Filtronic plc , the designer and manufacturer of RF, microwave, and mmWave products for the wireless telecoms, mission-critical communications and defence applications markets, is celebrating a decade of manufacturing transceivers for use in E-band backhaul radio links, which operate in the mmWave frequency ranges 71 – 76GHz and 81 – 86GHz.
E-band spectrum offers OEMs wide bandwidth, enabling them to provide 5G mobile network operators with high-capacity backhaul, midhaul and fronthaul (collectively known as XHaul). Dell’Oro estimated the global market for E-band transceivers at 83,000 in 2018, which then accounted for around 7% of wireless links being installed. Since then it has been growing at over 35% year-on-year, and is forecast to reach around 370,000 units by 2023.
“When we first developed our Proteus transceiver modules ten years ago, E-band was an attractive but challenging new technology for backhaul applications, offering a much higher data rate than had been possible in the traditional licenced microwave bands. Also, the highly integrated, pre-calibrated architecture was the first to simply drop-in between the baseband modem board and the antenna, enabling an extremely rapid time to market for our clients,” said Dan Rhodes, Director of Business Development ‒ mmWave Technology at Filtronic. “Since then, the use of E-band links for backhaul, and more recently for fronthaul and midhaul, has grown rapidly. Most recently this has been fuelled by the deployment of 5G networks, where more than 50% of the cells are being backhauled by wireless links rather than fibre.”
In February 2020 Filtronic launched Morpheus II, its latest generation of E-band mmWave transceiver modules, and in July 2020 it celebrated the milestone of having shipped a combined total of 50,000 units (including Proteus and its successors Theseus, Orpheus and Morpheus II).
Systems containing Filtronic’s core E-band technology have been successfully demonstrated at data rates up to 40Gbps. The compact form factor of Morpheus II modules makes them suitable for use in all types of mmWave XHaul applications, and their readily reconfigurable architecture also provides the ideal basis from which to develop systems for application in High Altitude Pseudo-Satellites (HAPS) and ultra-high capacity trackside to train links.