The microwave backhaul equipment market is expected to surpass US$12 B by 2016, according to the second edition of Maravedis' "Wireless Backhaul Market from an All-IP Perspective" report.

During 2010 the PtP microwave backhaul market reached $4.74 B, representing an 18.9 percent decrease year-over-year. During the next five years the microwave market will continuously grow, mainly driven by the need for operators to deploy new base stations to provide good quality of experience over LTE networks. Despite a recent slowdown in all-outdoor radio shipments, Maravedis believes those radios will see great market demand. "Compact-size 60 GHz radios will become a key asset for backhaul links between lampposts and the sides of buildings, where small cells will be installed," said Esteban Monturus, author of the report. "Assuming a growing percentage of the network will need the complement of several small cells per macrocell, the number of 60 GHz links is thus expected to grow to $792 M shipments by 2016."

Now that the evolution toward pure packet microwave technology is maturing, multiple enhancements are being introduced by vendors to leverage the flexibility of packet transmission. "New features, such as support for upper protocol layer compression, service-aware routing and G.8032 Ethernet resiliency, are now focusing the attention of vendors," said Maravedis Research Director Adlane Fellah.

Key Findings:

  • CALA was the only region where microwave shipments increased in 2010, while EMEA continued to represent the largest share of microwave shipments (48.8 percent).
  • Shipments of radios in the 15 to 28 GHz range have been the greatest in 2010.
  • Shipments of hybrid radios accounted for 72 percent of the total shipments.
  • Ericsson remained the market leader with 26 percent market share in 2010.
  • Shipments of TDM radios increased 16 percent and 27 percent in Q3 and Q4 2010, respectively, despite the IP migration trend.
  • Pure packet will account for 90 percent of annual microwave radio shipments by 2016.
  • Intensive integration efforts enable equipment vendors to double equipment reliability (measured by MTBF, mean time between failures). All the microwave vendors will be forced to follow this strategy to remain price competitive.

The report provides a complete quantitative and qualitative analysis of the wireless backhaul market, including vendor SWOT analysis for Alcatel-Lucent, Aviat, BridgeWave, Ceragon, DragonWave, E-Band Communications, ECI Telecom, Ericsson, Exalt, Huawei, Intracom, NEC, Nokia Siemens and Siklu.