How to Upgrade your Lightpointe MMW Millimeter Wave Links
Why upgrade your Lightpointe MMW link?
Lightpointe have announced by email that they are closing down operations and therefore cannot support their entire range of MMW links. It’s always sad to see a long established vendor close down, and means many Millimeter Wave link users will have to look for alternatives. Many users own MMW links including Lightpointe which are old and sometimes problematic. Often, users require higher reliability, uptime, capacity or distance than their older Millimeter Wave links can provide.
The Need for Reliability and High Availability
Modern IP networks demand higher capacity and uptime, and as MMW links are installed outdoors often in harsh conditions where they age faster than indoor mounted IT equipment such as switches and routers, which are installed in nice airconditioned environments. Modern Carrier Class wireless equipment is designed for all-outdoor use including harsh environments and can ensure ultra-high availability and reliability in practical use.
Alternatives to Lightpointe and MMW
There are many alternatives available including Carrier Class MMW from other vendors, MMW links with 10Gbps+ capacity, Microwave links and MIMO radio. These have different characteristics, capabilities and price points. Modern links can offer up to 40Gbps capacity and for low-end solutions, MIMO radios at lower price points than MMW for sites where budgets are tight.
If the customer requires a direct replacement MMW link, there are some trusted MMW vendors currently available with reliable shipping products.
Other MMW vendors currently offering carrier grade MMW:
Lightpointe – MMW Millimeter Wave – E-band and V-band links – Manufacturer information
Established in 1998, Lightpointe provides optical communications at the speed of light which operate license-free. With products capable of sending up to 10 Gbps full duplex of data, Lightpointe offers reliable, fibre-optic connections without the need for expensive physical fibre.
Lightpointe – Manufacturer information
Lightpointe (based in USA) is a Manufacturer of Millimeter Wave bridges/links
Built for line of site (LOS) with ranges suitable up to 1-8km
Ultra secure connections using narrow beams of light are secure from RF packet sniffers
Reliable availability with five nines availability
Licence free operation or light-licensed technology
Upgrading from Lightpointe Millimeter Wave E-band
Lightpointe state that AireBeam models are the most advanced millimeter wave links in the industry, bFor customers wanting the absolute longest range and highest availability, the Airebeam is the answer. Your data will fly between buildings using E-band or V-band frequencies.
E-band or V-band
1Gbps or 10Gbps full duplex
RJ45, PoE or Fibre Interfaces
Recommended for distances 1km up to 8km or more
Upgrading from Lightpointe Aire X-Stream Wireless Bridge
Lightpointe state that the LightPointe Aire X-Stream Millimeter Wave Wireless Bridge offers highly competitive pricing and extreme value for various distances . Utilizing an advanced V-band or E-band technology, these bridges transmit and receive data simultaneously for full duplex connectivity. Each side of the link can be ordered in a 1,000 Mbps or 10Gbps configuration.
Aire X-Stream System
1Gbps or 10Gbps
PoE or Fibre Optic
Recommended for 1-8km or more
The technical specifications listed above are those advertised by the manufacturer. No warranty is made to the accuracy of this information, which may vary widely in practical installations. Many vendors are known to exaggerate or mis-state the capability of the equipment which they offer.
For More Information on Wireless Upgrades
If you would like more information on upgrading a Lightpointe MMW Millimeter Wave solutions please Contact Us and our experienced team of wireless experts will be delighted to assist.
Gigabit Wireless Links using V-Band 60GHz Millimeter Wave MMW Technology
So-called “V-Band” refers to high frequency microwave signals in the Millimeter Wave radio bands which enable high capacity wireless communications. The band is useful for moderate distances up to around 1km with clear “line of sight”, and for short-range mobile devices. In many countries, V-band is “Unlicensed” (license free) which encourages widespread use.
What is 60GHz V-band technology?
The V band (“vee-band”) is a standard designation by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) for a band of frequencies in the microwave portion of the electromagnetic spectrum ranging from 40 to 75 gigahertz (GHz).The V band is not heavily used, except for millimeter wave radar research and other kinds of scientific research. It should not be confused with the 600–1000 MHz range of Band-V (band-five) of the UHF frequency range.
The V band is also used for high capacity terrestrial millimeter wave communications systems. In the United States, the Federal Communications Commission has allocated the frequency band from 57 to 71 GHz for unlicensed wireless systems. These systems are primarily used for high capacity, short distance (less than 1 mile) communications. In addition, frequencies at 70, 80, and 90 GHz have been allocated as “lightly licensed” bands for multi-gigabit wireless communications. All communications links in the V band require unobstructed line of sight between the transmit and receive point, and rain fade must be taken into account when performing link budget analysis.
Applications for 60GHz V-band
Very short range Wi-Fi
The Wi-Fi standard IEEE 802.11ad utilizes the 60 GHz (EHF microwave) spectrum with data transfer rates of up to 7 Gbit/s for very short ranges of up to 10 metres (33 ft). Also the newer IEEE 802.11ay uses the same band. Where 802.11ad uses a maximum of 2.16 GHz bandwidth, 802.11ay bonds four of those channels together for a maximum bandwidth of 8.64 GHz. MIMO is also added with a maximum of 4 streams. The link-rate per stream is 44Gbit/s, with four streams this goes up to 176Gbit/s. Higher order modulation is also added, probably up to 256-QAM.
As mobile operators need more and more bandwidth, they are turning to new frequency bands to lower their wireless backhaul costs. Both license-exempt V band spectrum (57-71 GHz) and E band spectrum (71-76 GHz, 81-86 GHz and 92-95 GHz) have clear technological and economic advantages. The 27 GHz allocated in these bands allows multi-Gigabit per second capacities far exceeding the 6-38 GHz bandwidth-limited frequencies.
In the V band and E band spectrum, wireless systems can utilize the significantly larger allocated spectrum and channels to deliver multi-Gigabit data rates. This enables a simple, robust, and low cost modem and radio design. Thus, V-Band and E-Band, millimeter-wave wireless systems provide significant cost advantages over 6-38 GHz wireless systems – allowing scaling capacity to Gigabit capacities, without additional radio equipment and licensing fees.
Internet service providers are looking for ways to expand gigabit high-speed services to their customers. These can be achieved through fiber to the premises broadband network architecture, or a more affordable alternative using fixed wireless in the last mile in combination with the fiber networks in the middle mile in order to reduce the costs of trenching fiber optic cables to the users. In the United States, V band is unlicensed. This makes V band an appealing choice to be used as fixed wireless access for gigabit services to connect to homes and businesses.
As of March 2017, several US companies—Boeing, SpaceX, OneWeb, Telesat, O3b Networks and Theia Holdings—have each filed with the US regulatory authorities “plans to field constellations of V-band satellites in non-geosynchronous orbits to provide communications services,” an electromagnetic spectrum that had not previously been “heavily employed for commercial communications services.”
V-Band Regulations and Licensing
In many countries, V-band is “Unlicensed” (license free) which encourages widespread use. A few countries retain 60GHz for licensed or defence applications. The specific frequencies which are allowed to be used can vary between different countries.
A new standard for 60GHz Wi-Fi goes beyond 802.11ad wireless speed & range
A new standard for high speed multi-gigabit WiFi is emerging. Though products based on the IEEE 802.11ad (WiGig) standard have really only begun rolling out, an effort to deliver an enhancement called IEEE 802.11ay that promises to deliver faster and longer range Wi-Fi networks is gaining steam.
The up-coming 802.11ay is as an enhancement of 802.11ad in the unlicensed 60 GHz millimeter wave band of spectrum, and should be a natural upgrade. The upgrade will offer significant speed and range improvements.
802.11ay is a type of WLAN in the IEEE 802.11 set of WLANs. It will have a frequency of 60 GHz, a transmission rate of 20–40 Gbit/s and an extended transmission distance of 300–500 meters. It has also been noted that it is likely to have mechanisms for channel bonding and MU-MIMO technologies. It is expected to be released in 2017. 802.11ay will not be a new type of WLAN in the IEEE 802.11 set, but will simply be an improvement on 802.11ad.
Where 802.11ad uses a maximum of 2.16 GHz bandwidth, 802.11ay bonds four of those channels together for a maximum bandwidth of 8.64 GHz. MIMO is also added with a maximum of 4 streams. The link-rate per stream is 44Gbit/s, with four streams this goes up to 176Gbit/s. Higher order modulation is also added, probably up to 256-QAM. 802.11ay applications could include replacement for Ethernet and other cables within offices or homes, and provide backhaul connectivity outside for service providers.
What is the difference between ad and ay?
The 802.11ad standard was published in 2012 and the technology gives devices access to the unlicensed and relatively unclogged 60 GHz millimeter wave spectrum band for multimedia streaming, VR headset connectivity, computer-to-monitor wireless links and other apps that don’t require more than say 30 or 40 feet of unimpeded space. It has been adopted by chipmakers as well as vendors of routers, access points and other devices. The Wi-Fi Alliance runs a WiGig certification program for vendors, and the early 11ad gear on the market most commonly supports data transfer rates of 4.6Gbps – way faster than 802.11n and 11ac, but more limited in range and unable to penetrate solid objects.
The backwards compatible 802.11ay amendment to 802.11ad is designed to boost speeds several-fold. That initially would amount to a transmission rate of 20 to 30Gbps and a range of 33 to 100 feet with 11ay-to-11ay device setups, but once channel bonding, MIMO and other capabilities are exploited, you could be getting closer to 200Gbps and reaching distances approaching 1,000 feet, according to industry players.
11ay, as the specs are being developed, “is really allowing for a wider range of products than you’d get with ad, which has one set of data rates that everyone supports… ay has a lot more parameters to play with in channel bonding, MIMO and features at the MAC level to allow a far greater range of performance and products” according to one chipset vendor.
Other up-coming Fast WiFi standards: 802.11ax
Users should not confuse 802.11ay with 802.11ax, which will work in the 2.5 and 5 GHz bands. The lower frequency bands for 11ax will penetrate walls. 11ay will not.
What will 802.11ay be used for?
It remains to be seen how soon the high speeds of 11ay will really be needed for internal uses, as 802.11ac — including Wave 2 products — are already pretty robust. But experts say that if 11ad doesn’t quite do it for you given its distance limitations, “11ay will finally be the technology that would let you snip that Ethernet cord – you no longer have to run Ethernet cables to everyone’s desk… there’s enough wireless bandwidth in ay.”
Many are enthusiastic about 802.1ay’s potential as a fixed point-to-point or point-to-multipoint outdoor backhaul technology, especially in light of scaled back fiber rollout plans by providers like Google and Verizon in the face of extraordinary costs associated with such implementations. “I’m more bullish on using ad & ay for backhaul (instead of mesh) in the case of campus & city networks — provided that it has a useful range” according to one industry expert
But it’s possible that 802.11ay could find a role in internal mesh and backbone networks as well as for other uses such as providing connectivity to VR headsets, supporting server backups and handling cloud applications that require low latency. “I believe that eventually, there will be enterprise applications for this – but it’s probably a few years into the future, given that we will have 802.11ax fairly soon & because there’s still a lot of 5 GHz band available for that (and ac).
When will 802.11ay become reality?
The 802.11ay task group had its initial meeting in 2015 and the spec only hit the Draft 0.1 stage in January. Though it is expected to reach Draft 1.0 by July 2017, according to the IEEE task group. If that mark is hit, expect pre-standard 11ay products to start rolling out within a year of that time.
Who is behind 802.11ay?
The IEEE task force leading the 11ay work includes representatives from major equipment and chipsets vendors. The group states its goal as this: “Task Group ay is expected to develop an amendment that defines standardized modifications to both the IEEE 802.11 physical layers (PHY) and the IEEE 802,11 medium access control layer (MAC) that enables at least one mode of operation capable of supporting a maximum throughput of at least 20 gigabits per second (measured at the MAC data service access point), while maintaining or improving the power efficiency per station. This amendment also defines operations for license-exempt bands above 45 GHz while ensuring backward compatibility and coexistence with legacy directional multi-gigabit stations (defined by IEEE 802.11ad-2012 amendment) operating in the same band.”
Millimeter Wave, also know as MMW or Millimetre Wave technology is being rapidly adopted for users ranging from enterprise level data centres to single consumers with smart phones requiring higher bandwidth, the demand for newer technologies to deliver these higher data transmission rates is bigger than ever before.
A wide range of technologies exist for the delivery of high throughput, with fibre optic cable considered to be the highest standard. However, fibre optics is not unmatched, especially when all considering economic factors. Millimeter wave wireless technology offers the potential to deliver bandwidth comparable to that of fibre optics but without the logistical and financial drawbacks of the deployments.
Millimeter waves represent the RF Signal spectrum between the frequencies of 30GHz and 300GHz with a wavelength between 1 – 10 millimetres but in terms of wireless networking and communications equipment, the name Millimeter Wave generally corresponds to a few select bands of radio frequencies found around 38, 60 and, more recently, the high potential 70 and 80 GHz bands that have been assigned for the public domain for the purpose of wireless networking and communications.
Commercial Millimeter Wave (MMW) links from CableFree feature high performance, reliable, high capacity wireless networking with latest generation features.
MM Wave Spectrum
In the UK, there have been 3 frequency bands that have been allocated for commercial Millimeter Wave usage, these are as follows:
57 – 66GHz: The 60GHz Millimeter Wave Band or V-Band is governed by OFCOM for licensed operation. The large amount of signal absorption via atmospheric oxygen and tight regulations make this frequency band more suited to short range, Point-to-Point and Point-to-Multipoint Millimetre Wave solutions. Between 57 – 64GHz the band is licensed and regulated but from 64 – 66GHz the band is unlicensed and self coordinated.
71 – 76GHz and 81 – 86GHz: The 70GHz and 80GHz Millimeter Wave Bands or E-Bands are governed by OFCOM for licensed operation only and are regarded to be the most suited band for Point-to-Point and Point-to-Multipoint, Millimeter Wave Wireless Networking and communication transmission. Each band has a 5GHz spectral range available which totals to be more than all other assigned frequency bands added together. Each 5GHz range can act as a single contiguous wireless transmission channel allowing very efficient use of the whole band and in turn these result in high throughput speeds from 1 to 3 Gbps whilst only using simple modulation techniques such as OOK (On-Off-Keying) or BPSK (Binary Phase Shift Keying). These throughput speeds are substantially higher than those found in lower frequencies using much more complex and advanced orders of modulation so even higher throughput speeds should be achieved with Millimetre Wave devices when utilising the same advanced techniques. It should be only a matter time before market demand brings these to the forefront.
In the US, an additional band is available as well as the above which is:
92 – 95GHz: The 94GHz Millimeter Wave Band or W-Band is governed by the FCC Part 15 for unlicensed operation also but only for indoor usage. It may also be used to outdoor Point-to-Point applications following the FCC Part 101 regulations but due to a range between 94 – 94.1GHz being excluded, the band is less spectrally efficient than the others.
The 71-76, 81-86 and 92-95 GHz bands are also used for point-to-point high-bandwidth communication links. These frequencies, as opposed to the 60 GHz frequency, do not suffer from the effects of oxygen absorption, but require a transmitting license in the US from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). There are plans for 10 Gbit/s links using these frequencies as well. In the case of the 92–95 GHz band, a small 100 MHz range has been reserved for space-borne radios, making this reserved range limited to a transmission rate of under a few gigabits per second.
The band is essentially undeveloped and available for use in a broad range of new products and services, including high-speed, point-to-point wireless local area networks and broadband Internet access. WirelessHD is another recent technology that operates near the 60 GHz range. Highly directional, “pencil-beam” signal characteristics permit different systems to operate close to one another without causing interference. Potential applications include radar systems with very high resolution.
The upcoming Wi-Fi standard IEEE 802.11ad will run on the 60 GHz (V band) spectrum with data transfer rates of up to 7 Gbit/s.
Uses of the millimeter wave bands include point-to-point communications, intersatellite links, and point-to-multipoint communications.
Because of shorter wavelengths, the band permits the use of smaller antennas than would be required for similar circumstances in the lower bands, to achieve the same high directivity and high gain. The immediate consequence of this high directivity, coupled with the high free space loss at these frequencies, is the possibility of a more efficient use of the spectrum for point-to-multipoint applications. Since a greater number of highly directive antennas can be placed in a given area than less directive antennas, the net result is higher reuse of the spectrum, and higher density of users, as compared to lower frequencies. Furthermore, because one can place more voice channels or broadband information using a higher frequency to transmit the information, this spectrum could potentially be used as a replacement for or supplement to fiber optics.
Bandwidth & Scalable Capacity
The main benefit that Millimeter Wave technology has over lower RF frequencies is the spectral bandwidth of 5GHz being available in each of the E-Band ranges, resulting in current speeds of 1.25Gbps Full Duplex with potential throughput speeds of up to 10Gbps Full Duplex being made possible. Once market demand increases and better modulation techniques are implemented, spectral efficiency of the equipment will improve allowing the equipment to meet the higher capacity demands of prospective future networks.
Whereas low frequency, microwave signals have a wide beamwidth angle which reduces the reuse of transmission of the same signal within the local geographic area, Millimeter Wave signals transmit in very narrow, focused beams which allows for multiple deployments in tight proximity whilst using the same frequency ranges. This allows a density of around 15 times more when comparing a 70GHz signal to a 20GHz example making Millimeter Wave ideal for Point-to-Point Mesh, Ring and dense Hub & Spoke network topologies where lower frequency signals would not be able to cope before cross signal interference would become a significant limiting factor.
Propagation & Signal Attenuation
In general, Millimeter Wave links can range in anywhere up to 10km depending on factors such as equipment specifications and environmental conditions. The propagation properties of Millimeter Waves are much like those of the other popular wireless networking frequencies in that they are most significantly affected by air moisture levels; atmospheric Oxygen is also a large factor in the 60GHz band but almost negligible in the other ranges, under 0.2 dB per km.
Water vapour affects the signal at between 0 and 3dB/km at high humidity levels and the propagation due to clouds and fog acts in a very similar way depending on the density and amount of droplets in the air. These losses are relatively low and only play a major factor when considering links at 5km+.
Signal Loss (dB/km)
Oxygen absorption at Sea Level
Humidity of 100% at 30°C
Heavy Fog of 50m visibility
Heavy Rain Shower at 25mm/hr
At the 70 to 80GHz bands, water, in the form of rain, plays the most significant role in signal attenuation as it does with lower frequency signals too. The rate of rainfall, measured in mm/hour, is the depending factor in signal loss meaning that the harder it is raining, the lower the signal strength will be. Signal Propagation loss is also directly proportional to distance, so if the distance between transmitter and receiver is doubled, the loss in dB will be twice as much. Millimeter Wave performance is quite heavily dependent on rainfall and strongly affects Availability (discussed below), however, successful links can even be set up in areas of occasional heavy downpours.
Signal Loss (dB/km)
The reliability of a Millimeter Wave Wireless Network relies on the same principles as any other, in particular, the distance of operation, the radio’s link margin (being factors of transmit power, receiver sensitivity and beam divergence) and others such as redundancy paths. A link may be heavily affected by a period of intense rainfall but if it has a large enough margin, it will not suffer an outage.
The reliability of a network is called the availability and is measured as a percentage of time that the network will be functioning, for example, an availability of 99.999% over a year will equate to just over 5 hours of downtime. Much research by the ITU (International Telecommunication Union) has gone into collecting rainfall date from metropolitan areas around the world and how it will affect Millimeter Wave transmissions. You can see below an example of the expected availability of a widely available Millimeter Wave link for a few global cities and their respective availability for a 2km link.
Link Range (km, at 99.999% Availability)
Availability (2 km link)
Security is also an issue when dealing with wireless transmissions but due to Millimeter Wave’s inherently low beam widths (“pencil beams”) at about 0.36° radius with a 2ft. antenna along with, generally, lower peak transmit powers relative to lower frequencies the technology has a low probability of intercept and detection which is vital for the transference of confidential material.
Building a modern Gigabit Wireless Network will require choosing the appropriate technology for the precise network requirements. With wireless, there is no “magic technology” or “one size fits all” approach – a successful network deployment will consider which technologies are best suited
Choosing the correct technology for a Gigabit Wireless Network is essential to ensure you have the very best throughput, capacity and network uptime.
Ask our team of experts who will be delighted to assist in designing an choosing exactly the right products and solutions to meet your needs
Feel welcome to read our site and find out more about building modern, reliable and scalable Gigabit Wireless Networks for Wireless Metropolitan Area Networks (Wi-Man), 4G/LTE backhaul networks, Small Cell Backhaul, Corporate Networks and Campus and CCTV wireless networks.
We include technology introduction papers as well as usage cases to guide users in the very latest in Gigabit Wireless technology and deployment. Modern wireless products can reach 10Gbps or higher capacity.
Applications for Wireless
Gigabit Wireless networks are used in a wide range of applications which include
4G/LTE Backhaul Networks
Last Mile Networks
Security and CCTV
If you are considering a wireless network with 10Gbps or higher capacity, please ask our team of experts who will be delighted to assist: