Overcoming the 3.5GHz spectrum bottleneck for Broadband services

When it comes to broadband connectivity, a reliable, high-speed connection is an essential requirement of business and enterprise customers of any size. Fiber has been deployed in urban centers around the globe, however, even in the most developed countries today, there are still many locations where fiber deployment is impractical or unfeasible due to the huge costs incurred by roll-out, the lack of fast ROI or even physical obstacles to laying down the cables.


Where wired connections end, wireless connections pick up the gauntlet. Service providers typically choose Point-to-Point networks using mmWave. This solution is available in a wide range of frequencies (common bands are 26, 28 - and increasingly 60GHz).


Nevertheless, carriers and service providers working in mmWave bands require pure line of sight (LoS) between both sides of the link, which is not always possible in urban or even suburban environments. Therefore this solution is limited to a few hundred meters at best. Consequently, this type of solution requires a tower in close proximity to the customer, incurring extra CapEx and OpEx on the total investment, which in turn affects the viability of the solution.


Other service providers, mainly in CALA and Africa, provide business connectivity using the licensed 3.5GHz band which they have already paid for in the past with WiMAX deployment license fees. Unlike mmWave, the signal in this band propagates much better in near-LoS (nLOS) or non-LoS (NLOS) path scenarios – such as those often found between an operator’s tower and the business premises.


3.5GHz, as a licensed band, enables operators to offer SLA service and a committed information rate (CIR) - guaranteeing downlink and uplink speeds to their business customers. But the main challenge of the 3.5GHz band is the small amount of spectrum available. Most license holders do not own more than 20 to 40MHz.


To optimize the use of this scarce spectrum, a Point-to-Multipoint topology can be employed. Under the above spectrum constrains, a typical sector of a base station in this band delivers capacity of about 100 to 200Mbps at most. When considering a typical service package of 50-100Mbps per business customer with CIR of around 10-20Mbps – an average limit of 10 business customers can be served in a given sector.


The way to break through this bottleneck is by distinguishing between the different types of business customers: between big, lucrative clients who demand strict SLA service, and others (usually the majority) such as small businesses or small-office/home-office customers with less demand for SLA.


The newly-launched RADWIN JET DUO enables service providers to cater to these two customer segments over two different frequency bands - without adding any extra costs at the tower level. Lucrative SLA customers can be served over the licensed 3.5GHz band, and other business customers over the unlicensed 5GHz band. Each of the bands can provide a maximum capacity of 750Mbps – that’s a total of 1.5Gbps per base station!


Another approach service providers may choose to free up their 3.5GHz spectrum for business access, is by off-loading 3.5GHz customers in direct LOS scenarios to the 5GHz band, and keeping the 3.5GHz band for business customers in nLOS /nLOS scenarios.


Whichever network strategy they decide to employ, with JET DUO service providers now have greater flexibility to choose which band will best address a given customer, all through a single compact base station unit that eliminates the need for additional tower space and so reduces tower rental costs in terms of $/bit.


JET DUO uses RADWIN’s field-proven beamforming technology which has shown unparalleled radio interference immunity in challenging spectrum scenarios through hundreds of network deployments worldwide. JET DUO, in fact, contains two separate beamforming antennas - one for each band.   


Find out more about what JET DUO can do for your network - watch the webinar recording >>