Emmy is the Founder and Principal Analyst of Sky Light Research, a third-party analyst firm specializing in wireless point to point mobile backhaul technologies such as microwave, sub 6 GHz, and millimeterwave radios. The firm’s popular services include quarterly market share reports and forecasts. Sky Light Research was founded in 2001 and is located in Scottsdale AZ, USA. For more information, please email info@SkyLightResearch.com or call +1.480.563.2251.
As urban centers become congested with heavy mobile data traffic, building new, smaller cells to off load some of that traffic is becoming commonplace in making the network flow transparent to the end user. However, smaller cells create a myriad of issues, such as increased leasing costs, adhering to municipality codes for aesthetically pleasing radios, and overcrowded towers, not to mention power and cost issues. Thus, the drum for quality, capacity, and spectral efficiency beats louder each day.
Historically, the long haul market has not created much excitement – the big iron radios were used most often in project based deals, placed at aggregation points towards the core of the network due to their high power and high capacity. Although they were not used as much as short haul radios, their price points were much higher, starting at around $12,000 - $15,000. As packet based protocols and higher levels of capacity became the de facto requirement for short haul microwave radios, long haul radios followed suit, increasing capacity and adding Ethernet services either through packet or hybrid platforms.
Over the past six years the microwave market has had its peaks and valleys, with 2012 ending on the lower end of that range. Microwave radio’s main application is mobile backhaul, especially for traditional macro cells. If mobile operator spending weakens, so does the market. In 2012, the issue wasn’t so much the amount that mobile operators were spending but more where operators chose to spend those dollars. Macro-cell spending flattened out as operators focused on increasing data capacity with small cells. In addition to the focus on small cells, the sluggishness of the market can be attributed to a couple of factors.