Virgin Media Business trial validates Fastback Networks mobile backhaul

Intelligent backhaul radio demonstrates cost effective delivery of Virgin’s wireless backhaul SLAs at a trial in the city centre of Leeds in the UK using non line of sight solution in 5GHz band

Virgin Media Business trial validates Fastback Networks mobile backhaul

Fastback Networks has completed a Virgin Media Business trial evaluation, which it says validates its Intelligent Backhaul Radio (IBR) capability to deliver non line of sight (NLOS) radio systems. IBR provides reliable, high-speed backhaul connectivity even in challenging urban conditions where there is no line of sight between different access points.

The Fastback IBR is the first vendor device tested in the Virgin Media Business trials to achieve the trial performance targets in NLOS, while preserving SLAs with the fewest number of radio links.

In the small cells wireless backhaul 90-day trial conducted in Leeds, UK, the Virgin Media Business team validated the 5GHz IBR device capability for reliable, high-speed provision of LTE and LTE-A services across line-of-sight (LOS), near line-of-sight (nLOS), and non-line-of-sight (NLOS) conditions.

These trial results demonstrate the potential of the IBR to cost-effectively extend Virgin Media Business’ offerings for small cell backhaul services, according to Fastback.

“These trials are validating the technology solutions that will transform mobile backhaul and enable a new class of cost-effective LTE and LTE-A wholesale services,” said Bruce Girdlestone, senior business development manager, Virgin Media Business.

“The Fastback solution demonstrated capability for services to run over a variety of distances in both LOS and NLOS urban environments with a reliable, high speed, 5GHz wireless backhaul connection to the Virgin Media Business fibre network.”

“Fastback is pleased to participate in the Virgin Media Business industry leading evaluation of advanced technology for wholesale services,” said Kevin Duffy, CEO and co-founder, Fastback Networks. “Our solution for fibre equivalent services over wireless is effectively creating fibre fill-in, and enabling service operators to innovate services and reach new customers.”

The Leeds trial
The Virgin Media Business trial, conducted in Leeds City Centre, examined high speed wireless backhaul performance between 10-12m height street columns for small cells, providing a connection at specified points to a Virgin Media Business’ fibre point of presence.

The radio links were determined to validate technology performance and robustness in the given locations to the highest possible level to meet requirements for LTE and LTE-A small cells.

Over a 90-day period, the trial assessed the effects of city infrastructure, canyon style streets, traffic, and weather patterns, on LOS, nLOS, and NLOS links in an urban environment.

Fastest installation
The trial validated the IBR’s ease of installation, allowing quick and efficient installation. At installation, the installer visually aligned the IBR by pointing it in the general direction of the other end of the link.

Within minutes the device was operational, as the IBR intelligent auto discovery and synchronisation features automatically synchronised and optimised the link.

High performance service requirements in unlicensed spectrum
During the trial, the Fastback IBR exceeded performance targets across LOS, nLOS, and NLOS conditions, demonstrating delivery of carrier grade SLAs in unlicensed spectrum.

NLOS performance rarely dropped below 200Mbps capacity and latency is typical <500μsec – even in high obstruction scenarios. Fastback met Virgin’s small cell backhaul trial SLAs in all weather conditions (including wind and rain). The Fastback provided both LOS and NLOS capability, which reduces installation complexity and the number of links required.

IBR technology
The Fastback IBR uses MIMO for maximum throughput performance. Transmit and receive antennas leverage polarisation, spatial and angular diversity maximising link robustness. The FDD radio enables simultaneous TX and RX and monitors the channel for fast interference/radar event mitigation. The result is an AnyLoS radio system that works with direct, refracted and reflected radio signals

Fastback believes the trial validated the IBR’s ability to sustain the high performance service requirements of LTE backhaul, while simultaneously mitigating severe levels of interference common in unlicensed spectrum.

This functionality establishes new levels of certainty and reliability for use of unlicensed spectrum, removing past impediments to its use for carrier grade mobile backhaul.

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