To address challenges faced by service providers in deploying mobile backhaul systems to rural areas, Ekinops SA (Lannion, France) has developed a long-reach optical transport platform that offers high-capacity backhaul, while requiring minimum space and minimum power. The system can also operate in extreme temperatures and harsh environments, the company says.
"Remote cell sites rarely have the amenities of urban and metro sites, but they still must support 3G and 4G services," said François Xavier Ollivier, chief operating officer of Ekinops. "Space, power, and cooling/heating are particular challenges, so it is critical for service providers to have access to transport solutions that can function in these tough environments and make the best use of limited space."
Built around the capabilities of the Ekinops 360 multi-purpose transport system, the new rural backhaul product addresses the issue of space constraints by maximizing the performance and capacity in either a 1RU or 2RU system. It operates with -48V DC or +24V AC power feeds and consumes very little power -- or even no power in situations where sites require only a passive approach, notes the company.
The Ekinops equipment is also certified for extended temperature range (ETR) operations from -40 to +65 degrees Celsius, or -40 to 149 degrees Fahrenheit. The company points out that other products in the Ekinops 360 ETR family have already been deployed in large quantities.
"Rural markets are helping drive the growth in mobile data and voice traffic, but because of the economics in these areas, it is essential that service providers find cost-effective solutions," continued Ollivier. “Very few equipment vendors provide what it takes, such as ETR products that can be deployed deeper into the rural network, where backhaul is complicated by distance, limited facilities, extreme temperatures, and other operational issues."
Ekinops has designed the backhaul product to support a range of architectures, from hub-and-spoke to ring, tree, mesh, or a combination. The same unit can also be exploited to support other new or existing applications, such as backhauling residential and commercial traffic and high-capacity enterprise services. Like all Ekinops products, the new system is built around the company's T-Chip (Transport-on-a-Chip) technology, with multiple functions and features combined onto a single programmable chip, reducing power needs while improving performance. The Ekinops 360 is 100G capable as well.
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In areas where there is a great distance between cell sites, Ekinops' backhaul product features DynaFEC, dynamic forward error correction technology, eliminating transmission errors and the need for signal regeneration facilities. In addition, Ekinops offers design, planning, and deployment services to insure optimal performance and minimize the need for technician trips to the cell sites.