Telco offers high speed and long range packet microwave systems in both licensed and unlicensed bands.
With the cost of laying fiber-optical cable often exceeding $110,000/km, licensed-band microwave transmission has in recent years become an extremely cost effective solution to providing multi-gigabit point-to-point (PtP) and point-to-multipoint (PtMP) networking. Licensed-band microwave provides a guaranteed interference-free link by purchasing a licence to an allotment of radio spectrum for a given geographical area. This type of link is often in the 6-38GHz range.
Unlicensed microwave transmission uses ACMA class-licensed sections of the radio spectrum - typically 2.4, 5.8, and 24GHz bands. As anyone can transmit on these bands there can be no guarantees against hostile interference from other users. While considered 'unlicensed', the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) impose restrictions on power, channel occupation, and channel size. While this ensures fair-use of what is essentially a community asset, these restrictions limit performance and link distance. Unlicensed band equipment is however dramatically cheaper and allows business-grade links with TCP throughputs in the range of 10Mbps to 1Gbps from only a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars with Ubiquiti AirMAX equipment.
Unlike traditional TDM-based microwave, packet microwave is an all-IP transmission system whereby radios offer a direct Ethernet input, permitting Ethernet packets to be mapped directly to the physical layer airframe without any additional encapsulation.
Essentially one can consider packet microwave transmission simply as a conversion of transmission media - from Ethernet to air, and then from air back to Ethernet at the other end of the link. This simplicity affords fool-proof design and highly scalable integration.
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