Providing seamless network performance in dense city environments is a challenge. To overcome this problem, Ericsson has now validated that MINI-LINK products in traditional frequency bands can operate in non-line-of-sight (NLOS) conditions with high performance, in trials with MetroPCS in Los Angeles, USA. In addition, Ericsson is launching MINI-LINK products for small cells, including the MINI-LINK 3060.

"NLOS microwave is a critical component of building backhaul networks where clutter is an issue and especially for heterogeneous networks," said Malcolm Lorang, co-founder, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of MetroPCS. "We are pleased with the results of the MINI-LINK trial in the challenging Los Angeles environment and look forward to further testing."

Ola Gustafsson, Head of Product Line Microwave and Mobile Backhaul, Ericsson said: "Conventional NLOS products work in the sub-6 GHz band using orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM) technology, for multipath handling. The problem is that the available spectrum below 6 GHz is very limited and would be insufficient for small-cell backhaul. Ericsson has now proved, with extensive research, that MINI-LINK products operating in the 23 to 60 GHz bands offer higher throughput and increased stability compared with sub-6 systems also under NLOS conditions. This expands the possibilities to deploy MINI-LINK as the backhaul solution for small cells, thereby enabling increased network performance."

MINI-LINK is designed for hops over several kilometres, with a market-leading system gain and very robust equalizers. Over short hops, diffraction and reflections caused by the environment can actually be used to overcome obstructions between the macro layer nodes that are often positioned on top of high buildings, and the small cells positioned at street level. With this approach, throughput will be very high and stable, which is important for mobile backhaul.

Ericsson is also launching several IP-based backhaul products to cater for mobile broadband growth and to execute on its 4G IP network vision. These products will extend its MINI-LINK portfolio with IP/MPLS (multiprotocol label switching) support for fibber and/or microwave-based backhaul, innovative design in the 60 GHz band for small-cell deployments and an enhanced Gbps solution in the E-band. The MINI-LINK LH has also been expanded by the addition of a compact solution for cost-efficient migration to packet and modular site solutions.