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Product Assessment - Microwave Backhaul

Nokia 9500 MPR


Gubbins, Ed | July 06, 2016
Product Assessment - Microwave Backhaul

JJ Summary

Gubbins, Ed
Current Analysis
Senior Analyst, Mobile
Access Infrastructure

Competitive Strengths

Common indoor/outdoor unit equipment and software leveraged across multiple products promises
simplified management.
Higher system gain than other vendors across short- and long-haul products promises more efficient
network performance.
An ability to aggregate more links than peers can lends flexibility and efficiency in site capacity.
The QoS Engines ability to protect high-priority traffic by dynamically routing it to the appropriate
microwave channels as needed is differentiating.
Integrated IP/MPLS functionality offers space savings, simpler management and exploits Nokias reputable
IP expertise.
In-house supplemental products (optical, routing) enable comprehensive end-to-end solutions.

Competitive Weaknesses

Common indoor/outdoor unit equipment and software leveraged across multiple products promises
simplified management.
Higher system gain than other vendors across short- and long-haul products promises more efficient
network performance.
An ability to aggregate more links than peers can lends flexibility and efficiency in site capacity.
The QoS Engines ability to protect high-priority traffic by dynamically routing it to the appropriate
microwave channels as needed is differentiating.

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Product Assessment - Microwave Backhaul

Integrated IP/MPLS functionality offers space savings, simpler management and exploits Nokias reputable
IP expertise.
In-house supplemental products (optical, routing) enable comprehensive end-to-end

Current Perspective

Nokias microwave backhaul portfolio is very strong in the marketplace. The portfolio consists of four radio
products sharing the 9500 MPR Transceivers (MPT) brand. In the short-haul category, Nokia offers three
products: the MPT-HC-HQAM, the MPT-GM (which supports E-band technology) and the MPT-XP-
HQAM, which is marketed for both shortandlong-haul applications. In addition, Nokia offers the MPT-HL
for long haul.
Beyond the radios, Nokia has multiple cell-site router offerings, packet optical transport solutions and
wireline access products for use in mobile backhaul. And the entire portfolio is managed by the 5620 Service
Aware Manager (SAM).
To address the wireless backhaul needs of small cells, Nokia has partnered with two vendors: Siklu for
V-band and E-band products (which Nokia calls its MPT-GS60 and MPT-GS80, respectively) and Radwin
for sub-6 GHz (Nokias MPT-SUB6).
Even before Nokia acquired Alcatel-Lucent, creating a larger competitor to challengeEricsson and Huawei,
Alcatel-Lucent wielded a potent combination of microwave radios, fixed-access and IP equipment, Nokia
delivering advantages over dedicated wireless backhaul specialists that lack such complementary assets.
Supplementary offerings such as cell-site routers, wireline access products and optical transport solutions
together with integrated routing functionality and common management systems give Nokias portfolio an
edge over more narrowly focused rivals.
Alcatel-Lucents combination with Nokia gives the company greater resources and presence globally to serve
operators and bundle offerings. But to many operators, who may have invested in Nokia backhaul only to
see that business sold to DragonWave, or who may have continued to buy DragonWave products through
Nokia only to see Nokia cease its partnership with DragonWave all these changes may create a sense of
instability that gives them pause about investing, at least in the near term.

JJ Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths

Common Units & Software: The 9500 MPR portfolio promises operators simplified management
through the use of common equipment applicable to different applications for example, indoor units and
outdoor radios that can be used in either deployment type as well as common software and management
systems.This commonality promises easier setup and monitoring and promises the ability to add capacity
indoors without needing to climb towers. In addition, Nokia offers a common management system for
small-cell backhaul solutions supplied by partners another simplifying step.
System Gain: Nokias highest system gain claims are market-leading or nearly so across its short- and
longhaul portfolios. The vendor claims a range of system gains for each of the 9500 MPRs, based
on different modulation types. On the high end, QPSK enables up to 131.5 dB with the MPT-HL
more than any competing long-haul product claims. In addition, the 128.5 dB claimed by Nokias

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Product Assessment - Microwave Backhaul

MPTXP- HQAM is matched by Ceragon but surpassed by none. System gain is the difference between
the nominal output power of a transmitter and the minimum input power to a receiver necessary for
satisfactory performance. Higher system gains imply better and more efficient network performance and
reliability.
Link Aggregation Support: Each of Nokias long-haul products support up to three link aggregation
groups, with eight radio links per link aggregation group. Operators can link three groups of eight or
four groups of six, but the maximum number of links that can be aggregated is 24 more than any other
vendor reports. Nokia also offers a full-outdoor option for 2+0 link aggregation using the mast-mountable
MPT-Twin. Higher link aggregation capabilities promise operators flexibility in the capacity and number
of links per site.
Multiservice Multichannel: Nokia promotes as differentiating the ability of its QoS Engine to protect
highpriority traffic by dynamically routing it to the appropriate microwave channels as needed when
network conditions change. This capability takes advantage of increasingly packet-based networks to
distinguish between highpriority and best-effort traffic in real time, adapting multi-channel networks to
accommodate varying service and application needs.
Routing Integration: Nokia offers solutions that integrate in-house IP/MPLS routing and microwave
radio functionality in the same physical unit. That integration offers potential space savings and simplified
management without sacrificing functionality. And because Nokia is a highly accomplished player in the
global IP routing space, its own in-house capabilities stand up very well to best-of-breed routing vendors
that other microwave vendors may use as partners.
In-House Supplemental Offerings: Nokia has a much broader portfolio of in-house supplemental
backhaul solutions than any of the four competitors examined here with the possible exception of Huawei.
Nokia has multiple cell-site router offerings, including the 7705 Service-Aware Router (SAR) and the
7210 SAS. It also offers multiple wireline access products and optical transport solutions. Supplemental
backhaul solutions can help vendors provide more comprehensive, or turnkey, offerings and allow for
greater product integration, which promises costeffective design and simpler supplier relations. They can
also give vendors another foot in the door with operators that can be leveraged to sell microwave backhaul
solutions.
Weaknesses

M&A Changes: Nokia may face concerns among operators about the stability of investing in its products,
considering that (a) Nokia divested its microwave backhaul business in 2012, inconveniencing some
customers who may not have forgotten the experience and (b) Nokia has been selling the gear of its
partner DragonWave for years until it obtained its current portfolio through the acquisition of Alcatel-
Lucent. These changes can disrupt operator relationships and create a sense of instability that may hamper
Nokias business.
Backhaul Radio Portfolio Depth: Nokia offers fewer macrocell backhaul radio products than the four
competitors examined here. With two dedicated short-haul products, one dedicated long-haul product
and a product that is marketed for both short haul and long haul, Nokias portfolio includes just four
products, while rivals offer between six and eight. This limited depth gives operators fewer options,
allowing rivals to claim greater flexibility in, and commitment to, addressing the diverse needs of a global
market.
Capacity Claims: Nokias short-haul capacity claims fall on the low side of the market; the MPT-GMs
2 Gbps is worst-in-class among E-band products, and the 1.2 Gbps of its other shorthaul products
surpasses only DragonWave. In addition, the 1.2 Gbps and 1.4 Gbps claims of its long-haul products are
undistinguished among rivals. High capacity ensures operators that their infrastructure investments can

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Product Assessment - Microwave Backhaul

keep up with ever-rising trafficCompetitive Matrix Summary volumes.

Short-Haul Form Factors: The volume and weight of Nokias shorthaul products fall on the high side
of market claims. Their weight ranges from 6 kg to 9.3 kg, depending partly on whether an internal or
external diplexer is used a range that sits high among competing claims. The 9.3kg MPT-XP-HQAM
in particular is one of the largest, heaviest products in this category. Products that are lighter and more
compact can translate to lower operational costs upon installation and reduced real estate (site rental)
costs.
Short-Haul Spectral Efficiency: Nokias short-haul microwave products promise capacities of 1.2 Gbps
in 56 MHz, indicating spectral efficiency of nearly 22 Mbps per MHz. This figure is above average in this
category but still surpassed by at least one product from three of the four other vendors we examined.
Higher spectral efficiency the ratio of total capacity to bandwidth utilized connotes better utilization
of resources, translating into greater financial efficiency.

JJ Point and Counterpoint

Point Counterpoint
Ceragon will point out that the capacity of its Nokia will argue that the capacity of its solutions
solutions surpasses Nokias and that operators is more than sufficient for the vast majority of
investing in Nokia will have limited ability operators today and go on to argue that it provides
to keep up with rising traffic volumes before more value in end-to-end offerings, including
having to invest again in upgrades. routing functionality that Ceragon cannot match.
DragonWave will point out that it offers a Nokia will respond that DragonWaves portfolio is
broader portfolio than Nokia, marketing a total only broad when it comes to long-haul products.
of nine products to Nokias four. This greater It offers three short-haul products as does Nokia
breadth gives operators more flexibility and and one of those products is better for small-cell
shows DragonWaves greater commitment to backhaul than macrocells. Nokia will also point
meeting the diverse needs of a global market. to its supplemental products more numerous
Huawei will point out that its own products are and credible than DragonWaves to further
more spectrally efficient than Nokias, essentially demonstrate its breadth.
giving operators more bang for their buck. Nokia will point to the high system gain of its
products, arguing that this is another (more general
but also more favorable) measure of how efficiently
spectrum is being utilized.

Buying/Selecting Criteria

JJ Short-Haul Microwave Backhaul

Capacity: Nokia claims its MPT-GM E-band product supports up to 2 Gbps of capacity and its other
two short-haul products each support 1.2 Gbps. The first claim is a worstin- class figure and the second
claim surpasses only DragonWave. High capacity claims can be used to assure operators that infrastructure

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Product Assessment - Microwave Backhaul

investments can handle rising network traffic demands.


System Gain: Nokia claims a range of system gains for each of the 9500 MPRs, based on different
modulation types. On the high end, QPSK enables 128.5 dB with the MPT-XPHQAM (a claim that is
matched by Ceragon but surpassed by none) and 121.5 dB with the MPT-HC-HQAM (surpassed by all
vendors except Huawei). System gain is the difference between the nominal output power of a transmitter
and the minimum input power to a receiver necessary for satisfactory performance. Higher system gains
imply better and more efficient network performance and reliability.
Form Factor & Mass: Nokias short-haul products range in weight from 6 kg to 9.3 kg, depending,
partly, on whether an internal or external diplexer is used; that puts the vendor on the high side of market
claims (the MPT-XP-HQAM is nearly the heaviest product in this category). In addition, the volume
of its products falls on the high side of market claims as well, with the MPT-XP-HQAM being one of
the largest products in this category. Products that are lighter and more compact can translate to lower
operational costs upon installation and reduced real estate (site rental) costs.
Spectrum Support: Nokias MPT-HC-HQAM supports frequencies between 5.8 and 13 GHz, its
MPT-XP-HQAM supports 6 to 11 GHz, and its E-band product supports 80 GHz. This performance is
respectable but not well-distinguished in the market. Support for a broad range of spectrum is important
in meeting operators needs.
Spectral Efficiency: Nokias short-haul microwave products promise capacities of 1.2 Gbps in 56 MHz,
indicating spectral efficiency of nearly 22 Mbps per MHz. This figure is above average in this category but
still surpassed by at least one product from three of the four other vendors we examined. Higher spectral
efficiency the ratio of total capacity to bandwidth utilized connotes greater utilization of resources,
translating into greater financial efficiency.

JJ Long-Haul Microwave Backhaul

Capacity: Nokia claims its MPT-HL supports capacity of more than 1.4 Gbps, and its MPT-XP-HQAM
has a capacity of more than 1.2 Gbps. These figures fall in the middle of rival claims. High capacity,
including functions like compression and de-duplication, ensures operators that their infrastructure
investments can keep up with ever-rising traffic volumes.
System Gain: Nokia claims a range of system gains for each of the 9500 MPRs, based on different
modulation types. On the high end of that range, QPSK enables up to 131.5 dB with the MPT-HL a
claim that exceeds all rivals in this category. System gain is the difference between the nominal output
power of a transmitter and the minimum input power to a receiver necessary for satisfactory performance.
Higher system gains imply better and more efficient network performance and reliability.
Form Factor & Mass: The weight of Nokias long-haul products fall on the low end of market claims in
this category, and the 4.1 kg ETSI version of its MPT-HL is nearly the lightest product we examined.
In addition, the volume of both products falls in the middle of rival claims. Products that are lighter
and more compact can translate to lower operational costs upon installation and reduced real estate (site
rental) costs.
Spectrum Support: Nokias long-haul products support frequencies between 4 and 13 GHz. This
performance is unremarkable, with some competitors offering more and some offering less. Support for a
broad range of spectrum is important in meeting operators needs.
Link Aggregation Support: Each of Nokias long-haul products support up to three link aggregation
groups, with eight radio links per link aggregation group. Operators can link three groups of eight or
four groups of six, but the maximum number of links that can be aggregated is 24 more than any other

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Product Assessment - Microwave Backhaul

vendor reports. Nokia also offers a fulloutdoor option for 2+0 link aggregation using the mast-mountable
MPT-Twin. Higher link aggregation capabilities especially prized in long-haul networks promise
operators flexibility in the capacity and number of links per site.

JJ Portfolio Strength

Portfolio Breadth/Diversity: With three short-haul products and two long-haul products (one of which
is marketed for both long- and short-haul applications), Nokias microwave radio portfolio is narrower
than those of all four other vendors we examined. But it contains a healthy mix of architectures, spanning
all-outdoor and split-mount configurations in both long-haul and short-haul applications, with an
additional all-indoor option in long haul. Vendors with broad, diverse portfolios are better equipped to
meet a range of market needs.
Supplemental Solutions: Nokia has a much broader portfolio of non-microwave supplemental backhaul
solutions than any of the four competitors examined here, with the possible exception of Huawei.
Nokia has multiple cell-site router offerings, including the 7705 Service-Aware Router (SAR), which the
vendor says includes integrated microwave options, as well as the 7210 SAS and 7750 SR series, which
include multiple variants. It also offers multiple wireline access products and optical transport solutions.
Supplemental backhaul solutions can help vendors provide more comprehensive or turnkey, offerings
and allow for greater product integration, which promises more cost effective design and simpler supplier
relations.
Small-Cell Backhaul: Nokia partners with Siklu for V-band and E-band small-cell backhaul solutions
and Radwin for sub-6 GHz. These solutions are managed by the same 5620 Service Aware Manager
(SAM) used to manage its macrocell backhaul products. In addition, Nokia has developed specific service
capabilities in this area that further bolster its authority.
Management: Nokias portfolio is managed by the 5620 Service Aware Manager (SAM), which claims
end-to-end management across base station sites, microwave and fiber aggregation hubs, controllers
and gateways. This includes management of small-cell backhaul products from partners as well as IP/
MPLS transport gear. This offering takes advantage of the broader assets Nokia wields that wireless
backhaul specialists typically do not. Effective management systems not only allow operators to monitor
and manage their backhaul solutions; they also offer varying degrees of integration with other network
management systems (RAN, core, etc.), allowing varying breadth of vision and granularity.

JJ Short-Haul Microwave Radio Backhaul Products

Metrics

Product Name Nokia 9500 MPR Transceivers (MPTs): MPT-HC-HQAM; MPT-GM;
MPT-XPHQAM
Deployment Type All: All-outdoor/split-mount
Physical Volume 235x235x130 mm with external diplexer, 235x235x150 mm with internal
diplexer; 290x270x99 mm; 235x235x176 mm
Weight 7.8 kg with external diplexer, 6 kg with internal diplexer; 6 kg; 9.3 kg
maximum, with external diplexer

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Product Assessment - Microwave Backhaul

Packet Support All: the 9500 MPR is a full-packet multi-service platform natively
supporting Ethernet traffic and supporting TDM/PDH/SDH over packet
CEM via 9500 MPR MSS indoor networking units MSS-1 (0.5 RU),
MSS-4 (1U) and MSS 8 (2.0 RU)
Radio Throughput 940 Mbps (integrated XPIC); up to 2000 Mbps; 940 Mbps (integrated
XPIC)
Capacity 1222 Mbps; 2000 Mbps; 1222 Mbps
Maximum Capacity 56; 500; 56
Bandwidth
Spectral Efficiency 21.8; 4; 21.8
Link Aggregation Groups 4; 0; 4
Supported
Radio Links per Link Ag- 8; 0; 8
gregation Group
Maximum Number of 24; 0; 24
Aggregated Links
Link Aggregation Layer Layer 1; N/A; Layer 1
System Gain QPSK up to 121.5 dB, 256 QAM up to 101.5 dB, 2048 QAM up to 83.5
dB; 4 QAM up to 91 dB, 16 QAM up to 79 dB, 64 QAM up to 71 dB;
QPSK up to 128.5 dB, 256 QAM up to 108.3 dB, 2048 QAM 90.2 dB
Modulation Scheme 4-2048 QAM; BPSK, 4 QAM, 16 QAM, 64 QAM; 4-2048 QAM
Spectrum Frequencies 5.8 to 38 GHz (FDD); 80 GHz (FDD); L6, U6, 7, 8, 11 GHz (FDD)
Supported
Timing/ Synchronization All: SDH/SONET & packet ITU-T G.813/G. 823/G.8264 conformance:
Capabilities E1/STM-1, DS1/SONET, External syncin/ sync-out (2/5/10 MHz),
SyncE + SSM G.8264, Built-in Stratum 3 clock, STM-1 line clock, IEEE
1588v2, Line clock recovery, ACR, DCR, node timing
Layer 2 Support All: E-Line, E-LAN, and E-Tree Carrier Ethernet services. ITU-T 8032v2
networking. Q-in-Q VPN services encapsulation
IP/MPLS Support All: Integrated microwave options with the Nokia 7705 SAR portfolio
General Availability Timing All: 2014 (MPR indoor networking units available 2012 [MSS-1], 2008
[MSS- 4], 2008 [MSS-8], 2014 [MSS-O])

JJ Long-Haul Microwave Radio Backhaul Products


Product Name Nokia 9500 MPR transceivers (MPTs): MPT-XP-HQAM; MPT-HL cubic
(ANSI); MPT-HL Slim (ETSI)
Deployment Type All-outdoor/split-mount; All-indoor; Allindoor/All-outdoor

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Product Assessment - Microwave Backhaul

Physical Volume 235x235x176 mm; 103x202x283 mm (each subrack occupies 2.5 RU in


a standard 19-inch rack and holds up to 2 MPT-HLCs); 382x212x46.5
mm (2200 mm with up to 20 transceivers, 2000 mm with up to 10
transceivers, 1700 mm with up to 10 transceivers, 1300 mm with up to 10
transceivers)
Weight 9.3 kg maximum with external diplexer; 5.05 kg; 4.1 kg
Packet Support All: TDM/PDH/SDH over packet CEM via Nokia 9500 MPR MSS
indoor networking units MSS-1 (0.5 RU), MSS-4 (1U), MSS 8 (2.0 RU)
Radio Throughput 940 Mbps (integrated XPIC); 1106 Mbps (integrated XPIC); 1106 Mbps
(integrated XPIC)
Capacity 1222 Mbps; 1438 Mbps; 1438 Mbps
Maximum Capacity 56 MHz; 60 MHz; 56 MHz
Bandwidth
Spectral Efficiency 21.8; 24; 25.7
Link Aggregation Groups All: 4
Supported
Radio Links per Link All: 8
Aggregation Group
Maximum Number of All: 24
Aggregated Links
Link Aggregation Layer All: Layer 1
System Gain QPSK up to 128.5 dB, 256 QAM up to 108.3 dB, 2048 QAM up to 90.2
dB; QPSK up to 131.5 dB, 256 QAM up to 112.0 dB, 1024 QAM up to
104.5 dB; QPSK up to 123.3 dB, 256 QAM up to 103.0 dB, 1024 QAM
up to 95.2 dB
Modulation Scheme 4-2048 QAM; QPSK, 16 QAM, 32 QAM, 64 QAM, 128 QAM, 256
QAM, 512 QAM, 1024 QAM; QPSK, 16 QAM, 32 QAM, 64 QAM,
128 QAM, 256 QAM, 512 QAM, 1024 QAM
Spectrum Frequencies L6, U6, 7, 8, 11 GHz (FDD); 4, L6, U6, 7, 8, 11 and 13 GHz; L4, U4,
Supported U6, L6, 7, 8, 10.5, 11 and 13 GHz (FDD)
Timing/Synchronization All: SDH/SONET & packet ITU-T G.813/G. 823/G.8264 conformance:
Capabilities E1/STM-1, DS1/SONET, External syncin/ sync-out (2/5/10 MHz),
SyncE + SSM G.8264, Built-in Stratum 3 clock, STM-1 line clock, IEEE
1588v2, Line clock recovery, ACR, DCR, node timing
Layer 2 Support All: E-Line, E-LAN, and E-Tree Carrier Ethernet services. ITU-T 8032v2
networking. Q-in-Q VPN services encapsulation
IP/MPLS Support Integrated microwave options with the Nokia 7705 SAR portfolio
General Availability 2014; 2013; 2013 (MPR indoor networking units available 2012 [MSS-
Timing 1], 2008 [MSS-4], 2008 [MSS-8], 2014 [MSS-O])

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Product Assessment - Microwave Backhaul

JJ Small-Cell Backhaul Products


Product Name MPT-SUB6; MPT-GS60; MPT-GS80
Technology Type Sub 6 GHz NLOS/LOS options; 60 GHz LOS option; 80 GHz LOS
option
Partnerships RADWIN for Sub 6 GHz NLOS/LOS options; Siklu for 60 and 80 GHz
LoS option
Management System All: 5620 SAM (i.e., same in-house system used to manage macrocell
Integration backhaul)
General Availability Tim- All: 2014
ing

JJ Supplementary Mobile Backhaul Products


Cell-Site Routers Nokia 7705 SAR (has integrated microwave options as well); Nokia 7210
SAS; Nokia 7750 SR
Broadband Access Mobile 7705 SAR-M (GPON, xDSL), 73xx ISAM and GPON & EPON SFP
Backhaul Products ONT
Partnerships RADWIN for Sub 6 GHz NLOS/LOS options; Siklu for 60 and 80 GHz
LoS option
Optical Mobile Backhaul Nokia 1830 PSS; Nokia 1850 TSS
Products
ManagementPlatform 5620 SAM

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