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UK Broadband Deploys Siklu E-band Millimeter Wave Gear to Backhaul London Small Cell Traffic

Leading UK service provider UK Broadband, which has been using Siklu 70-80 GHz E-band millimeter wave equipment in its customers’ wireless solutions, is now putting those same systems to work in backhauling small cell traffic for its central London 4G network.

UK Broadband, the nation's largest commercial holder of radio spectrum suitable for 4G mobile services and fixed wireless solutions, has built a 4G network across central London. That network uses a combination of macro and small cells, with fiber as the primary backhaul medium and microwave backhaul to connect the macro cell sites and the fiber drop points. Typically, UK Broadband uses a combination of 42 GHz and 28 GHz broadband, where the company owns spectrum.

The UK Broadband 4G network also incorporates small cells installed on street lighting columns, similar to lightposts but thicker and with less sway. What UK Broadband needed was a cost-effective backhaul solution to be mounted on those columns that would take up very little space.

After ruling out standard microwave links because of their bulky dish size and weight, UK Broadband looked at the EtherHaul-1200 system from Siklu, the industry leader in the E-band millimeter wave market. UK Broadband was familiar with EtherHaul's compact size, low cost, and low power requirements, and recognized its potential in small cell backhaul.

With space at a premium on the street lighting columns, the backhaul antennas must be as compact as possible. As Steve Hobbs, CTO of UK Broadband, pointed out, “Siklu’s dish is small and unobtrusive, and that was an important consideration.”

The EtherHaul system also features low power requirements, which can be delivered via Power over Ethernet (PoE) or direct 48-volt power from the small cell. Those power features keep operating costs low even as EtherHaul delivers the capacity necessary for the backhaul traffic.

“The cost of Siklu compared to standard microwave is very competitive," Hobbs added. "The equipment itself is lower cost, and installing it can be done simply and inexpensively as well. All you need is line of sight to your cell site."

In testing EtherHaul as a small cell backhaul solution, the equipment performed as expected, providing very stable throughput. UK Broadband is using both the TDD and FDD versions of EtherHaul, taking advantage of the strengths of each in different backhaul scenarios.

As the company continues to expand the 4G network, UK Broadband intends to use EtherHaul across all of their street light column sites where there is line of sight and a transmission distance less than one kilometer.

"This is one more application where EtherHaul is the ideal solution," said Andrew Westerman, Siklu's Sales Director for Western Europe. "We have been at the forefront of millimeter wave backhaul design for a number of years, and we continue to innovate to enable operators to deploy mobile backhaul solutions and keep their total cost of ownership low."

About Siklu

Siklu builds gigabit millimeter-wave wireless backhaul solutions over the 70/80 GHz E-band and 60 GHz V-band. Based on a unique all-silicon design that reduces price, minimizes the form factor, and increases reliability, Siklu's radios are ideal for macro and small cell backhaul. Leveraging this state-of-the-art all-silicon radio technology, Siklu developed the EtherHaul-600T, a palm-sized all-outdoor small cell backhaul product that allows rapid deployment anywhere, including street lamps, rooftops, and the sides of buildings. Representing a crucial advance for mass deployment of small cells, the integrated, all-silicon Siklu approach brings down costs to a fraction of other millimeter wave solutions. Siklu's field-proven technology is becoming the top choice of Tier 1 operators for gigabit backhaul worldwide, and thousands of units have been deployed and are operating reliably in all weather conditions.

About UK Broadband

UK Broadband Limited provides wireless data capacity, equipment, services and solutions to the telecoms industry, service providers, channel partners and the public sector. UK Broadband switched on the first 4G LTE system for commercial services in the UK in February 2012 and is the UK's largest commercial holder of national radio spectrum suitable for 4G mobile services and fixed wireless solutions. UK Broadband is a wholly owned subsidiary of PCCW Limited (PCCW), the holding company of HKT Group Holdings Limited, Hong Kong's premier telecommunications provider and a world-class player in Information and Communications Technologies (ICT).

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