BridgeWave backhauls backhaul links

Many companies are busy linking bigger-bandwidth circuits out to cell sites to handle increasing traffic volumes, but the inefficiencies of hubbing all those links can create a new set of challenges. Now, BridgeWave Communications is applying mesh network philosophy and high-frequency radio to the backhaul environment to aggregate traffic being backhauled from multiple cell sites.

The company's new 80 Ghz FlexPort system, being demonstrated at CTIA Wireless 2009 in Las Vegas this week, can support aggregate capacity of 1.5 Gbps, and BridgeWave is working to expand that to 2.6 Gbps. That bandwidth support with fit nicely in coming LTE or WiMAX 4G networks, in particular since 4G networks in some cases will be built according to ring or partial mesh architectures, said Amir Makleff, CEO of BridgeWave.

BridgeWave also announced at the show that Alcatel-Lucent will be re-selling the company's multi-gigabot millimeter wave radios as part of its overall transport solution.

The company has three trials of the FlexPort that it will be conducting in the second quarter. "It could be a long sales cycle, but all of the big Tier carriers are already starting to do their backhaul planning for 4G," Makleff said, a statement that would appear to be backed up by Verizon Wireless' recent announcement that it will backhaul LTE traffic over carrier Ethernet links from sister firm Verizon partner Solutions.

Still, not all carriers will be ready to put all of their backhauled traffic over Ethernet, however; some will stick with TDM circuits for a while, or may use a hybrid approach. Makleff said the FlexPort connects to TDM base stations, which could be particularly attractive where mobile carriers still have many legacy cell sites in operation, but also supports IP and Metro Ethernet Forum quality of service specifications.

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