Ericsson has introduced MINI-LINK Traffic Node, a scalable microwave aggregation node for mobile networks. The new node provides a ten-fold increase in aggregated transport capacity, while enhancing network quality, flexibility and control, and reducing site space by up to 70 per cent.

Capacity requirements in mobile networks are growing to accommodate a broad range of new services, such as Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS), with more dynamic traffic patterns. Increasing the capacity of microwave transport networks - by far the most common technology used to carry traffic between radio base stations and other parts of the mobile network - traditionally involves extensive manual re-configuration, more equipment and additional installation and maintenance costs.


Ericsson MINI-LINK Traffic Node addresses these issues by providing highly scalable, cost-effective capacity that is configurable from a central management system, with greatly reduced space requirements. The system can be scaled from a small, flexible node to one that provides capacity for up to 18 microwave links in one magazine, with a total aggregated transport capacity of up to 400Mbit/s.


MINI-LINK Traffic Node - which is fully compatible with the large installed base of MINI-LINK E radios - performs electronic switching of traffic between the different incoming radio links. This eliminates the need for extensive manual cabling when aggregating capacity from several radio base stations within a microwave hub site.


The effect is reduced capital and operational expenditure (CAPEX and OPEX) throughout the lifetime of the transport network. In particular, installation and maintenance costs are considerably reduced compared with traditional solutions, while rack space requirements are reduced by up to 70 per cent. There is also a dramatic improvement in service quality in the mobile network through the high level of integration, built-in protection mechanisms, and the elimination of multiple cable connections.


"The top priority of most mobile operators today is to increase capacity and maintain high service quality at the lowest possible cost," said Sivert Bergman, General Manager of Ericsson's Transmission and Transport Unit. "The new MINI-LINK Traffic Node enables operators with microwave networks to meet the new traffic demands of  high-bandwidth, voice and data-oriented 2.5G and 3G mobile services at a lower cost and with increased network control than previously possible. Likewise, new mobile operators can deploy the solution as a highly flexible, integrated and cost-effective backhaul resource."


MINI-LINK Traffic Node, as with other MINI-LINK solutions, is based on open standards, making it fully compatible with networks from other suppliers.


MINI-LINK Traffic Node will be commercially available in the third quarter of 2003.


Other key elements of Ericsson's expanded microwave portfolio include: MINI-LINK High Capacity, which boosts link capacity to 155Mbit/s; MINI-LINK E with a new modulation technique that doubles spectrum utilization; MINI-LINK BAS, point-to-multipoint microwave system optimized for mobile applications; and MINI-LINK Manager, which provides centralized management of all Ericsson microwave solutions.
 
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