Vodafone trials new microwave E-band tech in Romania

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Vodafone has been testing new forms of E-band microwave technology in Romania, as it looks to improve its backhaul capability.

E-band operates in the 70-80GHz frequency range and is best used to send data over very short distances between two fixed locations.

The operator has worked with Huawei in Romania to try and improve E-band to send data over longer ranges. It recently used the vendor's multi-band link technology, which brings together E-band and microwave ethernet, to provide 4GBps link capacity in suburban areas between two sites seven kilometres apart.

A separate configuration of E-band hit speeds of 10GBps in urban areas, with 99.9 percent availability over distances of more than a kilometre.

Ignacio Gonzalez, Senior Mobile Access Engineer, Vodafone Group Technology, said: "While we’re still in the testing phase, we anticipate that that the technology will significantly boost the performance of our backhaul network, which in turn will enable us to deliver a faster and more reliable service to our customers."

Vodafone currently uses E-bands in eight markets. It said it is looking at ways of deploying this new kind of technology in other markets.

It added that it was taking this approach to backhaul because the lack of widespread availability of fibre. 

Vodafone's European LTE customers are consuming up to three times as much data as they did on 3G, driving the need for more efficient backhaul.

Greek operator Cosmote has also recently worked with Huawei on new microwave technologies, testing "super dual band" last month.

Ericsson has also identified E-band as a means of boosting microwave backhaul capacity.