Proxim looks to fill 'backhaul' demand for 4G wireless networks

New Proxim Tsunami GX800 microwave product is said to provide 622 MBit/sec throughput over licensed backhaul channel

As users demand faster WiMax and LTE wireless networks and devices, wireless carriers must vastly expand the network infrastructure that carries data from cell towers to central switching offices.

The path from a carrier's tower to its switching location, often called the "backhaul" segment, generally consists of a fat pipe made of fiber optic cable or microwave wireless.

"Backhaul can be the weak link in 4G network rollouts," said Craig Mathias, an analyst at Farpoint Group, in a statement. He said that popular applications like HD-quality streaming video and video surveillance will benefit from faster 4G networks now coming online with WiMax and LTE technologies.

Proxim Wireless is moving to take advantage of the added backhaul demand for 4G by launching a point-to-point microwave backhaul radio product for carriers, large companies, government agencies and others that need the added capacity.

Proxim's new Tsunami GX800 product line, unveiled Monday, is designed to deliver high capacity throughput of 622 MBit/sec over a licensed backhaul channel. Carriers are generally requiring 300 Mbit/sec backhaul for LTE and WiMax, said Robb Henshaw, vice president of marketing at Proxim, in an interview.

The Tsunami GX800 operates in the frequency bands from 6 to 38 GHz and in channel bandwidths from 7 to 56 MHz, Proxim said. An outdoor unit that is affixed to an antenna (not manufactured by Proxim) and an indoor unit that is 1 rack unit high are required on each end of a microwave link.

Pricing for the full system is $14,999 and begins shipping at the end of November. Customers must procure FCC licensing for the link separately, which can be thousands of dollars annually, Henshaw said. Overall, the cost for the capacity of the microwave link will represent a savings over T-1 dedicated links, he said.

Henshaw said the Tsunami marks Proxim's re-entry in the licensed wireless backhaul market after years of concentrating on unlicensed wireless products. The Tsunami is IPv6 compliant and can be managed from Proxim software along with other Proxim networking gear.

Proxim competes against Motorola and Exalt Communications, among others, in the licensed backhaul business. The primary markets for licensed point-to-point microwave backhaul will be wireless Internet Service Providers and wireless carriers, along with city governments needing video surveillance, transportation agencies needing connectivity for Intelligent Transportation Systems and companies of all types needing to link multiple buildings on a campus.

A corporate campus that has Internet access to one building with excess capacity could use the microwave backhaul to extend some of the capacity elsewhere on campus, for example, Hennshaw said.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen , or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed . His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com .

Read more about mobile and wireless in Computerworld's Mobile and Wireless Topic Center.

This story, "Proxim looks to fill 'backhaul' demand for 4G wireless networks" was originally published by Computerworld.

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