V Band 60Ghz UNLICENSED Point To Point links

For many short point to point backhaul deployments the 5Ghz frequency is used and quite often, rightly so. The solutions are readily available, often easy to deploy and the price of the link is often attractive. On top of that you can achieve speeds upwards of 700mbps with the latest 802.11ac chipsets. There is one issue… Because they are so good everyone uses them.

Because 5Ghz radios are so attractive, everyone is doing the same thing; meaning you are likely to encounter interference from other 5Ghz radios when you deploy yours. Especially if you are in an urban area, business park, or installing near a Wi-Fi network because it’s very possible they will be using the same frequencies. Often these 5Ghz links are deployed using antennas that aren’t as directional as maybe they should be meaning they are blasting coverage all over the place. This causes spectral inefficiently and causes high levels of RF noise in that area and gradually this builds as more link are deployed up making it more and more difficult to deploy a stable 5Ghz link. It’s a bit like that guy in the office who talks loudly making it difficult for everyone else to have a separate conversation is slowly inviting all his loud friends to work. 

So, what’s the answer? Use a different frequency. If your link is sub 400 meters, then 60Ghz might just be the perfect fit. 

1. Its licence free in the UK so you won’t have to register it with Ofcom. 

2. It can offer higher throughput than 5Ghz with much lower latency.

3. The 60Ghz spectrum is 9GHz wide, and the antenna beams are narrow. The band is subject to significant oxygen absorption, which makes it virtually interference free, no matter how densely you deploy links. So, you won’t be causing issues for anyone else unlike the 5Ghz loud mouths. 

There are some key points to consider when deploying a 60Ghz link that you must consider over 5Ghz. 

1. Because the beam widths on the radios are much narrower they are less tolerant to movement. You need to ensure the mounting is solid. A slight movement will likely cause major issues with the link.

2. Distance, because the band is subject to significant oxygen absorption the RF signal can only travel so far. The reality is that if your link is over 400 meters then there may be a better solution for you. If it’s over 800 meters the 60Ghz frequency is unlikely to work at all. 

3. Line of sight. With 5Ghz you can get away with some incursion into the path of the link and still get a useable backhaul. With 60Ghz you absolutely need 100% clear line of sight. The good news in the beam is much narrower so this is easier to achieve. 

The 60 GHz band is an excellent choice for shorter wireless point to point applications that require high availability and high throughput. There are several manufactures that are now producing radios that work within the 60Ghz frequency which means competition for your custom is higher and so inevitably prices are driven down which is never a bad thing. If you are in an urban area and you have a point to point requirement try to steer clear of 5Ghzm, if it’s a shorter link make sure you take a good look at some 60Ghz solutions.