Fastback Networks claims backhaul breakthrough with Any Line of Sight

Start-up company Fastback Networks is using MWC2013 as a launchpad for the public launch of its Any Line of Sight backhaul technology. The company says that it has developed new radio technology that allows its wireless backhaul unit to operate adaptively to local conditions - although details of how it does that remain sparse.

Seshadri Sathyanarayan, VP of Marketing, Fastback, said the backhaul unit, dubbed Intelligent Backhaul Radio, can deliver 500Mbps at 500 μsec latency operating in the 5GHz UNII ISM band. The company’s pitch is that the unit adapts to Line of Sight or complete Non Line of Sight conditions, hence the Any Line of Sight branding.

So how does that work? “I can’t get into the details of exactly what makes that performance work and its ability to adapt. There’s a myriad of things that work together to achieve that performance and sustain it under these harsh radio conditions. There’s a variety of techniques that use sophisticated antennas, baseband processing and algorithms that run on it, to deliver and maintain that performance in any line of site conditions.”

“What it means is that the single radio is all you need to deploy where there is line of site to the other locations or there are buildings in the way, or a few trees for near line of site. In any of those conditions, the radio does not change, it is one single radio that adapts to all three conditions, and that is why we call it Intelligent Backhaul Radio.”

The product is in trials with Tier One US carriers, Sathyanarayan said. “I’m under NDA not to disclose what they are using it for but they see it as an opportunity to extend the point as presence as well as for small cells.”

Sathyanarayan said the company’s initial aim was to build a wireless product that would meet fibre SLAs. “This wasn’t a backhaul radio connectivity problem for us, from the get go the problem for us was what does it take to deliver a fibre SLA: not just the physical capacities but also the associated fibre capabilities that come with it. So what you see now is the result of that. We believe it’s an industry first to deliver this fibre equivalent performance.”

Fastback’s marketing said that the solution supports a variety of P2P, MP2P, mesh, ring and daisy chain deployment topologies. Features include Carrier Ethernet & MPLS transport, packet based timing support for 1588v2 and Synchronous Ethernet, NTE/UNI service demarcation functionality, transport security and SLA Assurance. Combining the radio unit with a controller switch, plus an element management system delivers Carrier Ethernet (CE 2.0) services in NLOS conditions that today require access to the fiber service edge. Fastback calls that the Anywhere Service Edge.
Other small cell backhaul announcements pre MWC. Please let us know if there are other small cell backhaul announcements prior to Mobile World Congress, and we will add them here:

1. Amongst a few backhaul product announcements, Ericsson annouced the MINI-LINK PT 3060, a small cell backhaul solution for the 60GHz band. The PT 3060 was shown as a concept type at MWC in 2012. Ericsson also announced the MINI-LINK PT 6020, an E-band microwave (70-80GHz) that it said supports 1Gbps in one 250MHz carrier.

2. DragonWave launches Avenue Link Lite
The company has added to its Avenue product line with a sub-6GHz, point to point, NLOS backhaul module that is 7.5 inches square, including antenna. It’s all designed for small-cell applications, with low power consumption, low-hassle installation (a low profile to keep city planners happy) and DragonWave has included in-band synchronisation. See the Avenue Link Lite at Mobile World Congress, booth #5H47. You can also see the unit falling out of the sky onto a Barcelona streetscape here.