A New Wireless Broadband Link Record of 245 km

By Ray Savich   August 5, 2015

We’re always looking to push the limits of wireless broadband, reaching farther than ever before to provide high-quality connectivity where it previously did not exist. The first step in bringing connectivity to such locations is setting up a Point-to-Point (PTP) link.

To demonstrate the capabilities of our latest PTP backhaul solutions, Cambium Networks connected a point-to-point link from the top of Pike’s Peak, Colorado to just south of Cheyenne, Wyoming – a distance of 245 km (152 miles). For reference, that’s about the same distance from Paris to Brussels. To make the link more challenging, the link’s path passed directly over the densely populated Denver metropolitan area, where RF noise and interference had to be overcome. We added this complication to test our technology’s ability to mitigate interference, in addition to its ability to provide voice and video connectivity over a great distance. (watch the video)

Our Point-to-Point (PTP) solutions have more than five billion hours of field operations, and are deployed in thousands of networks around the world. Network operators are doing much more than data transmissions. We needed to verify that the long range link would support voice services and high definition video in addition to data transmission. Our engineers validated that the PTP 700 and PTP 650 now hold the record for very long range operations. With highly reliable, long range connectivity, there is not a place in the world beyond the reach of wireless broadband.

Like thousands of network operators around the world do on a daily basis, the team used the LINKPlanner planning software to design the connection and determine the equipment configuration. LINKPlanner provided a detailed path profile of the link and determined that the PTP 700 and the PTP 650 operating in the 5 GHz unlicensed spectrum equipped with three foot dual polarity parabolic dishes would achieve the connection with sufficient fade margin for a reliable connection. LINKPlanner also provided the engineers a profile view of the link which took into account the antenna elevation and curvature of the earth.

Cambium Networks’ PTP equipment is tested and designed to perform in challenging environments. For the demonstration, we used modules straight from the assembly line. Customers have shared some great deployments with us where the system worked well in challenging situations, and we knew the performance on Pike’s Peak would match the LINKPlanner estimates.

Other examples of challenging deployments:

The engineers met in Denver to stage the equipment and separated into two teams – one to Pike’s Peak and one to Cheyenne. Installation was completed in less than an hour. At the top of Pike’s Peak, we parked and started setting up the temporary mounts and other equipment. With limited mobile cellular communications at the summit, it was amazing when we connected the PTP 650 link and could communicate with clear voice and video directly with the remote team utilizing our VoIP gateway.

When the systems (both PTP 650 and PTP 700) were configured using a 45 MHz channel, they delivered reliable connectivity at a range of 245.8 km.  All voice, video and data communication was consistently clear.

When the same equipment was used to select using a narrower 5 MHz channel, the system delivered a solid connection at a range of 245.8 km.

This is a great achievement. It’s longer than anything most network operators would ever need to build. Most links are from 4 kilometers to 20 kilometers, and are very easy. By proving our technology at these extreme limits, network operators can deploy Cambium Networks PTP solutions with confidence.

We’d love to hear your stories on our forum.