Skip to main content

Kenya gets 5G using microwave backhaul tech

Aviat WTM 4800.
(Image credit: Future)

 Rolling out 5G, especially in more remote locations, is posing a number of challenges for mobile network operators (MNOs) around the world. And one of the biggest challenges MNOs face is installing a backhaul connection to the core network, when there isn’t the option to run fiber or copper cable to a cell site.

In these cases, MNOs are turning to microwave frequency bands, which, although having extremely poor general coverage, are perfect for focusing a narrower beam, which creates a point-to-point connection between sites, and can deliver speeds of up to 10Gbps, over a distance of six miles.

Delivering 5G in Kenya

Safaricom, the largest telecom company in Kenya, is one such company taking advantage of microwave backhaul, and it has announced that it will be using Aviat's WTM 4800 multi-band radio platform to deliver 5G to its customers. 

"The pace of 5G rollouts is increasing and we plan to leverage our differentiated capabilities to help customers deploy the lowest TCO backhaul possible."

Pete Smith, Aviat Networks.

"We are excited to continue to expand our WTM 4800 multi-band deployments internationally," said Pete Smith, President and CEO, Aviat Networks. "The pace of 5G rollouts is increasing and we plan to leverage our differentiated capabilities to help customers deploy the lowest TCO backhaul possible."

The WTM 4800 is a multi-band product, which combines traditional microwave (6-42 GHz) and E-band (70-80 GHz) over the same link, and same antenna. The benefits of a multi-band installation are lower spectrum costs, as you can offload traffic from costly microwave spectrum onto less expensive E-band spectrum, whilst still maintaining the reliability of microwave technology.

Microwave spectrum cost, especially in countries where it demands a premium, such as those with more remote connection needs, is one of the largest TCO (total cost of ownership) elements for a country looking to roll out 5G. And Aviat says that its multi-band products provide the lowest TCO for 5G backhaul, especially in countries, like Kenya, where the cost of microwave spectrum is high.

Customers can design their multi-band links with Aviat Design, and purchase their multi-band links from Aviat Store, at www.aviatcloud.com

Dan is a British journalist with 20 years of experience in the design and tech sectors, producing content for the likes of Microsoft, Adobe, Dell and The Sunday Times. In 2012 he helped launch the world's number one design blog, Creative Bloq. Dan is now editor-in-chief at 5Gradar, where he oversees news, insight and reviews, providing an invaluable resource for anyone looking to stay up-to-date with the key issues facing 5G.