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When are microwave links worthwhile?

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When are microwave links worthwhile?

Communication via microwave links is a transport technology and serves in the first instance as a fixed data connection between digital network nodes at any locations. Both individual links and complete networks of differing dimensions are possible. Microwave links can be embedded in linear, star or ring networks or a combination of all three. Even a combined construction with differing transport technologies is possible.

In practice, microwave links are used most frequently by mobile radio providers, who use them for connecting their base stations cost-effectively in networks. But small, medium-sized and large companies of non-telecommunication companies, scientific establishments and public authorities use microwave links too, and for are a great number of different purposes. The most common applications are for connections between IT and/or telecommunication networks of a company with a number of locations or for connections to servers and Internet gateways. Examples of microwave link users for whom I have planned microwave links, a number of which links having been in operation for many years, can be found in the gallery of this website.

Above all, microwave links compete with leased lines of national telecommunication companies or other network operators. A cost-based comparison of the alternatives can be made very easily.


Microwave links can always be recommended if following technical conditions are fulfilled: 

  • More cost-effective technologies (for example xDSL, WLAN or terrestrial free-space optical links) are not available or do not fulfil the technical requirements on the required data link. 
  • Either unimpeded line of sight exists between the locations to be connected or it would be possible to install active or passive repeaters. 
  • The distance between locations is between a few hundred metres and 50 km — in exceptional cases, higher values. For even longer distances the installation of active repeater stations is unavoidable. 
  • The maximum data transmission rate to expected in the long run is not more than 1000 Mbit/s. (Higher values of capacity are only possible in certain cases). 
  • The structural conditions at the locations are suitable for the erection of microwave equipment.
For expanding please click on the images

For transmission to particularly exposed sites like broadcasting stations, microwave links are mostly without alternative.
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