High-Capacity Wireless Backhaul Solutions

TESSCO affords you the largest product offering from the premier suppliers of microwave antenna products. TESSCO delivers antennas, elliptical waveguide, accessories and radios to support your communication requirements.

Backhaul Radio Matrix

Backhaul Radio Matrix


Selecting the best backhaul solution requires a balance of speed, distance and price. In addition to gathering best-in-class manufacturers in one portfolio, TESSCO has developed an easy selection tool, allowing you to compare products by common attributes.

Download the Backhaul Matrix (PDF).

Broadband Warranty Matrix

Broadband Warranty Matrix


After you select the right radio, ensure that your network is protected by covering your backhaul radios with the appropriate manufacturer's extended warranty or extended warranty with advanced replacement program.

TESSCO has developed a Warranty Matrix so you can easily determine the warranty option that fits your need and radio selection.

Download the Broadband Warranty Matrix (PDF).

Securing Your Data

Radio Matrix


Is data encryption important to you? TESSCO's radio portfolio includes those with data encryption capabilities. TESSCO has developed a snapshot of radios with FIPS 140-2 certification and/or AES-256 encryption capabilities.

Download the Radio Matrix (PDF).

Spotlight on Microwave Technology

Microwave radios, can move large amounts of information at high speeds. They have the ability to transmit both digital and analog data. Microwave can also penetrate rain, fog, and snow, which means inclement weather does not disrupt the transmission. Microwave radios support high bandwidth requirements while proving the highest level of encryption. Microwave radios also have the ability to withstand the highest amount of interference.

Unlicensed Links

Lower total cost, no licensing fees, quick and easy deployments. Disadvantage is that ISM bands and unlicensed frequencies are subject to potential interference issues.

Can be up and running in a relatively short time and without a lot of added expense to the end user. The drawback is potential interference or lack of coordination among individual users. With unlicensed radios the end user has no control over who is able to use the frequency and thus can encounter unexpected or unplanned interference. However if the proper precautions are taken one can use an unlicensed link successfully for a number of years.

Licensed Links

Licensed links tend to have higher throughputs and be more reliable. Because the frequency is licensed, users are certain they're the only ones in the area allowed to use that frequency. They also have confidence of knowing the occasional access point at a home or coffee shop is not going to take down mission-critical data or slow their network. Licensed links are generally more expensive because of licensing fees and the additional time needed to install the system.

Licensed microwave is inherently interference-free. Unlicensed is not. Licensed radios have to meet stringent FCC specs concerning transmit power, channel spacing, bandwidth utilization, receiver discrimination, antenna size and even the width of the radio beam. All this maximizes efficiency of the licensed spectrum, enabling a multitude of users to enjoy their own clear slice of radio heaven. No such provisions or design attributes are built into unlicensed radios.

Featured Licensed Links

Point-to-point links can be a great alternative to fiber! Licensed radios from Bridgewave and DragonWave will ave on deployment time and costs. They offer tremendous throughput, network availability and spectral efficiency-and the capacity can be upgraded remotely.

See all licensed microwave links.

Best Applications:

  • Network cellular backhaul.
  • Physically diverse networks.
  • Wireless rings/WWAN.
  • Longer distances.
Learn More

TDM vs. IP FDD vs. TDD

Technology Snapshot

In virtually any multi-location application using Internet technology or wireless, backhaul is required. As wireless technology evolves beyond traditional T-1 capabilities, wireless backhaul is emerging as a versatile and integral component of sending data from one point to another, where it can be distributed to many points of access. While it could be a choke point for the network, backhaul can also be its strength when designed correctly. Wireless backhaul in commercial or enterprise networks has become very attractive with the high data rates, ease of installation and scalability. Wireless backhauls are now capable of transmitting upwards of 1.25 Gbps, and they can travel over long distances to a network operations center or access point cluster.

Because of the large variation in speed, distance, frequency type, and price, choosing the correct backhaul solution can make or break the entire system.

Selecting Your Backhaul Solution

Selecting the best backhaul option requires a balance of speed, distance and price. For wireless technologies, the general rule of faster and longer doesn't always mean more, so networks should be designed to support the current needs as well as at least a 30% growth in traffic. It is generally less expensive to install a unit that costs a little more on the front end, but can scale up by 30%, than to install one that will cost less in the beginning but needs faster replacement. More is not necessarily better! And if a network will only require 10 Mbps for the foreseeable future, there is no need for a 300 Mbps backhaul that will increase short-term costs with no long-term return.

Free Space Optics

Free Space Optical Communication (FSO) has emerged in recent years as an attractive alternative to the conventional Radio Frequency (RF) approach. Like fiber, FSO technology uses a laser to transmit data, however, this technologies medium varies greatly. Instead of enclosing the data stream in glass like fiber, FSO technology uses a robust laser that modulates an invisible or infrared (IR) beam through the atmosphere to obtain optical communication.

How Free Space Optics (FSO) Works

Free space optics transmits invisible, eye-safe light beams from one telescope to another using low-power infrared laser in the terahertz spectrum. The beam of light in an FSO system is transmitted by laser light focused on highly sensitive photon detector receivers. These receivers are telescopic lenses able to collect the photon stream and transmit digital data containing a mix of Internet messages, video images, voice, radio signals or computer files. FSO technology is based on the connectivity between optical wireless units, each consisting of an optical transceiver and receiver that provide full duplex capability. Each optical wireless unit uses a high-power laser, plus a lens or telescope that transmits light through the atmosphere to anther lens receiving the information.

Free Space Optics Advantages

  • Enhanced Security:
    • FSO laser beams cannot be detected with spectrum analyzers or RF meters.
    • The beam widths of FSO products are narrow and invisible, making them harder to find and even harder to intercept.
    • FSO products require line of site and require a matching transmitter and receiver to relay data.
  • Enhanced Reliability
    • System provides full capacity and 99.999% availability excluding fog.
    • Built-in auto-tracking is standard with every unit.
    • Low capital expenditure for capacity and operation.
    • FSO systems can function over distances of several kilometers providing last-mile fiber.
    • Free from government regulations and spectrum leasing.
    • Low installation cost and maintenance.
    • Narrow beam width ensures no practical limit for number of links established at one site.
    • High bandwidth (156 Mbps to 1.25 Gbps).

Best Applications:

  • Ultra-high capacity MAN/LAN extension
  • "Last Mile" Fiber alternative (crossing highways, rivers, airports)
  • Crowded urban environments and campuses
  • Difficult terrain
  • Disaster recovery
  • Building-to-building leased line replacement

Millimeter Wave Technology

The millimeter-wave region of the electromagnetic spectrum is usually considered to be the range of wavelengths from 10 millimeters (0.4 inches) to 1 millimeter (0.04 inches). This means they are larger than infrared waves or x-rays, for example, but smaller than radio waves or microwaves. The millimeter-wave region of the electromagnetic spectrum corresponds to radio band frequencies of 30 GHz to 300 GHz and is sometimes called the Extremely High Frequency (EHF) range. The high frequency of millimeters waves as well as their propagation characteristics (that is, the ways they change or interact with the atmosphere as they travel) makes them useful for a variety of applications including transmitting large amounts of computer data, cellular communications, and radar.

Certain characteristics of the earth's atmosphere pose both problems and solutions for millimeter wave applications. For example, at 60 GHz (5 mm or 0.2 inches wavelength) oxygen molecules will interact with electromagnetic radiation and absorb the energy. This means 60 GHz is not a good frequency for use in long-range radar or communications, because the oxygen absorbs the electromagnetic radiation-and the signal. On the other hand, since the 60 GHz signal does not travel far before it loses all its energy, this frequency comes in handy for secure short-range communications, such as local wireless area networks used for portable computers, where it is important that hackers do not tap into the data stream.

The millimeter-wave platform transmits and receives on shorter wavelengths. These shorter wavelengths allow the band to use smaller antennas than required for lower band systems. Millimeter wave antennas also produce very narrow beams that focus energy on the intended receivers while providing smaller, more secure data paths than lower frequency system.

Millimeter Wave Technology Advantages

  • Easy to co-locate radios because of their narrow beamwidth
    • Can be installed on the same roof or mast.
  • Easy to install and align
    • Each system comes with a simple visual alignment tool.
    • System is not affected by building sway.
  • Oxygen Absorption and Security
    • Oxygen attenuates 60 GHz signals, a property that is unique to the 60 GHz spectrum.
    • Oxygen absorption ensures that the signal does not extend far beyond the intended target, even with radios along the exact same trajectory.

Best Applications:

  • Inter-building LAN extensions.
  • Server centralizations.
  • Redundant fiber overlays.
  • Disaster recovery.
  • Secure (HIPAA-compliant) campus connectivity.

Contact TESSCO at 800-472-7373 or email us with any questions. We look forward to doing business with you!

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