Deploy Microwave everywhere & Fiber where possible by 2020

Now that the excitement of Layer123 Microwave’s Event has sunken in, it’s time to look back and review the event’s highlights. All the leading vendors, Alcatel-Lucent, Huawei, NEC were there, exhibiting and engaging, but also many operators showed interest mainly to listen and learn from the opinion leaders. Main topics discussed were about the existing microwave thrasnformation through network transformation, SDN, network virtualization, SON and future of small cells. Solutions and cases were presented around those topics.

A very successful event counting over 200 delegates, and very well organized for a second year in the city of Düsseldorf. The Layer123 microwave community is growing, becoming very solid and ready to look into the future microwave technologies’ transformation towards 2020. Everybody agreed that capacity, cost, QoS and other similar business requirements could drive innovation developing new concepts such as 5G and SDN.

But what’s new for microwave and backhaul in 2014?

More virtualization, innovation, transformation and automation in a combination with higher capacity and lower jitter could be roughly the answer.

Turkcell raised the fact that regulatory plans usually shape the decision between E-band and V-Band technology, depending on the licenses’ fees, a fact that is already well accepted and could end up into a real headache for vendors. The trend for outdoor deployment is also complemented with NLOS as presented from Turkcell and Fastback (several cases), a technology that remains an option for Small Cell backhauling, AnyLos network and rural long distance applications.

Regarding the role of wireless backhaul connectivity as the keynote speaker Andy Sutton from EE, stated, “Wireless access network connectivity may be backhaul and/or fronthaul” today and in the near future, as wireless backhaul is expected to extend its reach from fibre hubs and carry significant volumes of data traffic from rural areas.

Vendors focused on innovative solutions describing future network cases across LTE-A, new network design models and ofcourse fronthaul. For example Alcatel Lucent described how IP/MPLS could optimize operations and network connectivity of a high volume of small cell deployments. SDN was extensively discussed from Alcatel-Lucent, Huawei and Intracom Telecom as Transport SDN and Network Virtualization are expected with the proper software upgrade of the existing microwave along with NFV to provide new sophisticated functions at lower cost.

Do we really understand everything, about the future transmission transformation? Ofcouse not, as Dejan Bojic describing a small part of NEC’s vision comments, “QoS will shift towards SDN but the architecture is not well understood” urging also the essence of Cloud RAN and HetNets during his speech.

How about Self Optimized Networks, Automatic Network Planning and Design. Huawei and Exelixisnet agreed on the need of Big Data Analysis translated into real time and global network statistics that could promise cost and power savings as well as O&M simplification.

Small Cells has become a “next year thing” although early 2015 is a more feasible milestone where most of the current mobile operators’ RFIs and RFPs conclude and possibly that could drive a healthy and growing deployment. That is extremely important as many vendors are still waiting to pay off their new products and investments in the Small Cells arena no matter if that is Europe, China or even USA.

Spectrum is always in the top of the agenda and major concerns raised towards 2020 regarding the lines between transmission and access. Will the transmission be able to stand against the pressures from access as a more demanding application, including the 5G spectrum? that is still uncertain but the community stands for backhaul and transmission.

Finally among the event’s highlights, was the last panel, presenting a Millimeter wave forum idea, consisted of leading operators (Vodafone Group and EE etc.) and leading microwave vendors (Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Huawei, NEC etc.). This forum aims to work on standards and solutions with a main target to form a solid microwave ecosystem.

ExelixisNet was among the event’s Analyst Partners.


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