PRESS RELEASE: du, from Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (EITC) and Huawei, have completed the commercial deployment of a long-reach E-band microwave link in Al-Quaa (Al Ain-Saudi Road) in the Middle East. The link, measuring 8.5 km in total distance, boasts the largest capacity in the region — up to 20 Gbit/s — and will support the data transmission requirements of 5G services.

In the Al-Quaa desert, optical fiber coverage is sparse and data transmission is mostly conducted via microwave networks. However, conventional microwave solutions have bottlenecks. Firstly, microwave links deployed on conventional frequency spectrum can only provide approximately 1 Gbit/s of capacity and therefore cannot support new services. Secondly, earlier E-band links can only transmit data over distance of approximately 2.5km. Due to the challenges of low fiber coverage, insufficient transmission capacity, and short transmission distance, it had hitherto been impossible to deploy 5G services in the Al-Quaa desert. To solve this problem, du worked with Huawei to develop a microwave solution that can provide both larger capacity and longer distance transmission.

Saleem Alblooshi, Chief Technology Officer, du said: “In our relentless pursuit of innovation and progress, the successful deployment of the E-band link has ushered in a new era for 5G service deployment in our region. Not only has it elevated the user experience to unprecedented heights, but it also stands as a testimony to du’s unwavering commitment to ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to reap the benefits of cutting-edge telecommunication technology. This achievement exemplifies our dedication to staying at the forefront of the industry and driving transformative change for the betterment of our customers and society.”

The innovative long-reach E-band link utilizes Huawei’s latest wireless innovations: the industry’s only E-band device with a maximum transmit power of 26 dBm and the industry’s only E-band high-gain antenna featuring intelligent beam tracking (IBT) and a maximum diameter of 0.9 m. By leveraging these technologies, the link is able to deliver a transmission distance of up to 8.5 km and a maximum capacity of 20 Gbit/s — double firsts in the Middle East region and a performance that is 50% higher than the industry average.

In addition, IBT technology effectively prevents link quality deterioration in the event of pole deformation due to extreme temperature changes and link quality jitter due to pole shake caused by winds — both of which are common in desert environments. The long-reach E-band link has now been running stably for 5 months, which verifies the feasibility of large-scale commercial rollout of 5G services in the region.

The long-reach E-band link provides du with an ideal alternative that outperforms optical fibers in terms of transmission capacity, transmission distance, and total cost of ownership (TCO). E-band links can be deployed at more and more sites, especially where fiber coverage is difficult, and will facilitate the large-capacity data transmission of 5G base stations.

James Zeng, President of Huawei Microwave Product Line, also had the following to say: “Long-reach E-band is an important direction for continuous innovation. It is projects like this that propel us to offer simplified, large-bandwidth, and easy-to-deploy microwave solutions to help our customers build leading networks and secure business success.”