Millimeter waves, in general, and E-Band, in particular, are gaining more and more traction. The combination of spectrum availability, the ability to use very wide channels, rates reaching up to 20Gbps per link and the spectrum cost advantage are a winning combination.
These advantages all appeal to the engineering and planning department in a service provider organization.
Things are a bit more complicated, however, regarding the operations department. There, E-Band is synonymous for “major headache” when it comes to the installation and commissioning process of such a link. This is especially true when it comes to link alignment. The fact that the beamwidth of an E-Band link is very narrow – with a main lobe of about 3˚ compared to 10˚ in microwave links – makes it very hard to align. In fact, some even describe the task of aligning an E-Band link as an art form. While not very common, there are tools such as telescope mounts and industrial laser pointers that assist in simplifying this task. Interestingly, there is a newer solution that dramatically simplifies E-Band alignment, even if it is just a by-product of that solution.
That solution is the multiband antenna.
Previously we have discussed in length the benefits of multiband. It allows extending E-Band’s limited reach without compromising on service availability, thus allowing 10Gbps and even 20Gbps of capacity with reach of more than 5 miles and 99.999% availability for high-priority traffic. The recently introduced multiband antenna allows the combination of both E-Band and microwave carriers used in such a multiband link into a single 2-foot antenna. This antenna reduces tower load and simplifies installation, and, as a fantastic side effect, allows you to use the microwave carrier as an alignment guide for the E-Band carrier. As both carriers use the same axis, once the microwave carrier is fully aligned, all that is left for aligning the E-Band carrier is some fine-tuning.
So, if you are using multiband in order to extend the reach of your E-band link without compromise on availability, you can leverage multiband antenna to reduce tower load as well as antenna alignment time.
To learn more, read our technical brief:
Multiband Solution for High Capacity and Reach Wireless Backhaul