Point-to-multipoint now a significant driver of microwave backhaul market

Mobile operators around the world are struggling to cope with exponential growth in the use of data services and it’s that growth that results in a corresponding demand for mobile backhaul infrastructure.

Either because of the economics, the installation disruption, or the timing, backhaul via traditional fibre or copper fixed links simply isn’t possible in many cases. Operators rely on microwave as the cost effective alternative and increasingly so in the developed mobile broadband markets of EMEA and APAC. Research released by Infonetics at the end of last year sized the microwave equipment market at nearly $6bn[1] in 2009 and suggested that the fundamental market drivers (demand for mobile broadband services) remain strong. Whilst microwave does not have the same economic and physical limitations of fixed link backhaul, it is limited by the availability of radio spectrum, a finite resource managed on a country by country basis and subject to demand from other commercial and civil sectors. That situation has led to the development of innovative ‘point-to-multipoint’ (PMP) microwave technologies that manage the available spectrum much more efficiently. The Infonetics research suggests that, “point-to-multipoint microwave and millimeter wave are two technologies likely to become significant drivers of the overall microwave equipment market.”
Spectrum suitable for PMP, such as that in the 10.5GHz range recently allocated by the Malaysian regulator, is available around the world and provides operators with an opportunity to adopt PMP in new build situations, and in the replacement and upgrade of legacy point-to-point microwave installations. Cambridge Broadband Networks (CBN), the point-to-multipoint (PMP) microwave backhaul provider believes that much of the worldwide market for microwave backhaul could now be satisfied by more efficient PMP solutions. Early adoption of the technology in countries such as Malaysia, where CBN has already shipped equipment and services valued in excess of $8mn, is delivering spectral efficiency, improved capacity and both capital and operational savings.

[1] Infonetics reported in Q4 2009 that Forecast Revenue for 2009 was estimated to be $5.998bn

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