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Heavy Reading Sees Strong Demand for Converged Microwave Routers, But Uncertainty on Deployment Timing

-- New class of equipment integrates an IP/MPLS router with a high-capacity Ethernet microwave radio to reduce complexity, simplify management, and reduce costs in mobile backhaul networks

NEW YORK, Jan. 31, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Mobile operators are intrigued by the promise of Converged Microwave Routers (CMRs) to simplify and reduce costs for their backhaul networks, but are uncertain when they will be able to deploy such products, according to a major new report from Heavy Reading (www.heavyreading.com), the research division of Light Reading (www.lightreading.com).

Converged Microwave Routers: A Heavy Reading Survey Analysis assesses demand among mobile operators for CMRs – a new class of equipment that integrates an IP/MPLS router with a high-capacity Ethernet microwave radio. Consistent with the reevaluation of requirements that operators throughout the world are undertaking, this report leverages an exclusive survey of mobile operators to gain insight into their thinking about the role of microwave backhaul networks and the case for CMRs.

This report is based on Heavy Reading's 2013 Microwave Networking Survey, which was conducted in the spring of 2013. In addition to the 85 qualified respondents to our online survey, this report also takes account of the feedback provided by eight telephone interviews conducted with senior individuals with responsibility for mobile backhaul planning in mobile operators in different regions of the world.

"About one third of mobile operators that use microwave backhaul consider it 'very likely' that their company will deploy a CMR in the backhaul network in the next three years," says Patrick Donegan, Senior Analyst with Heavy Reading and author of the report. "Easier management is the single most important value proposition of a CMR, followed by lower cost. Both of these value propositions speak to the singular importance of bearing down on total cost of ownership, which is the single most important challenge mobile operators say they face in evolving their microwave backhaul networks."

Where a mobile operator uses microwave backhaul, the most important determinants of its propensity to deploy a CMR are largely business-oriented, Donegan explains. "These include where the operator is in the investment cycle in deploying L2 switching in the backhaul; its outlook on L3/MPLS in the backhaul and how far advanced it is in deploying that; and where the operator is with its LTE deployments. No one technical barrier figures prominently in operators' considerations of deploying a CMR."

Key findings of Converged Microwave Routers: A Heavy Reading Survey Analysis include the following:

In our survey, roughly half of mobile operator respondents are uncertain about their company's propensity to deploy a CMR in the next three years. Many mobile operators are undertaking a "root and branch" review of their backhaul requirements, including the balance between fiber and microwave and between L2 and L3 protocols in their backhaul network.

Market uncertainty reflects a variety of circumstances. Operators in emerging markets have only begun rolling out Carrier Ethernet switching in the last couple of years, and some of them can't upgrade to L3. So even if they do buy into the theoretical case for L3 in the backhaul, these operators have no choice but to wait and show an ROI on these L2 investments for the next several years.

Only a fifth of the total survey sample considers their companies "unlikely" to deploy a CMR within three years. One of the rationales among this minority can be found in operators that have already started rolling out standalone L3 cell-site routers, and are intent on seeing those investment programs through over the next several years.

Converged Microwave Routers: A Heavy Reading Survey Analysis costs $3,995 and is published in PDF format. The price includes an enterprise license covering all of the employees at the purchaser's company.

For additional information, or to request a free executive summary of this report, please contact:

David Williams
Global Director of Sales, Research
Heavy Reading
[email protected]

About Heavy Reading (www.heavyreading.com)
Heavy Reading is an independent research organization offering deep analysis of emerging telecom trends to network operators, technology suppliers, and investors. Its product portfolio includes in-depth reports that address critical next-generation technology and service issues, market trackers that focus on the telecom industry's most critical technology sectors, exclusive worldwide surveys of network operator decision-makers that identify future purchasing and deployment plans, and a rich array of custom and consulting services that give clients the market intelligence needed to compete successfully in the global telecom industry. As a division of UBM Tech (tech.ubm.com), Heavy Reading contributes to the only integrated business information platform serving the global communications industry.

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