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Abstract and Figures

Unlike 4G LTE and its predecessor technologies, 5G evolution comprises of many other advanced use cases apart from conventional mobile broadband. With the introduction of 5G technology, networks will incrementally evolve to higher throughput and low latency. To assist such high capacity datarate, reliability and low latency, microwave back haul is a viable solution. With 5G rollout it is expected that E bands usage will continue to grow. Since 5G incorporates microwave bands, it is also expected that the microwave spectrum for fixed wireless network will go through a major transformation.
Volume 7 • Issue 1 • 1000155J Telecommun Syst Manage, an open access journal
ISSN: 2167-0919
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ISSN: 2167-0919
Journal of Telecommunications
System & Management
Uthayakumar, J Telecommun Syst Manage 2018, 7:1
DOI: 10.4172/2167-0919.1000155
Commentary Open Access
Microwave Backhaul in 5G Networks
Thakshanth Uthayakumar*
Department of Electrical and Telecommunication Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, South Eastern University of Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka
Abstract
Unlike 4G LTE and its predecessor technologies, 5G evolution comprises of many other advanced use cases
apart from conventional mobile broadband. With the introduction of 5G technology, networks will incrementally evolve
to higher throughput and low latency. To assist such high capacity datarate, reliability and low latency, microwave back
haul is a viable solution. With 5G rollout it is expected that E bands usage will continue to grow. Since 5G incorporates
microwave bands, it is also expected that the microwave spectrum for xed wireless network will go through a major
transformation.
*Corresponding author: Thakshanth Uthayakumar, Department of Electrical and
Telecommunication Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, South Eastern University
of Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka, E-mail: thakshanth.u@gmail.com
Received January 07, 2018; Accepted March 23, 2018; Published March 29,
2018
Citation: Uthayakumar T (2018) Microwave Backhaul in 5G Networks. J
Telecommun Syst Manage 7: 155. doi: 10.4172/2167-0919.1000155
Copyright: © 2018 Uthayakumar T. This is an open-access article distributed under
the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted
use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and
source are credited.
Keywords: 5G; Microwave; E-band; SDN; Spectrum; Backhaul
Introduction
With the rollout of 5G technology the mobile broadband will go
through two dierent stages namely, mobile broadband and advanced
mobile broadband. At present 80% of the normal mobile broadband,
each radio site needs 25 Mbps and considering 100% of the radio sites,
maximum backhaul capacity required is 150 Mbps. Since advanced
mobile broadband will also come into play, the maximum required
backhaul capacity per each radio site would be in the range of 3-5 Gbps.
However, the present microwave backhaul is ready to support up to
10 Gbps trac in each radio site which makes it a very suitable solution
for 5G backhaul network. With the focus on new and enhanced use
cases, the transport networks need to support new types of radio
networks and interfaces. At the moment microwave technology is on
pace with 5G backhaul capacity demands as 10 Gbps and E bands
deployment, usage have become a reality. So, in upcoming years it is
expected that microwave will be able to support 100 Gbps links using
new frequencies and MIMO technology (Figure 1).
Backhaul Network Technologies
Telecommunication networks have now evolved from traditional
copper cable networks to ber cables and microwave radio networks.
Demand for high datarate, performance and throughput for trac
in network operator side have made this transformation and those
demands begin to grow exponentially.
Figure 2 depicts that Backhaul media distribution worldwide except
few countries evolved from copper to ber or microwave [1] radios.
In 2022, we can still see that more than 65% of the networks would
be connected by microwave technology. ere are regional variations
in adapting to or implementing microwave technologies in future
however it is obvious that the percentage of networks using microwave
as a backhaul remain almost the same since microwave technology is
continuously evolving and being able to catch up and deliver a decent
KPI in network performance. Figure 3 shows the regional variations in
usage of microwave backhaul at present and in 2022.
It is evident that 80% of network operators in developed mobile
broadband regions such as Western Europe are embracing microwave
technology and planning to introduce 5G with their existing microwave
links. Core and intercity aggregation networks are supported by
ber backhaul meanwhile spur areas area networks are connected
through microwave [2]. With the introduction of 5G, the demand
for aggregated network trac would increase and microwave can be
used as a last mile technology as well as for backhaul with high data
rate. 5G is also being called as the “mobile ber” for its extreme high-
speed broadband connectivity and low latency. In order to achieve this,
xed wireless through microwave can be used. It will be necessary to
upgrade or deploy new radios since 5G technology will be using higher
frequency bands. As ber investments have depreciation around 25
years meanwhile for microwave it’s in the range of 5.8 years. So it’s very
important that network operators do a thorough research and study
on what backhaul technology to implement and where to use ber.
Fiber networks can be used for core and aggregation networks while
microwave can be used to establish long hop backhauls and in uneven
terrain where ber deployment is impossible. And also microwave links
can be used as a backup or standby to ensure continuous service in ber
network downtimes.
Spectrum Transformation for Microwave due to 5G
Higher bandwidth, data rate and performance requirements have
required 5G to be implemented in microwave spectrum which means
that availability and usage of microwave as a backhaul will go through
a major transformation in next 5 to 10 years. And also, such impact has
made the importance and usage of E-, W-, D- bands to grow eventually.
E-band was introduced in US before 10 years and it took more years
for other countries to adopt and open the band. E-band has eventually
grown and at present more than 80% of countries with a known
telecommunication regulatory body status are open for deployment
of E-band. e main properties of E-band for network operators to
adapt it are higher capacities and low spectrum fees. Following Figure 4
illustrates worldwide approach and towards the use of E-band.
Invention of multi-band boosters and dual-band antennas have
supported and driven the growth of E-band usage since two bands
of dierent properties and be transmitted, boosted, and received. By
combining lower frequencies with higher frequency signals, high data
rate can be achieved for a long hop with incredible link availability.
e current market focus is on how to combine traditional bands with
Citation: Uthayakumar T (2018) Microwave Backhaul in 5G Networks. J Telecommun Syst Manage 7: 155. doi: 10.4172/2167-0919.1000155
Page 2 of 5
Volume 7 • Issue 1 • 1000155J Telecommun Syst Manage, an open access journal
ISSN: 2167-0919
E-bands and get the best output. Figure 5 illustrates optimum multi-
band booster congurations for traditional bands in combination with
E-bands. It can be seen that for mild climate, the same hop length can be
achieved at 70/80 GHz as for ≈26 GHz. For severe climate, the same hop
length can be achieved at 70/80 GHz as for ≈20 GHz. By applying some
exibility both up and down on the availability target for the traditional
band, it can be seen that the most relevant bands to combine with 70/80
GHz are 18-28 GHz in mild climate, and 15-23 GHz in severe climate.
is kind of multi-band combinations is extremely useful for countries
which has considerable temperature variations and climate changes.
E-band is able to assist 5G rollout meanwhile in near future
W-band (92.00-114.25 GHz) spectrum and D- bands (130.00-174.80
GHz) spectrum will also be standardized to support upcoming wireless
technologies. At present 4-5 GHz microwave links are used as long
backhaul but soon they ought to be replaced with dierent spectrum
because 5G rollout will start with 3 GHz but 5G networks will continue
to expand and operate at 5 GHz to enable high bandwidth and good
coverage. And also for special cases such as 5G hotspots, industry
applications and other use cases, some other spectrum bands such as
25 GHz, 38 GHz could be used. Figure 6 shows the current and future
Figure 1: Mobile broadband datarate requirements
Figure 2: Backhaul technologies comparison.
Figure 3: Microwave backhaul in different regions in world.
Citation: Uthayakumar T (2018) Microwave Backhaul in 5G Networks. J Telecommun Syst Manage 7: 155. doi: 10.4172/2167-0919.1000155
Page 3 of 5
Volume 7 • Issue 1 • 1000155J Telecommun Syst Manage, an open access journal
ISSN: 2167-0919
Figure 4: E-band usage conditions worldwide.
Figure 5: Multi-band combination recommendations.
Figure 6: Present and future spectrum usage of 5G and microwave.
Citation: Uthayakumar T (2018) Microwave Backhaul in 5G Networks. J Telecommun Syst Manage 7: 155. doi: 10.4172/2167-0919.1000155
Page 4 of 5
Volume 7 • Issue 1 • 1000155J Telecommun Syst Manage, an open access journal
ISSN: 2167-0919
operational simplicity, exibility and dynamic response.
Figure 8 shows that SDN in microwave technology is exponentially
growing and very soon it will surpass all other trends leading the way
towards network automation. e microwave SDN use cases described
have been conrmed by the European Telecommunications Standards
Institute in report ETSI GR mWT 16. e selected use cases are to be
deployed commercially in nearby future. At rst the network automation
will be introduced in regions with high network complexity where the
conventional network management can be replaced. Eventually such
approach will be adopted by network operators for their whole network
management and it is expected that in 2022, networks will benet from
network automation worldwide. SDN approach is based on decoupling
network management and control from data forwarding in the nodes
and its purpose is to make a programmable centralized controller with
a global view. e resources could be allocated and used dynamically
which would eventually increase whole system eciency and ensuring
very high quality of service. e need to simplify handling of several
complex networks and optimizing network trac ow could be achieved
by microwave technology when the microwave nodes will be embedded
with advanced packet control functionality. Limited deployment of
SDN trac control in microwave along with 5G backhaul is expected
trend in spectrum allocation and usage.
5G technology will comprise of low-band, mid-band and high-band.
Low-band will be used for rural connectivity and indoor connections in
urban areas. Mid-band enables decent coverage and good bandwidth.
High-band will be used in special industrial purposes and high capacity
connections such as space stations and research labs.
5G Network Capacity and Performance Requirements
e following gure shows the relationship between spectrum
eciency and Channel Bandwidth. From Figure 7 we can see that a
channel bandwidth of 1.75 GHz with eciency of 60% can achieve data
rate of 100 Gbps and also same data rate can be achieved by a channel
of bandwidth 4 GHz with channel eciency of 25% in microwave
technology. e network operator ought to trade o eciency, available
spectrum in order to achieve maximum data rate.
Microwave and SDN Automation
e rst wave of soware dened networking (SDN) has hit
the industry and the initial approach is to focus on automation
and centralization of network and services. 5G evolution calls for
Figure 7: Channel bandwidth and spectrum efciency.
Figure 8: Technology evolution in microwave backhaul.
Citation: Uthayakumar T (2018) Microwave Backhaul in 5G Networks. J Telecommun Syst Manage 7: 155. doi: 10.4172/2167-0919.1000155
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Volume 7 • Issue 1 • 1000155J Telecommun Syst Manage, an open access journal
ISSN: 2167-0919
to be seen in 2020. Such demands and future technology empowerment
using machine learning and articial intelligence can also be supported
by microwave technology.
References
1. Ericsson Microwave Industry Outlook 2017 report.
2. Ericsson Microwave Outlook 2017 webinar.
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ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any references for this publication.