Startup Boosts Alcatel-Lucent's Backhaul

Small-cell backhaul specialist Sub10 Systems Ltd. announced Wednesday that it has landed a distribution agreement with Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), making it the first major equipment vendor to offer the startup's wireless backhaul products. (See Alcatel-Lucent Picks Sub10 for Backhaul.)

Alcatel-Lucent will include Sub10's Liberator millimeterwave radios as part of its metro cell backhaul offerings, the companies said.

U.K.-based Sub10 specializes in millimeterwave radios that operate in the 60GHz frequency band and have capacity of up to 320 Mbit/s over a distance of up to 1 kilometer. The company believes those attributes make its products especially suited to small-cell backhaul, but the radios can also be used to link macro cell base stations that are close together.

Sub10 is joining another another startup, BridgeWave Communications , in AlcaLu's backhaul portfolio. (See AlcaLu Enhances Microwave Backhaul.)

According to an Alcatel-Lucent spokesman, today's announcement does not affect the existing partnership with BridgeWave. The agreement with Sub10 is for 60GHz products, while the relationship with BridgeWave is for 80GHz (a.k.a., "E-band") products.

Why this matters
The distribution deal with Alcatel-Lucent can be seen as an endorsement of Sub10's products. Also, as backhaul remains one of the biggest challenges to the business case for small cells, today's news is an indication that millimeterwave radios could be a viable technology for providing high-capacity small-cell backhaul.

Other millimeterwave small-cell backhaul specialists include BridgeWave, E-Band Communications Corp. and Siklu Communications Ltd.

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— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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