Why Operators Are Considering E-Band Backhaul to Solve Data Capacity Issues
By David Silvius, Director, Strategic Marketing, Richardson RFPD
Mobile broadband demand continues to reach new, all-time highs, and mobile broadband operators are under ever-increasing pressure to deploy greater backhaul transmission capacity. Today, many operators are looking for ways to augment existing microwave macrocell backhaul deployments and design higher data capacity into their newer systems. E-band (the IEEE-licensed range of 71 to 86 GHz), millimeter wave, point-to-point radios are proving to be a viable option.
The key advantages of E-band backhaul solutions over lower frequency wireless backhaul include higher data rates, reduced interference, and increased frequency reuse, as well as increased capacity and reduced circuit complexity for a given system size.
Increased Capacity and Data Rates
E-band supports LTE, as well as 2G and 3G networks and offers a relatively large swath of spectrum available for microwave transmission, particularly when compared to other microwave bands, which are becoming increasingly scarce. Additionally, because E-band spectrum is widely available at low cost, channels can be made substantially wider than traditional microwave bands. This combination of wider channels and E-band’s inherently high bandwidth enables E-band radios to provide significantly higher data rates.
Low Interference and Increased Frequency Reuse
A built-in advantage of using E-band for high-capacity backhaul is that coverage area is inherently less than with lower frequency bands, often less than 1km. When combined with narrow point-to-point beam forming, the result is that interference between E-band radio bands is much less likely, and in turn enables increased frequency reuse.
The combination of increased capacity and higher data rates is a major factor in E-band momentum as a backhaul solution. Additionally, when compared to traditional backhaul antennas, E-band antennas are easier to install, smaller and lighter. Finally, E-band backhaul frees-up lower frequency backhaul, with the result being that older systems would benefit as well, gaining improved performance as data shifts to E-band.
E-band Component and Equipment Costs vs. Spectrum Costs
Although component and equipment costs for E-band backhaul are currently higher than for lower frequency systems, those costs are expected to drop as more systems are deployed and production volumes increase. That decrease in component and equipment costs will spur further adoption of E-band backhaul, since spectrum costs are already extremely low.
Examples of E-band Backhaul Solutions
Manufacturers of E-band solutions and devices are providing mobile broadband operators with an increasing range of choices that are ideally-suited for next generation telecommunication applications, including high capacity backhaul.
United Monolithic Semiconductors (UMS) recently introduced a low noise amplifier and two medium power amplifiers for E-band applications. The three new devices operate between 71 and 86 GHz and are available in chip form with BCB layer protection, making them ideal for high capacity backhaul.
The CHA2080-98F/00 low noise amplifier (LNA) features variable gain and integrates four stages. Additional key features include:
• Broadband performance: 71-86 GHz
• Low noise figure: 3.5 dB
• High gain: 22 dB
• Dynamic gain control: 12 dB
• P1dB: 10 dBm
• DC bias: Vd=3.5V @ Id=75 mA
• Size: 3.35 x 1.12 x 0.07 mm
The CHA3080-98F/00 is a three-stage monolithic medium power amplifier (PA) and includes a power detector with a dynamic range of 20 dB that integrates a directional coupler, a detection diode, and a reference diode to be used in differential mode. Additional key features include:
• Broadband performance: 71-76 GHz
• Linear gain: 16 dB
• P1dB: 19 dBm
• DC bias: Vd=3.5V @ Id=280 mA
• Size: 3.96 x 1.78 x 0.07 mm
The CHA3090-98F/00 is a similar PA, but operates at a higher frequency range. Key features include:
• Broadband performance: 81-86 GHz
• Linear gain: 13 dB
• P1dB: 17 dBm
• DC bias: Vd=3.5V @ Id=280 mA
• Size: 3.36 x 1.78 x 0.07 mm
TriQuint Semiconductor is another example of a leading supplier offering devices specifically for E-band backhaul. One such product is the TGA4705-FC, a flip-chip low noise amplifier designed using TriQuint’s proven 0.13 μm pHEMT process and front-side Cu / Sn pillar technology for reduced source inductance and superior noise performance at frequencies of 72 to 80 GHz. Additional key features include:
• Noise figure: 5 dB at 77 GHz
• Gain: 23 dB
• Bias: Vd = 2.5 V, Id = 60 mA, Vg = +0.18 V, Typical
• Size: 2.24 x 1.27 x 0.38 mm
TriQuint also offers the TGA4706-FC, a flip-chip medium power amplifier designed to operate from 76 to 83 GHz, built with the 0.13 μm pHEMT process and front-side Cu / Sn pillar technology for simplified assembly and low interconnect inductance. Additional key features include:
• Psat: 14 dBm at 77 GHz
• Gain: 15 dB
• Bias: Vd = 3.5 V, Vg = +0.2 V, Idq = 125 mA, Typical
• Size: 1.86 x 1.37 x 0.38 mm
All of the E-band devices mentioned in this article are in stock and available for immediate delivery from Richardson RFPD. To find more information, please visit our website.
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