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Virgin Media Business and Siklu Trial Urban Small Cell Backhaul Network in UK

Virgin Media Business and Siklu, the market leader in millimeter wave backhaul systems, have successfully trialed a small cell backhaul network in Leeds, located in the northern United Kingdom.

In the trial, which was conducted under typical small cell network conditions, Siklu radios were installed on lighting poles across Leeds by installers without any telecommunications experience. The EtherHaul-600T backhaul radios were easily deployed and performed flawlessly during the trial.

This small cell deployment comes after Virgin Media Business was awarded a concession by Leeds City Council in 2012. This gave the company access to street furniture in order to provide public WiFi and to boost mobile data services in locations across the city. It also enabled Virgin Media Business to provide Sync E fibre backhaul to mobile operators for small cell network deployment.

In the first step of the trial, a small cell network on the street furniture proved the feasibility of street level deployments. There are a number of installation and operational challenges in these deployments that operators haven’t faced with their macrocell deployments.

For example, access to street furniture is limited, both in terms of personnel and time to deploy. The authorized installation personnel do not always have telecom expertise, so installation needs to be light touch. Unit size has to be small so it blends in with the environment, and equipment needs to perform reliably despite street pole sway, twist, and tilt.

For the trial, Virgin Media Business deployed Siklu's EtherHaul-600T units up and down a major street in Leeds, on different types of lighting poles. The Leeds City Council lighting contractor performed the installation.

The installation went quickly and smoothly, and the equipment has been working flawlessly since installation.

“We have been impressed with how well Siklu’s radios have performed. During the trial, they were tested with both rain and varying wind conditions, which often disturbs the unit's position on the pole, and have continued to run smoothly,” said Bruce Girdlestone, senior business development manager, Virgin Media Business.

Siklu’s EtherHaul-600T is designed for deployment on any type of street furniture and provides gigabit throughput along with advanced networking and multiple ports for deployment in daisy chain or ring topologies.

“The Leeds trial is quite typical of small cell backhaul scenarios we’ve seen," said Shahar Peleg, Director of Product Management for Siklu. "Our EtherHaul-600T shines on the street. It’s the smallest backhaul radio in the world. It can be installed by any installer with authorized access to the street poles, with no telco background needed, and it provides enough capacity for the complex topologies needed in street level installations."

Peleg added, “Siklu is very focused on driving down small cell installation and operational backhaul costs for operators, which is why we’ve just added an auto-alignment kit and zero touch commissioning to the EtherHaul-600T. That reduces installation time to under 15 minutes.”

About Virgin Media Business

Virgin Media Business is the largest business-to-business Virgin brand and part of the Virgin Media group, the UK’s first provider of all four broadband, TV, mobile phone and home phone services. The division prides itself on delivering innovative, high quality solutions that break down the barriers facing UK organizations today. Organizations working with Virgin Media Business include Knight Frank, Telefonica, London Grid for Learning, Hampshire Fire and Rescue and Cambridge County Council. Virgin Media is a part of Liberty Global plc, the world’s largest international cable company. Together Virgin Media and Liberty Global serve 25 million customers across 14 countries, helping connect people to the digital world and enabling them to discover and experience its endless possibilities. To see analysis on the current issues surrounding business-to-business telecoms please visit our blog or get involved at http://twitter.com/vmbusiness.

About Siklu

Siklu delivers gigabit capacity millimeter wave wireless backhaul solutions operating in the 60, 70 and 80 GHz bands. The top choice of tier-1 operators worldwide, thousands of units have been deployed and deliver carrier grade performance. Siklu’s innovative all-silicon design has dramatically reduced prices and effectively opened the market for ultra-high capacity wireless links. Siklu is currently deploying its next innovation - 60 GHz backhaul that will enable mass deployment of small cells and other street-level networked devices.

Learn more at www.siklu.com.

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