Symmetricom® Inc., a worldwide leader in precision time and frequency technologies, announced the launch of the microwave backhaul segment to its SyncWorld™ Ecosystem Program with Ceragon and DragonWave joining as new members, while Alcatel-Lucent, Aviat Networks and Nokia Siemens Networks are expanding their participation into the new backhaul segment. SyncWorld was created to enable cooperation and interoperability among vendors delivering on advanced networking requirements for precise timing and synchronization.

Today, a growing number of network operators are looking to transition from traditional TDM (T1/E1) to Ethernet IP-based backhaul in support of 4G/LTE radio networks. As backhaul transitions to Ethernet, the physical layer synchronization chain is broken when TDM is removed from the network, resulting in poor network quality. To accommodate IP-based service performance in 4G/LTE networks, LTE necessitates even stricter timing that includes frequency and phase requirements to guarantee service quality. This makes timing and sync solutions even more critical in these kinds of network build outs.

Compared to leased lines, microwave backhaul is a proven and flexible solution to accurately deliver synchronization throughout the network and can be quickly deployed to meet aggressive buildout schedules. With the rising network capacity needs of LTE, microwave backhaul is rapidly becoming a critical component in delivering the required bandwidth to serve cell sites, especially in areas that are geographically challenging to serve or when fiber is simply not an option. Current 3G cell sites are provisioned for 10–20 Mbps but LTE tests show that per site backhaul requirements may require upwards of 160 Mbps. Microwave backhaul’s flexibility and scalability can support these kinds of service provider requirements to rapidly scale their networks to support bandwidth intensive IP-based applications.

Symmetricom is committed to partnering with trusted end-to-end technology providers that deploy and maintain networks on behalf of network operators. The SyncWorld Ecosystem Program represents all elements of the mobile communications value chain from embedded to systems network elements, such as microwave backhaul. Industry leading analyst group, Heavy Reading, estimates that half of the world’s cell sites today are connected to the network via microwave backhaul, making it a vital new addition to the SyncWorld Ecosystem Program.

“Ethernet-based microwave backhaul deployments are growing rapidly as networks look to scale economically to meet increasing bandwidth demands,” said Patrick Donegan, Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading. “With stricter timing and synchronization network requirements emerging to support 4G, programs such as SyncWorld become even more important to ensure interoperability among equipment vendors to meet aggressive roll-out schedules and ensure precise timing and synchronization through the network.”

In collaboration with Aviat Networks, Symmetricom has successfully conducted tests over 10 hops while guaranteeing synchronization in a microwave network. Microwave backhaul is usually deployed in multiple hops from the aggregation point to a cell site. Maintaining the signal across a large number of hops is truly an achievement. SyncWorld aims to further this kind of innovation with the new microwave backhaul segment. For more information on the results of the IEEE 1588v2 synchronization over packet microwave networks deployment, download the application note developed with Aviat Networks.

“The microwave backhaul category launch underscores the criticality of interoperability among vendors in all segments of a communications network,” said Manish Gupta, Vice President of marketing at Symmetricom. “The enormous response we’ve received with SyncWorld signals the importance for us and our partners to support LTE with interoperable timing and sync solutions.”