5G backhaul gets boost in separate trials by DNB and China Unicom – Developing Telecoms

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Ericsson and Huawei have made separate announcements showcasing advances in carrier aggregation for 5G microwave backhaul – one with Malaysian 5G wholesaler Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB) and the other with China Unicom Inner Mongolia, respectively.

Ericsson announced on Thursday that DNB has successfully trialled its multi-band booster solution for mobile backhaul that could boosts the overall capacity and coverage of DNB’s 5G network.

A multi-band booster is a type of carrier aggregation solution that combines the traditional microwave bands (6-42 GHz) and the millimetre-wave E band (70/80 GHz) for mobile backhaul links. The idea is to give those links the reach of traditional microwave and the capacity gains of mmWave.

Thus says Ericsson, the solution not only enables wireless backhaul links to travel much longer distances between cell towers and the core network, but also boosts overall network capacity.

The DNB trial utilized Ericsson’s Mini-Link 6352 for the E band and the Mini-Link 6365 and Mini-Link 6371 for traditional microwave bands. This combination extended the reach of E- up to two times, and enhanced capacity of the traditional band by five times, Ericsson said.

Ericsson also said the multi-band booster solution provides an energy efficient, faster, cost-efficient and simplified solution for extending 5G to rural and underserved areas, particularly for use cases like fixed wireless access (FWA). For example, enterprises in rural areas could use the solution to connect different sites within their enterprise networks without having to wait for fibre to be available.

If nothing else, said Ericsson, it also gives microwave backhaul the capacity and reach to support evolution to 5G Advanced in rural areas, said David Hägerbro, head of Ericsson Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

“The capacity and speed that can be delivered means that the network is capable of supporting the demands of 5G as the technology evolves,” he said in a statement. “The success of this live test, that was done on a congested site, shows that the DNB 5G network is ready with advanced 5G solutions that will open up new services for both consumers and enterprises, even in rural areas.”

Huawei and Unicom combine five microwave bands on one antenna

Meanwhile, Huawei said on Thursday that the Baotou branch of China Unicom Inner Mongolia has completed the world’s first commercial test Huawei’s MAGICS LH long-haul microwave solution that supports five frequency bands on a single antenna.

Operators need to use multiple bands to get more capacity out of their microwave backhaul links, but that traditionally requires installing a separate antenna for each band. According to Huawei, its MAGICS LH solution combines five bands – 6 GHz (upper and lower), 7 GHz, 8 GHz and 11 GHz – onto a single antenna.

This reduces the number of antennas required by 67% compared to conventional solutions, which also translates into reducing microwave backhaul hardware costs by more than 70%, Huawei said.

Unicom’s Baotou test involved deploying a microwave link spanning 36 km using the 12+12 SD scheme with 1.8-m and 1.2-m antennas. Huawei says the link delivered 10 Gbps for 5G backhaul between two sites, which is “200% higher than the largest-capacity microwave link currently deployed elsewhere in Inner Mongolia’s live network.”

Huawei noted that the solution is capable of providing more than 20 Gbps over 50 km, depending on the deployment conditions and bands used.

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