DragonWave Speeds Up Radio Backhaul for 4G

2012-10-11 16:14:29

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DragonWave Speeds Up Radio Backhaul for 4G
DragonWave Inc. (AIM/Toronto: DWI; Nasdaq: DRWI) has developed a faster microwave radio link to connect wireless carrier networks to the Internet in anticipation of heavier data loads from the growing number of "smart" consumer mobile devices.The microwave backhaul equipment vendor supplies radio products -- rather than fiber- or copper-based systems -- to connect a carrier's radio access network (RAN) to the wired Internet and the carrier's core network systems. Recently it expanded its portfolio with the acquisition of Nokia Siemens Networks 's microwave transport business. (See DragonWave Closes NSN Deal and DragonWave to Buy NSN Unit.)DragonWave is unveiling its first 2048 QAM radios on Monday, having tested the multi-megabit links in Odessa, Ukraine with operator Intertelecom. QAM, or Quadrature Amplitude Modulation, is a complex grid-based modulation scheme for improving the spectral efficiency of digital radio transmissions.In fact, DragonWave is claiming that the new radio technology can offer speeds of 550 Mbit/s on its existing Horizon Compact+ product. "We can get 30 to 40 percent more capacity out of the same amount of spectrum," claims Greg Friesen, VP of product management at DragonWave.DragonWave also includes so-called "Hitless Automatic Adaptive Modulation" technology to deal with QAM's little problem with rain: High-speed QAM links don't typically deal well with a rainstorm (or worse meteorological conditions), so the DragonWave system automatically reduces the speed when in wet conditions so that the connection doesn't drop all together."A worst-case scenario storm could take you down to 70 Mbit/s," Friesen says.
The updated QAM radio technology is a software upgrade for DragonWave's Horizon radios. It will start shipping next month.
Friesen says the vendor is targeting carriers worldwide that already have microwave backhaul networks and those that can't get access to fiber for new 3G and 4G builds. "Where the carriers and operators have fiber, they'll use fiber. Where they don't they'll use our system," he says, optimistically.Why this matters Users connected to 3G and 4G networks are buying more data-hungry devices that constantly connect to the Internet, so slow backhaul can often be the bottleneck in a mobile network's performance.At the same time, carriers around the world are screaming about a lack of spectrum, with backhaul connections being especially expensive, so any technology that can help boost backhaul capacity on existing spectrum is likely to attract operator attention. (See iPhone 5 Could Cause Local Data Crunches in US.)
iPhone 5 Could Cause Local Data Crunches in US
The near-doubling of Long Term Evolution (LTE) users on U.S. networks in the coming days and weeks -- thanks to the iPhone 5 -- could cause localized data congestion and slowdowns that will mostly affect existing users of 4G smartphones and tablets.Light Reading Mobile caught up with Bill Moore, CEO of RootMetrics , Friday afternoon after the launch of Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL)'s first 4G smartphone to talk about the likely impact of the device on AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), Sprint Nextel Corp. (NYSE: S) and Verizon Wireless 's fledgling LTE networks.(Check out What We Mean When We Say '4G' if you want a refresher on what LTE actually is.)RootMetrics surveys 3G and 4G network performance, with help from an app that users can install on their own smartphones. Moore says the testing area covers the "top 75 urbanized areas" in the United States.So what's going to happen with the new iPhone, Bill?The bad news Moore estimates there are up to 12 million to 13 million 4G LTE users currently in the U.S., and "they're predicting the iPhone 5 could sell 10 million in the first week," he says."That's a lot of new people on 4G all of a sudden. You've got a kind of doubling effect that could occur across the various networks, so that could lead to congestion and slowdowns," suggests Moore. "Plus, LTE users use their phone for data much more than 3G users, so that's going to be a challenge."He suspects that -- given the still spotty nature of 4G LTE deployments -- any impact will be felt in specific towns or cities rather than nationwide."It isn't going to crunch every city. It's going to be localized if it happens," he says "The slowdown would be experienced by people that are already on the network."That's most likely to be someone with an Android smartphone, as it happens. Verizon, for instance, sold 2.5 million Droids in the second quarter. (See iPhone 5: A 4G Stress Test.)The mitigating factors Wireless being the fluid, shared medium that it is, Moore stresses that it is difficult to give any exact predictions about iPhone LTE coverage and problems.Much, he suggests, depends on how "informed" the average consumer is about 4G LTE and whether they know that Big Red's 370-plus LTE footprint dwarfs its nearest rival in coverage across the U.S. -- although Verizon's pioneering 4G push means its network is also the heaviest loaded LTE network in the U.S. so far.If many people switch to Verizon as their 4G provider over AT&T, it could stress some of Verizon's 4G towns and cities.If AT&T's users stick by them for LTE and get the traditional iPhone subscriber bump, it could spell trouble for some of that operator's 72 LTE cities. (See AT&T Touts Best-Ever iPhone Sales.)Sprint? Moore expects it's least likely to be affected.The ironic twist
Apple and its carrier partners could be saved by the very success of the iPhone. Apple sold more than 2 million in pre-sales, so shipping dates for many of the devices have been pushed out by two weeks or more.This could give carriers time to examine the impact of the new iPhone and start to put load-balancing and capacity measures in place to deal with the anticipated influx of data-hungry 4G iPhonistas.
Euronews: Iran Prepares to Ringfence Internet
Iran, Everything Everywhere Ltd. (EE) , Spirent Communications plc (NYSE: SPM; London: SPT) and Nokia Siemens Networks start the week in today's jog through the EMEA headlines.Following the posting of an American-made anti-Islamic movie on YouTube that prompted protest throughout the Arab world, Iran has announced that it plans to block Google and transfer its citizens onto a separate domestic "Internet" network, reports Reuters. Officials claim the move is an attempt to improve cybersecurity, but Iran has a history of blocking access to what it deems to be "offensive" or "criminal"websites.European countries dominate a new Internet usage ranking released by the United Nations. In an extensive and insightful report, The State of Broadband 2012: Achieving Digital Inclusion for All, published by the Broadband Commission for Digital Development and freely available for anyone to access, eight of the top 10 nations in the "Percentage of Individuals Using the Internet" ranking are in Europe, headed by Iceland (with 95 percent). Of course, the real point of the ranking and the report in general is to identify the countries that fall below the average of 32 percent and to suggest ways in which those countries might boost their digital capabilities (and illustrate how such a boost can empower their citizens). You can see it right here. (See UN Reports on Global Broadband.)Everything Everywhere's plans to launch 4G services earlier than its rivals in the U.K. could still be thrown off-course by legal challenges, according to a report in the Financial Times (subscription required) that cites sources "close to the confidential negotiations" between the various operators concerned. A government-brokered "truce" that prevents such legal action is due to expire next week. (See Europe Set for LTE Laggard Status, Britain's Bloomin' LTE and Europe Set for LTE Laggard Status.)Spirent, the test and measurement specialist, is to sell its PG Drives Technology unit to Curtiss-Wright Corp. for US$64 million. PG Drives designs and supplies DC and AC controllers for electric vehicle applications in the medical mobility and industrial markets. The vendor recently announced the $52-million acquisition of Metrico Wireless Inc. (See Spirent Sells Non-Telecom Unit and Spirent to Buy Mobile Device Test Specialist.)NSN's cost-cutting program, which involves the loss of thousands of jobs worldwide, is ahead of schedule, according to CEO Rajeev Suri, speaking in a Reuters interview. (See Restructuring Costs Hit NSN's Q2 and NSN Could Lose More Than 17,000 Staff.)Romanian cable TV and Internet service provider RCS & RDS has deployed ECI Telecom Ltd. 's tasty OMLT (Optimized Multi-Layer Transport ) technology to provision 100Gbit/s channels on its existing transport network. (See Romanian Operator Does 100G With ECI and ECI's New Flavor of P-OTS.)
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