Vodafone is trialling new microwave technology that is set to quadruple current backhaul capacity in channelling voice and data traffic away from base stations while enhancing performance and quality of service levels for customers.
Vodafone has carried out a series of trials investigating the potential of Ethernet microwave which is capable of greatly enhancing the performance of existing microwave backhaul technology.
Under current estimates, the upgrade from typical microwave backhaul technology to Ethernet microwave backhaul technology is capable of raising peak capacity from around 32 Mbps to around 180 Mbps using the same frequency range.
The Ethernet-based point-to-point technology is also designed to support IP based traffic from the Radio Access Network by deploying an adaptive modulation technique that increases throughput, decreases latency while improving quality of service levels for customers.
As the performance boost is based on upgrading the cheaper electronics in the cabinet rather than the more expensive microwave dish itself, the move also offers cost efficiencies.
“As Radio Access Networks are upgraded to reflect growing demand for mobile broadband services, it is important to ensure that the backhaul is able to deliver on that potential,” said Andy MacLeod, Global Network Director of Vodafone. “The trials show that Microwave Ethernet technology can play a role in maintaining high levels of mobile broadband performance for our customers through adopting a holistic approach to maintaining service levels.”
The technology is expected to be commercially available from the end of 2009.
The initiative forms part of Vodafone’s Backhaul Evolution Programme designed to boost network efficiency and offer customers unparalleled levels of network performance. As well as replacing leased lines with more cost effective Microwave technology, the programme has seen Vodafone deploy both fibre and DSL to base stations in areas with particularly high demand for capacity.
The move comes as Vodafone continues to upgrade its Radio Access Networks to match growing demand for mobile broadband services, made more popular through the rise in sales of data dongles and attractive bundles offering more value for money.
Vodafone has already deployed hotspots offering peak theoretical speeds of 7.2 Mbps in selected countries across its global networks to ensure that customers are getting the performance they require.
Vodafone recently announced ongoing trials of HSPA+ technology achieving peak data download rates of up to 20 Mbps.
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Vodafone is the world's leading international mobile telecommunications company, with equity interests in 27 countries and Partner Markets in more than 40 countries. As of 31 December 2008, Vodafone had approximately 289 million proportionate customers worldwide. For further information, please visit www.vodafone.com.
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