Virgin Media and Siklu Trial Urban Small Cell Backhaul Network in UK
Published on: 28th May 2014
Backhaul vendor, Siklu says that it has carried out trials of a small cell backhaul network in Leeds on behalf of the UK's Virgin Media Business.
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 then deployed.
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 Wi-Fi 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.
"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.