approximately 11,000 miles above the Earth's surface.

This marks ULA's fifth launch in 2014, and the 82nd successful launch since the company was formed in December 2006.

http://www.ulalaunch.com

Russia's AM4R Satellite Lost at Launch

The Russian Satellite Communication Company's Express-AM4R, which was to be Russia's most powerful communications satellite to date, was lost approximately nine minutes following launch aboard a Proton-M rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The satellite, which was built by Astrium and insured for about US$225 million, carried 63 transponders providing X-band, C-band, S-band, L-band, Ku-band, and Ka-band capacity along with 10 antennas installed. Its mission was to provide Internet access across a wide swath of Russia from 80°E.  AM4R was commissioned to replace AM4, which was also lost on launch in 2011.

http://www.astrium.eads.net/
http://eng.rscc.ru/

In August 2011, the Russian Satellite Communications Company lost contact with the $265-million Express AM-4 satellite shortly after launch aboard a Proton-M rocket from Kazakhstan. The Express AM4, based on Astrium's Eurostar E3000 satellite design, is the largest of the Express satellites so far. IT is equipped with a total of 63 active transponders in L-, C-, Ku- and Ka-bands and 10 antennas, both fixed and steerable. Its mission is to deliver digital TV, Internet and telecom services for eastern Russia. 

AT&T Adds Solar Mobile Charging Stations in NY

This summer, AT&T will nearly double the number of solar mobile charging stations available in outdoor locations throughout the five boroughs of New York City.

The charging stations are open to anyone with a mobile phone or tablet to charge their device for free at one of the AT&T Street Charge units in parks, beaches and outdoor gathering spots.

"AT&T Street Charge grew out of a need for a sustainable power source during Superstorm Sandy and took on a life of its own when we deployed more than two dozen solar-powered units around the city last summer. We're excited to expand the program this year to more locations for longer periods of time so that anyone who needs a charge on the go can find one," said Marissa Shorenstein, New York State President, AT&T.

The full list of StreetCharge locations is posted here:

http://www.att.com/attstreetcharge

Emerson to Sell Connectivity Business to Bel Fuse

Emerson agreed to sell its Connectivity Solutions business unit to Bel Fuse for $98 million.

Currently a part of Emerson’s Network Power business, with 2013 revenue of more than $80 million, the Connectivity Solutions  business offers fiber optic, radio-frequency and microwave-coaxial technologies that safeguard network reliability. Its brands include Stratos optical technologies, Johnson, Trompeter, Midwest Microwave, Semflex, Vitelec Electronics, AIM Electronics and Cambridge Products. The business unit is based in Bannockburn, Illinois.

“Although the business no longer aligns with our long term strategy to strengthen our core global franchises, it offers Bel attractive growth opportunities and is consistent with its strategic direction,” said Jamie Froedge, Emerson’s Vice President, Acquisitions and Development. “We will work closely to ensure a smooth transition for customers and employees.”

Dan Bernstein, Bel’s president, said, “This is Bel’s third major acquisition in the past 14 months; all together, these acquisitions will increase our revenue from $283 million, pre-acquisition, to approximately $705 million annually.  We are proud that Emerson Inc, ABB Ltd. and TE Connectivity Ltd., have determined in the best interest of their shareholders, customers and employees to entrust these businesses to Bel and we look forward to growing these organizations.”

http://belfuse.com/
http://www.Emerson.com

See also