Modernizing, evolving, and upgrading your network gear is a necessary evil if you want to keep up with the ever-growing demands of your network. But let’s be honest – it's a pain in the byte. However, there are a few ways that can make this process more efficient and less painful.
The main challenges of modernizing your wireless backhaul network include:
Capital expenditures (CAPEX) such as new equipment and accessories
Lengthy time-to-market because of the process
Labor for commissioning the new links and de-commissioning the existing links
Mitigation of service interference and degradation of your customers’ experience during the transition
The secret behind a painless wireless backhaul network modernization is to upgrade by utilizing elements from the existing links as much as possible.
Making use of existing elements reduces the CAPEX burden, as well as the number and length of tasks required for the process. This means a shorter time-to-market, less required skills and labor, and reduced service interruption.
Antennas, for example, are prime candidates for re-use. These passive, reliable components are safe to use with a new link. Re-using them saves time and the skills required for antenna-alignment – one of the most time-consuming tasks when commissioning a link.
To properly re-use antennas, make sure your new radios are compatible with your existing antennas, which is usually the case when using the same wireless backhaul vendor. However, if you are switching to a new vendor, make sure the vendor offers an antenna adaptor. These passive and simple adaptors allow you to connect the new radio to the old antenna and significantly save on all the parameters mentioned above – CAPEX, time to market, labor, and service interruption.
The radio unit is another element that can often be re-used, as some vendors can significantly improve the links’ performance and capabilities by upgrading only the indoor unit and re-using the radio units of the existing link. Re-using the radio unit not only saves you CAPEX, but eliminates the need to climb the tower, which dramatically simplifies the entire process, reduces time-to-market, cuts costs, and mitigates network service interruptions.
In some cases, you may need to replace radio units, but you can still save by re-using indoor units. While this may save less, it still offloads some of the upgrade burden.
In summary, to save time and resources when choosing your network modernization path, first consider what equipment you can re-use prior to purchasing new equipment.
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