STOCKHOLM, Sweden Ericsson has developed a scalable microwave aggregation node for mobile networks which, according to the company's head of research, has the potential to increase significantly the pace at which operators can roll out 3G networks. The traffic node is already undergoing trials with several operators, and is due to be commercially available during the third quarter of this year.
Hakan Eriksson, vice president of research at the wireless infrastructure supplier, told CommsDesign.com that since most rural base stations use microwave based point-to-multipoint backhaul links, "such equipment, in which Ericsson is a clear innovator and market leader, could play a key role in ensuring operators roll out their next generation mobile networks at a rate that satisfies their license obligations."
Ericsson says this latest addition to the Mini-Link line-up provides a ten-fold increase in aggregated transport capacity, while enhancing network quality, flexibility and control, and reducing site space by up to 70 percent.
Increasing the capacity of microwave transport networks - by far the most common technology used to carry traffic between radio base stations and other parts of the mobile network - traditionally involves extensive manual re-configuration, more equipment and additional installation and maintenance costs.
The Mini Link overcomes these limitations by providing highly scalable, cost-effective capacity that is configurable from a central management system, with greatly reduced space requirements.
The system can be scaled from a small, flexible node to one that provides capacity for up to 18 microwave links in one magazine, with a total aggregated transport capacity of up to 400Mbit/s.
The traffic node performs electronic switching of traffic between the different incoming radio links. This eliminates the need for extensive manual cabling when aggregating capacity from several radio base stations within a microwave hub site.
The overall impact is a reduced capital and operational expenditure throughout the lifetime of the transport network.
"The top priority of most mobile operators today is to increase capacity and maintain high service quality at the lowest possible cost," said Sivert Bergman, general manager of Ericsson's Transmission and Transport Unit.
"The new Mini Link traffic node enables operators with microwave networks to meet the new traffic demands of high-bandwidth, voice and data-oriented 2.5G and 3G mobile services at a lower cost and with increased network control than previously possible," added Bergman.