Class 4 microwave antennaEditor’s Note: As we say good-bye to 2014, we look back at some of our most shared blogs of the year. We covered a wide range of network infrastructure topics, and we hope you enjoy revisiting some of these popular posts. This blog first appeared on Oct. 23, 2014. 

You may have seen a lot of information over the past several months about the advantages and benefits that high quality, regulatory compliant low side lobe antennas bring to microwave backhaul networks. But can you answer these questions?

What are the top three antenna-related limiters to backhaul capacity?

What are the four key backhaul antenna factors that drive total cost of ownership?

What are CommScope’s top five tips for optimizing microwave backhaul quality of service?

Click the links to access the answers after a brief registration.

Low side lobe antennas such as CommScope’s ETSI Class 4 compliant Sentinel range are the next generation of antennas ready to help improve capacity whilst reducing complexity and total cost of ownership in microwave backhaul networks. To deliver the best wireless broadband experience to subscribers, it is important to reduce interference in your network through the use of microwave backhaul antennas with low side lobes.

ETSI Class 4 antennas have far lower side lobes compared to the Class 3 products commonly used today. This allows spectrum to be used more efficiently, enabling more links to be allocated to fewer channels. In turn this allows increased network density creating room for future network expansion or reducing the amount of capital investment needed on spectrum at the outset. Class 4 antennas improve utilization of higher modulation schemes in backhaul radios, so that capacity can be increased significantly.

Efficient spectrum usage relies on more than just the radio technology. It relies on the infrastructure that supports the radio, as well. In wireless backhaul infrastructure, microwave antennas play an important role for the efficient utilization of spectrum and to overcome the challenges of interference.

The importance of microwave antennas in this regard has often been overlooked, however. That is why CommScope is running a campaign to get the message out. Microwave antennas are not a network component where concessions can be made and costs can be shaved, allowing low-cost, low-quality, non-compliant products to degrade network performance. These low quality antennas not only hurt network performance but waste spectrum and increase operating expenses.

The materials mentioned should give you a little more information about this topic. Feel free to leave me a comment if you have questions.

About the Author

Donald Gardner

Donald Gardner is a product line manager within the Microwave Antenna Systems team at CommScope and is based in Lochgelly, Scotland. Holding a Master of Engineering degree from the University of Strathclyde and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Edinburgh, he has been involved in the wireless communications industry for over 20 years. Prior to his current position, Gardner held various positions in quality and engineering within our microwave antenna group. His key expertise includes mechanical and process engineering of microwave antennas and product management of microwave backhaul solutions.

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