Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Dumb Things Some “Consultants” Say about Microwave

I’ve heard them all. That microwave goes out in rain, or is bothered by snow, or that it’s bad in fog or even that you’ve got to worry about bird migrations. Then there’s the solar flares!

Never believe a blanket statement about microwave because “radios” come in a wide frequency range from 2 GHz to 80 GHz, and the radios behind those signals use a variety of different type antennas. Your microwave link might have a one degree beam or a thirty degree beam. Different frequencies and different antennas have a huge bearing on how the signal acts, whether in rain or shooting over ten miles of ocean.

Point-to-Point, 6GHz, Microwave WAN Connection
  A 69-Mile, 6 GHz "radio" w/8' dishes running 400 Mbps, full-duplex (redundant)  

Generally, lower frequency radios go further distances and so we have a 6 GHz link that goes 69-miles. At the other end of the spectrum, a 60 GHz link is hardly useable beyond ¾ of a mile, depending on your rain region. Yes, rain effects 60 GHz radios, but if you go to 6 GHz, you’ll never have a rain problem.

Whether a microwave link holds up to the elements is entirely a matter of proper frequency selection and transmit power, the right antenna type and size, and a good installation. These are all things your microwave integrator is supposed to handle because in the end, it’s their responsibility. They’re on the hook for performance, not the microwave manufacturer, who won’t come out to the field to fix these problems or reimburse you for an ill-fated purchase.

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