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The Humanity of OPEX Reduction (or how not to fry an egg on a rooftop)

Humanity of OPEX Reduction
Posted 09/18/2015 by Neil Bullock

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Over the summer, we’ve been testing implementations of a variety of outdoor backhaul link technologies, including our own. This testing process involved the set-up of links in a number of locations, including rooftops. Rooftop testing is especially relevant, as rooftops are a likely location of small cell or metro Wi-Fi node deployment in cities. In many jurisdictions, including ours, the commercial building code requires that the roof must be painted white to reflect sunlight, helping to conserve energy.This also turns out to be a very effective way to heat anything located on the roof, including equipment and personnel.

We quickly found that we had to limit our time on the roof to avoid heat exhaustion. We also experienced a number of heat-related shutdowns of our PC-based test equipment. This environmental factor made us aware that a commercial city-scale deployment, where installation and maintenance is required at any time of day, could turn into a grueling experience.

At SiBEAM, we’ve long touted beam-forming as a way to significantly reduce the installation and maintenance costs of wireless backhaul links. Conventional wireless backhaul product installations require tedious and time consuming fine-alignments, which must be repeated every time the link goes out of alignment. Even ‘automatic’ alignment requires a truck roll that places the alignment equipment at each node, so that the fine alignment can be achieved. By contrast, beam-forming technology allows links to be established instantaneously without mechanical fine-alignment during installation and can be maintained even where conventional links might fail. Another benefit of the beam-forming solution is the ease with which new nodes may be added to create mesh networks, without the need to revisit existing node locations – the network dynamically adjusts.

Aside from the financial benefits, beam-forming technology offers a critical benefit in form of health and safety of the technicians responsible for the installation and maintenance of these networks. These installations are not to be undertaken lightly. Trust us - we speak from experience.

The Humanity of OPEX reduction (or how not to fry an egg on a rooftop)

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