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David Williams
Global Director of Sales, Research
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Ethernet Microwave Technology Update
The world is going wireless not just on the access side, but for backhaul as well. Ethernet microwave technology promises to play an increasingly important role in the shift away from copper access and backhaul technologies such as E1s and T1s.

Ethernet microwave's speed advantage goes beyond throughput. Maybe its biggest edge is that it can be deployed far more quickly than copper lines or fiber lateral connections in a day or two, rather than 30, 60, or 90 days. That's a huge plus in the eyes of mobile operators, which sometimes have their service deployments delayed because of problems getting leased lines for backhaul. That in turn delays their time to revenue and can result in embarrassing coverage holes.

Microwave's relative ease of deployment also is a plus in the enterprise market. It costs an average of about $110 per foot to build a fiber lateral connection to an office building. So if a lateral has to run one-tenth of a mile, the average construction cost would be about $58,000. If the prospective customer will be spending, say, $2,500 per month for 1 Gbit/s of private local area network (LAN) service, then the payback period for installing that fiber lateral would be just under two years. But if the customer needs far less bandwidth, then the payback period grows exponentially, creating opportunities for microwave if the service provider can't make a business case for pursuing customers in those situations. Some service providers use one-tenth of a mile as the cut-off point for where they can justify putting in a fiber lateral connection for all but the biggest-spending customers.

Microwave also can complement fiber. For example, a service provider could use microwave to extend its fiber-based services into areas where it's not cost-effective to build lateral connections to the fiber backbone. Service providers also are using microwave as a part of an out-of-market strategy. For example, Qwest serves military bases around the U.S. by buying or leasing a fiber point of presence in a market and then using Ethernet microwave to connect to the military base.

So far, the vast majority of the market for Ethernet microwave is cell site backhaul: about $4 billion out of $5 billion, by some vendor estimates. But that dominance can be a mixed blessing, as well. One reason is that it ties Ethernet microwave to the cyclical wireless infrastructure market. Today, that market is trending up, as mobile operators such as Clearwire start building or expanding WiMax networks, which can benefit from Ethernet microwave's cost and bandwidth advantages. But what about other 4G mobile technologies? Will operators deploy them aggressively starting next year? Or will they wait until their 3G networks load up, indicating that there's sufficient consumer and enterprise demand for the mobile broadband?

This report explores analyzes the key technology and business issues that will affect the worldwide market for Ethernet microwave products through 2012. It looks at how Ethernet microwave will affect the competitive landscape for cellular backhaul in terms of improving mobile operators' ability to compete with one another and with wired rivals, and it assesses the impact on providers of fiber and copper broadband services. This report also profiles more than a dozen Ethernet microwave equipment vendors, offering insight into which companies are best positioned to emerge or remain as key players in the Ethernet microwave market.

Ethernet Microwave Technology Update provides critical insight and analysis for a range of industry participants, including:

Cellular network operators needing insight into how Ethernet microwave is being deployed to improve backhaul performance and cut buildout costs
Ethernet microwave technology suppliers looking for an independent assessment of the market opportunity for Ethernet microwave for backhaul and enterprise applications
Investors needing a better understanding of how the Ethernet microwave sector will develop, and which suppliers are most likely to emerge as the winners in this competitive market sector
Sample research data from the report is shown in the excerpts below:
Table of Contents (uni0608_toc.pdf)
Ethernet microwave technology suppliers offer a variety of performance options for backhaul, enterprise, and public safety applications. The following figure offers some basic points of comparison for products now available from 15 leading suppliers.
[click on the image above for the full excerpt]
Companies analyzed in this report include: Airlinx Communications Inc.; Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU); Aperto Networks Inc.; BridgeWave Communications Inc.; Ceragon Networks Ltd. (Nasdaq: CRNT); DragonWave Inc.; Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC); Exalt Communications Inc.; Harris Stratex Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: HSTX); Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT); NEC Corp. (Tokyo: 6701); Nokia Siemens Networks, a joint venture of Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) and Siemens AG (NYSE: SI; Frankfurt: SIE); Proxim Wireless Corp. (Nasdaq: PRXM); Redline Communications Group Inc.; and Trango Broadband Wireless, a division of Trango Systems Inc.
Total pages: 23
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