UK-based Vodafone Group and Chinese vendor Huawei have completed lab tests which the pair claim indicate that traditional IP microwave links could be a viable technology for 5G backhaul. In a blog post regarding the development, it was revealed that a trial conducted by the two companies had tested both the capacity and latency that could be achieved using a traditional IP microwave link. The tests reportedly showed that it was possible to deliver up to 2.7Gbps capacity from a single IP microwave link, aggregating 2×112MHz channels in a single vertical or horizontal polarisation. According to the pair, the development marks the first time that a single radio frequency (RF) outdoor unit had been capable of reaching over 2Gbps in a single polarisation. Commenting on the development, Eva Rossi, Head of Transport Product at Vodafone Group, said: ‘These tests demonstrate the feasibility of utilising microwave technology, as well as fibre, for effective 5G backhaul. As such, the results of this test are extremely positive for Vodafone as we prepare for the launch of commercial 5G services in the years ahead.’
In terms of next steps, meanwhile, Vodafone and Huawei plan to test whether it is possible to achieve 4Gbps total capacity in one box with the support of dual polarisation, while the duo will ‘also continue to innovate in microwave technology with the target to further improve the distance that Multi-Band and E-band links can transmit’.