MWC 2009: Vodafone's Backhaul Beauty Contest

BARCELONA -- Mobile World Congress 2009 -- It may not be the sexiest mobile technology topic on the block, but backhaul is a major issue for operators that have to deal with increasing data traffic volumes, as Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) showed here.

The mobile giant announced it is trialing Ethernet microwave technology that will quadruple its current backhaul capacity. While traditional microwave systems have peak rates of 32 Mbit/s, new Ethernet microwave technology can enable peak rates of about 180 Mbit/s, Vodafone representatives said. (See Vodafone Trials Wireless Backhaul.)

Given the increasing popularity of data services with Vodafone's customers, and given the operator's stated plans to boost its downlink speeds, landing a deal with the operator would be a boost for any vendor. (See Vodafone Trials Up to 16 Mbit/s and Exchange Rates Flatter Vodafone .)

The carrier tells Light Reading it is using technology from "five or six" suppliers during the trial, but has yet to decide whether to identify those vendors.

Industry sources suggest that Celtro Inc. and Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) are among those involved, while Ceragon Networks Ltd. (Nasdaq: CRNT) and Nokia Networks are among the other vendors that have been identified as potential suppliers for this trial.

Separately, microwave backhaul got some love from the venture capital community yesterday, as Exalt Communications Inc. announced its latest funding round. (See Exalt Raises $15M .)

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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