Most wireless carriers connect their base stations to the networkbackbone using cables, but one new Canadian provider seems to be goingall wireless.

Globalive Wireless, which obtained spectrum a year ago, said last week it plans to use Horizon Compact to backhaul its network.

HorizonCompact is an 800 Megabit per second (Mbps) microwave Ethernet productmanufactured by Ottawa-based DragonWave Inc. Globalive says it agreedto use wireless Ethernet because it’s less expensive than leased linesand fibre.

Wireless carriers today are “pretty much relying onlegacy T1/E1 circuitry,” says Ronald Gruia, Toronto-based programleader for emerging telecoms at Frost & Sullivan.

“Eightyper cent of base stations in North America are using leased T1 linesfor backhaul and the modus operandi so far is to add T1 lines to handlethis increase traffic,” he said.

But adding more T1 linesincreases the cost, Gruia added. Optical networks take longer toinstall than microwave and are not as common in rural areas.

Gruia noted microwave does have some drawbacks.

“Itis somewhat vulnerable to adverse weather conditions, you sometimeshave line of sight issues and in some cases it does require licencedspectrum.”

In Europe, Gruia said, 60 per cent of carriers usemicrowave for their backhaul, though the percentage is much lower inNorth America.

This could change if Globalive’s decision turns out to save the company money while allowing more traffic on the network.

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