Global demands on microwave backhaul capacity and network build-out are far-reaching as the world heads towards 5G. But these are being met with a host of advances in microwave technology, additional spectrum, an efficient combination, and the use of machine intelligence.
Exactly when and how to introduce 5G New Radio (NR) will be decided nationally for each operator, but what they will have in common is the importance of not only securing spectrum for access but also for backhaul. It’s expected that there will be an increase in the variation of backhaul capacity needed for 5G NR, as operators choose to deploy with variable amounts of radio access spectrum and advanced radio features, to meet the specific needs at each location. Many have started shifting backhaul to future-proof frequency bands at new installations or when upgrading equipment.
E-band is not only becoming an essential backhaul band of high global alignment, but together with the 32GHz band, it will be an important prerequisite to facilitate the transition of some backhaul frequency bands to 5G NR access use. The 5G NR standardisation will enable a new way to backhaul, known as Integrated Access and Backhaul (IAB), or self-backhauling. This is expected to be useful for dense millimeter-wave 5G NR deployments on street-level sites.
With the introduction of 5G, the interest in E-band is high, as it can provide up to 10Gbps for even the most extreme dense urban sites. But capacities are constantly growing in all parts of the network, from urban to rural areas.
Ericsson is an Executive Member of GSA