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Published on July 3rd, 2014 | by Alexis Argent

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UK Broadband Deploys Siklu E-band Millimeter Wave Gear to Backhaul London Small Cell Traffic

UK Broadband has been using Siklu 70-80 GHz E-band millimeter point-to-point wave equipment in its customers’ wireless solutions, and is now putting those same systems to work in backhauling small cell traffic for its central London 4G network.

UK Broadband is the nation’s largest commercial holder of radio spectrum suitable for 4G mobile services and fixed wireless solutions, and has built a 4G network across central London.That network uses a combination of macro and small cells, with fiber as the primary backhaul medium and microwave backhaul to connect the macro cell sites and the fiber drop points. Typically, UK Broadband uses a combination of 42 GHz and 28 GHz broadband, where the company owns spectrum.

After ruling out standard microwave links because of their bulky dish size and weight, UK Broadband looked at the EtherHaul-1200 system from Siklu. UK Broadband was familiar with EtherHaul’s compact size, low cost, and low power requirements, and recognized its potential in small cell backhaul.

With space at a premium on the street lighting columns, the backhaul antennas must be as compact as possible. As Steve Hobbs, CTO of UK Broadband, pointed out, “Siklu’s dish is small and unobtrusive, and that was an important consideration.”

The EtherHaul system also features low power requirements, which can be delivered via Power over Ethernet (PoE) or direct 48-volt power from the small cell. Those power features keep operating costs low even as EtherHaul delivers the capacity necessary for the backhaul traffic.

The cost of Siklu compared to standard microwave is very competitive,” Hobbs added. “The equipment itself is lower cost, and installing it can be done simply and inexpensively as well. All you need is line of sight to your cell site.”

In testing EtherHaul as a small cell backhaul solution, the equipment performed as expected, providing very stable throughput. UK Broadband is using both the TDD and FDD versions of EtherHaul, taking advantage of the strengths of each in different backhaul scenarios.

As the company continues to expand the 4G network, UK Broadband intends to use EtherHaul across all of their street light column sites where there is line of sight and a transmission distance less than one kilometer.

This is one more application where EtherHaul is the ideal solution,” said Andrew Westerman, Siklu’s Sales Director for Western Europe. “We have been at the forefront of millimeter wave backhaul design for a number of years, and we continue to innovate to enable operators to deploy mobile backhaul solutions and keep their total cost of ownership low.”

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