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Intellimax MB2000

APPLICATION BRIEF

Mobile Backhaul
Solving the 4G/LTE &
5G Backhaul Dilemma
Mobile network operators are in a race
to expand existing network capacity and
coverage to meet the growing demand
of bandwidth-hungry end users. As 4G/LTE
capabilities are added to todays 2G/3G networks,
Macro Cell backhaul and aggregation network
requirements are rapidly rising from megabits-persecond into the gigabits-per-second capacity range. Fiber
penetration rates to cell sites remain low, and deploying new
fiber is cost-prohibitive, logistically difficult, and time-consuming.
AOptix Intellimax completely re-creates the economics and timeline
for expanding mobile network infrastructures by shrinking the total cost of
ownership with the lowest cost per gigabit in the industry.

The Challenge

The Solution

Service Providers desperately


need innovative solutions to
address backhaul capacity
issues, particularly at the Macro
Cell and aggregate-backhaul
levels. Fiber is costly and not
feasible at all locations, and
legacy wireless solutions are
hitting critical limitations for
capacity and performance.

AOptixs high capacity wireless


solution is a true fiber alternative
that provides advantages both in
cost and speed of deployment for
mobile backhaul. Using first-ofits-kind Laser Radio Technology,
the AOptix Intellimax completely
re-creates the economics and
timeline for expanding mobile
network infrastructures.

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Key Benefits
Capacity: 2 Gbps with roadmap
to 10 Gbps and beyond
Availability: Carrier-Grade in all
weather conditions
Speed & Flexibility: Rapidly
deploy on any tower or structure
Lowest TCO: Typical ROI of 9 to
12 months compared to fiber
Distance: Up to 8 km per link,
unlimited in repeater mode

www.aoptix.com

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Mobile Backhaul Application Brief


AOptix Intellimax can be deployed on any tower or structure, greatly
simplifying network planning. Service providers can gain tremendous
savings compared to leased lines or constructed fiber circuits, while
maintaining complete control of their network.
AOptix Intellimax delivers these advantages through the use of a new
technology called Laser Radio Technology (LRT). This technology is the
first of its kind, combining Extended Range Optics (ERO) with Advanced
Millimeter Wave RF (AMW) into a wireless solution that delivers the high
performance previously only found in optical fiber solutions.
Figure 1: AOptix deployed for mobile backhaul

THE REQUIREMENTS OF 4G/LTE & 5G MOBILE BACKHAUL


In todays 4G/LTE wireless networks, there are many cell site topologies, configurations, and sizes, each with a specific
set of capacity and performance needs. As we enter into the era of LTE-Advanced, single cell sites will start to need
capacities of 1 Gbps and greater as a baseline capacity. And with 5G looming on the horizon, carriers are immediately
recognizing the need to plan for backhaul capacity growth beyond 1 Gbps.
Figure 2 below shows several commonly seen 4G/LTE network topologies, including important aggregation points.
In this Application Brief, 4G/LTE backhaul needs are broken down into three capacity-based categories: Small Cell
backhaul (up to 500 Mbps), Macro Cell/Macro Cell Aggregation backhaul (500 Mbps - 2 Gbps), and Super-Macro Cell
backhaul (1 Gbps-10 Gbps). This brief focuses specifically on the needs of the two larger categories: Macro Cell and

SERVICE PROVIDER 4G/LTE MOBILE BACKHAUL


CORE
NETWORK
SMALL CELL
AGGREGATION
BACKHAUL

SUPER
MACRO CELL
BACKHAUL

MACRO CELL
AGGREGATION
BACKHAUL
MACRO CELL
BACKHAUL
EXISTING
FIBER RING

4G/LTE Mobile Backhaul

SUPER
MACRO CELL
BACKHAUL

MACRO CELL
AGGREGATION
BACKHAUL

Super Macro Cell


1 Gbps 10 Gbps

MACRO CELL
BACKHAUL

Macro Cell
500 Mbps 2 Gbps

SMALL CELL
AGGREGATION
BACKHAUL

Small Cell
less than 500 Mbps

Figure 2: Capacity needs of common 4G/LTE network topologies and aggregation points

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www.aoptix.com

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Mobile Backhaul Application Brief


Super-Macro Cell backhaul. When top tier Service Providers and key telecom analysts are polled on the critical decision
points for Macro Cell backhaul, there are six requirements consistently identified as non-negotiable. As detailed in the
table below, these requirements are: Capacity, Distance, Performance/Availability, Speed of Deployment, Flexibility, and
Cost.

TOP SIX REQUIREMENTS FOR 4G/LTE BACKHAUL


SERVICE PROVIDER REQUIREMENTS

4G/LTE + 5G Capacities

CAPACITY

001011
011101011
0010010010
00101010101
0111010111
010101011
010101

MACRO
500 Mbps - 2 Gbps

AOptix Intellimax delivers a full 2 Gbps of data CIR


(Committed Information Rate), full duplex.
Does not use on rate-adaption or compression
Sends/Receives 2Gbps regardless of inclement weather
or variations in data content.

001011
011101011
0010010010
00101010101
0 1 1 1 0 1 0 1 1 1
010101011
010101

SUPER MACRO
1 Gbps - 10 Gbps

AOptix Intellimax covers up to 8 kilometers per link.


Unlimited distances using multi-hop repeater mode.
Link distance/availability combinations are precisely engineered to the unique needs of the network

AVERAGE DISTANCE
1 km to 8 km

DISTANCE
3

PERFORMANCE
& AVAILABILITY

-6
BER LESS THAN 10-9

UP TO
TO 55 9S
9S AVAILABILITY
AVAILABILITY
UP

RAPID
DEPLOYMENT

LOW COST
INSTALLATION

Fast & Simple Deployment


3

FLEXIBILITY
TOWER

FLEXIBLE
MONOPOLES

MOBILE
PLATFORM

BUILDING

TOTAL COST OF
OWNERSHIP

LOWEST
COST-PER-BIT

FASTEST RETURN
ON INVESTMENT

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AOptix Intellimax delivers carrier-grade availability


up to 8 kilometers
Performs in fog, rain, snow, heavy wind, and other
severe weather conditions at BER less than 10-9

Point-Acquire-Track (PAT) automatic software alignment


feature enables the AOptix Intellimax unit to be aligned,
and fully functional within a matter of minutes.
PAT significantly reduces installation costs.

SPEED OF
DEPLOYMENT

INTELLIMAX CAPABILITIES

AOptix Intellimax can be deployed on any type of tower or


structure, enabling extreme flexibility in site selection.
Deploys on a mobile platform (COW) in a matter of hours
Compensates up to 3 degrees of twist and sway caused by
heavy wind, ground vibrations or extreme weather.
AOptix Intellimax delivers Typical ROI of 6 to 9 months as
compared to trenching for new Fiber.
Typical ROI of 9 to 12 months as compared to
leasing Fiber from incumbent provider.

www.aoptix.com

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Mobile Backhaul Application Brief


TOP FOUR OPTIONS FOR 4G/LTE
& 5G MOBILE BACKHAUL
Driven by LTE-Advanced, todays Macro Cell and
Macro Cell aggregation backhaul needs are starting
to require capacities of 1 Gbps and greater. Just
a handful of technology solutions meet these
requirements, and each option offers a unique
combination of cost, capacity, and performance.
The top four solutions include traditional industry
technologies such as fiber, microwave, and
millimeter wave, as well as the next-generation

Laser Radio Technology (LRT)


Laser Radio Technology is the optimal backhaul solution for 4G/LTE
Macro and Super-Macro Cell backhaul links, especially when fiber is
costly or not accessible. Laser Radio Technology is currently found only in
the AOptix Intellimax product, and delivers 2 Gbps constant data rate in
all weather conditions at carrier-grade availability. A single link can range
up to 8 km, and can reach unlimited distances when joined together in a
multi-hop configuration. Laser Radio technology provides rapid return on
investment compared to trenching new fiber connections in urban areas
(typically 6-9 months), and compared to leasing fiber (typically 9-12
months). Laser Radio is based on technology first created for military
applications, and has been field-proven in heavy rain, fog, wind, snow,
and other extreme weather conditions.

technology called Laser Radio Technology (LRT).


Each of these four technologies address a segment
of the overall backhaul solutions needs (see insets
at the right for the pros and cons of each solution).
Fiber is the preferred choice for routes where
logistics are manageable, capacity need is high,
and the potential revenue gain offsets the excessive
costs associated with fiber. Laser Radio Technology
(LRT) addresses backhaul environments where high

Optical Fiber (New & Leased)


Fiber can be a good backhaul solution from a capacity and performance
standpoint. However, it is also by far the most expensive, difficult to
deploy, and time-intensive. Typical capex associated with installing
new fiber ranges from $450k-$900k per mile in dense urban areas.
Long lead-times due to acquiring permits and lengthy construction
for trenching also make new fiber installation an unattractive solution.
Alternatively, fiber can be leased from incumbent providers, however
these services typically run in the $5k-$10k per Gbps/mo opex range,
and can be much higher. Additionally, leased fiber is available at cell sites
less than 50% of the time.

capacity, carrier-grade reliability, rapid deployment,

Microwave RF (3-30 GHz)

and strong ROI are all critical for success.

Although traditional microwave (MW) has played an important role in


backhaul for 2G and 3G, the demands of 4G/LTE exceed its capability.
Some microwave vendors today claim to be able to deliver up to 2 Gbps,
but this is actually only achieved by sacrificing distance and availability.
In order to scale beyond 350 Mbps in traditional microwave bands, it is
necessary to transmit multiple signals using multiple RF channels. Each
channel requires additional electronics and spectrum licenses, making
it difficult to achieve economies of scale. Attempting to deploy multiple
microwave dishes to increase capacity leads to major interference
issues, in addition to scaling challenges.

Millimeter Wave RF (60/80 GHz)


Figure 3: AOptix Intellimax delivers 2 Gbps Constant Information Rate

Microwave makes sense for lower capacity longdistance (greater than 10km) runs where fiber is
either logistically or economically infeasible. Legacy
Millimeter wave is mostly used in the subset of
short-distance applications where the deployment
environment can tolerate rain-fade impacts.

Traditional millimeter wave RF ( also called E-band) can be useful in the


Small Cell backhaul segment of the wireless backhaul network topology
(see Figure 2), but does not have the combination of capacity, distance,
and availability needed to be successful for Macro Cell backhaul. Rainfade and rate adaption are the main challenges that keep MMW from
being a viable solution beyond 1 Gbps. Beam-alignment is another major
issue; the pencil-width beams needed to deliver higher capacity links
dictate that units can only be deployed on stable structures, greatly
reducing network planning flexibility.

2014 AOptix Technologies | Doc#XXXXXXXXXX


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www.aoptix.com

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Mobile Backhaul Application Brief


CHOOSING THE OPTIMAL BACKHAUL SOLUTION
To make a decision on the best mobile backhaul solution for 4G/LTE Macro Cell backhaul, the choice always comes
back to the six critical requirements identified by Service Providers: Capacity, Distance, Performance/Availability, Speed
of Deployment, Flexibility, and Cost. As discussed previously, Macro Cell backhaul solutions need consistent data
rates of at least 500 Mbps - 2 Gbps, with the ability to scale to greater capacities as network needs grow. Traditional
microwave and millimeter wave (e-band) simply cannot provide constant data rates for these capacities at carrier-grade
availability. The Decision Matrix below (Figure 4) gives a clear view of how the top four backhaul technologies match up
to the Critical Six main requirements for Macro Cell backhaul.

Decision Matrix for 4G/LTE Mobile Backhaul

REQUIREMENTS
1

CAPACITY

DISTANCE

NEW FIBER

LASER RADIO
TECHNOLOGY

TYPE

AOPTIX
INTELLIMAX

LEASED FIBER

MILLIMETER
WAVE

MICROWAVE

FIBER BASED

WIRELESS

(260 Mbps)

(2 km max)

PERFORMANCE
& AVAILABILITY
SPEED OF
DEPLOYMENT

FLEXIBILITY

TOTAL COST OF
OWNERSHIP
OTHER
CONSIDERATIONS

N/A

BEST
Rapid ROI
fast deployment

POOR
Trenching permits
needed, and
high up-front
investment

POOR
Significant OPEX
cost for major
carriers

(Buildings only)

MODERATE

GOOD

Limited spectrum
availability

Severe distance
limitations due to
rain fade

Figure 4: Decision Matrix for Macro Cell and Aggregate Level (greater than 1 Gbps) Wireless Backhaul

WHAT IS LASER RADIO TECHNOLOGY?


Developed by AOptix, Laser Radio Technology (LRT)
is the first of its kind in the wireless industry. This
technology combines extended range optics (infraredfrequency based technology) with an advanced form of
millimeter wave RF (radio-frequency based technology)
in a way never previously possible. Laser Radio
Technology transmits redundant information over the
two diverse frequencies and then utilizes advanced
algorithms at the receiving end to composite the
data from the two frequencies in real time. These two
outputs are fused at the byte level to yield an error-free
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Figure 5: AOptix delivers Carrier-Grade Performance in Fog

www.aoptix.com

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Mobile Backhaul Application Brief


signal, as depicted in Figure 6. This results in a system performance that is greater than the sum of its parts, yielding bit
error rates comparable to fiber performance.

LASER RADIO TECHNOLOGY (LRT)

Tx TRANSMISSION

Rx RECEIVER
ADVANCED WAVELENGTH DIVERSITY

Extended Range Optics (ERO)


2 Gbps
REDUNDANT
SIGNAL

Merges the data streams from Extended Range Optics and


Advanced Millimeter Wave transmissions at the byte level
using Dynamic Packet Resourcing (DPR) technology.

Leverages the power of astronomy-based Adaptive Optics


to improve traditional Free Space Optics through
real-time atmospheric correction.

A DA PT I V E O PT I C S
FREE SPACE OPTICS
2Gbps
DATA IN

Advanced Millimeter Wave(AMW)

Redundant
2 Gbps Data
Transmission
Through Air

Dynamic
Packet
Resourcing

2Gbps
ERROR FREE DATA

Expands the link budget of traditional Millimeter Wave by


creating a tightly-steered version using Active Beam
Steering (ABS) technology.

2 Gbps
REDUNDANT
SIGNAL

A D VA N C E D

B E A M ST E E R I N G

MILLIMETER WAVE

RESULT: LASER RADIO TECHNOLOGY


The combined data stream generates an error-free
wireless signal that can withstand fog, rain, high
winds, snow, and other extreme weather.

Figure 6: Conceptual Description of Laser Radio Technology

Traditional wireless technologies have inherent weaknesses in inclement weather due to specific frequency
susceptibilities. AOptixs breakthrough innovation was to merge together diverse yet complementary technologies
to create a completely new type of wireless: Laser Radio Technology. LRT delivers far greater performance than the
stand-alone component technologies could ever provide on their own, and Laser Radio has been proven in multiple
field deployments to successfully withstand rain, fog, wind, and other extreme weather scenarios that would cause
legacy wireless solutions to fail.

THE SOLUTION FOR 4G/LTE BACKHAUL


Ultimately, the choice of a mobile backhaul solution
is always based on the needs at the critical
aggregation points in a service providers network.
For the vast majority of Macro Cell wireless backhaul,
this comes down to a decision between trenching
for new fiber, leasing existing fiber, or deploying
a wireless solution, whether thats microwave,
millimeter wave, or Laser Radio technology.

2014 AOptix Technologies | Doc#XXXXXXXXXX


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www.aoptix.com

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Mobile Backhaul Application Brief


When carrier-grade availability is non-negotiable, highcapacity is demanded, and fiber is too expensive or
unavailable, Laser Radio technology provided by the
AOptix Intellimax is the optimal solution for the needs of
4G/LTE backhaul.
The AOptix high capacity wireless solution is a true
fiber alternative that provides advantages both in cost
and speed of deployment. AOptixs Intellimax can be
deployed far more rapidly than fiber, and provides a
return on investment between 6 to 12 months compared
to trenching or leasing urban fiber connections.
Additionally, AOptix Intellimax enables the flexibility to
deploy on any tower or structure, greatly simplifying
site identification and network planning.

Figure 7: AOptix customer installation transmitting above the Chicago skyline

Consider how these capabilities can transform your network and business. With AOptix Intellimax, you can gain
tremendous savings compared to leased lines or constructed fiber circuits, while maintaining complete control of your
network. Contact us today to learn more about how AOptix can solve your mobile backhaul challenge.

Contact Us

AOptix Technologies, Inc


675 Campbell Technology Parkway
Campbell, CA 95008
(408) 558-3300
sales@aoptix.com
About AOptix
AOptix Technologies Inc. is transforming
wireless communications with ultra-high
capacity wireless technology that delivers an
unprecedented combination of bandwidth,
availability and distance. AOptix unlocks new
market opportunities for service providers
and enterprises, enabling diverse applications
such as mobile backhaul, fiber diversity, fiber
extension, disaster recovery, and enterprise
last-mile solutions. AOptix is a privately held
company based in Campbell, California.

2014 AOptix Technologies | Doc#XXXXXXXXXX


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www.aoptix.com

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