Nokia took the wraps off a new range of 5G microwave transport products for its Wavence portfolio, targeting communications service providers and enterprises with both indoor and outdoor options.
Offerings include an outdoor nodal setup, featuring a networking interface module which can be plugged into an ultra-broadband transceiver (UBT) for either new deployments or to upgrade existing installations. The module is compatible with 80 GHz (E-band), twin and single UBTs, and supports “multiple directions, multiple interfaces and carrier aggregation.”
The vendor also unveiled two new Split Mount indoor units it claimed are the smallest on the market, and capable of withstanding extreme temperatures ranging from -40 to 65 degrees Celsius (-40 to 149 degrees Fahrenheit).
Altogether, Nokia said its expanded portfolio is capable of covering use cases spanning short-haul, long-haul, E-Band and SDN to support 5G rollouts.
Microwave transport is traditionally used in areas where fiber is either physically or economically impractical, and is expected to continue to play a significant role in networks as 5G rollouts continue. In a report issued in October 2020, Ericsson forecast 38% of global backhaul connections would be based on microwave technology by 2025.
Data from Dell’Oro Group showed the microwave transmission market declined 6% in 2020, thanks in part to losses early in the year caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Huawei held the highest market share, followed by Ericsson and Nokia. The latter had a particularly good Q3, outperforming the market alongside Aviat and Huawei, and increasing its E-Band market share 8 percentage points in the quarter.
The market research firm predicted the overall microwave segment would make a comeback in 2021, growing an estimated 4% to $3.1 billion.
In December 2020, Dell’Oro Group VP Jimmy Yu tipped demand for E-Band systems to accelerate and grow by more than 30% in 2021 “since 5G will require more backhaul capacity.” He added multi-band systems combining E-band and lower frequency links were also expected to become more popular, given these provide both increased capacity and resilience.
“Therefore, we cannot help but think that the adoption of multi-band links will be more mainstream than niche in the coming year,” he wrote.