Collinear’s Hybrid FSO/E-Band RF Solution Solves the Problems of Capacity and Performance for Wireless Backhaul Connectivity

By Vic McClelland, Chief Solutions Architect, and Alvaro de Jodra Cavero, Product Owner, Collinear

Within the next five years, data traffic is expected to experience at an eightfold increase globally. In South East Asia, India, Africa, and the Middle East, growth is expected to top ten times the current data traffic. This data growth, driven primarily by video traffic enabled by LTE deployments, will increase even further with the introduction of new services such as 4K/8K video, and AR/VR enabled by LTE-A, small cells and 5G deployments.

Microwave wireless backhaul links are used extensively in networks worldwide, but only operate at capacities of up to 1Gbps. In order for wireless solutions to support greater capacity, more spectrum is needed; however, it is not available in the traditional frequency bands these systems operate in (8GHz-40GHz).

While E-Band (70-80GHz) allows operators to create higher capacity links, they are unreliable in rain over longer distances. This shortcoming has resulted in the current belief that optic fiber links are the only real solution.

Collinear has combined proven, advanced technology developed by Lockheed Martin Space, with next generation, low cost, off-the-shelf components to develop a breakthrough over-the-air connectivity solution that solves the additional capacity of backhaul, while addressing the shortcomings of high band E-Band systems.


The Collinear Hybrid over-the-air connectivity solution, Alex 1.0, which is scheduled to launch in 2018, offers a number of industry leading developments that make it unique in solving capacity and performance issues:

Capacity: the Alex 1.0 solution combines a 10Gbps FSO link with a 10Gbps E-Band RF to provide an aggregate of up to 20Gbps for an ultra-high capacity backhaul solution.

Performance: the Alex 1.0 solution integrates an FSO link and E-Band RF with intelligent traffic management that shares traffic over the FSO at times of rain, when the E-Band RF may not perform well, and over the E-Band RF at times of low visibility, such as fog, when the FSO may not perform as well.

Cost: Using advanced technology developed by Lockheed Martin Space, we are able to manufacture our solution with components that have never been used in the commercial domain, which eliminates the manual work traditionally associated with FSO equipment manufacturing. Also, there have been major advances in off-the-shelf components for both radio and switch equipment, which dramatically reduces our cost.

Backhaul connectivity must evolve to support higher capacity, flexible deployment and lower cost. Whilst fiber is a solution, it is not always fit for this purpose; a viable wireless solution is required. E-Band wireless inherently offers more capacity due to its higher band spectrum, but wireless backhaul also requires high reliability to solve the problems of today and tomorrow’s use cases. Hybrid FSO/E-Band RF is an ideal solution that ticks the boxes of capacity, flexibility, and reliability. Collinear’s Alex 1.0 Hybrid solution is also cost effective, making it the ideal wireless backhaul solution.

For more details on Collinear’s groundbreaking Alex 1.0 Hybrid Solution, please visit collinear.com, or email [email protected] to schedule an appointment with Collinear at CommunicAsia, June 26-28, 2018 in Singapore.

Founded in 2014, Collinear is pioneering next generation, ultra-high capacity, over-the-air connectivity solutions for global communication networks. Collinear has been working with Lockheed Martin Space under an exclusive licensing and development agreement, entered in June 2014, to commercialize a hybrid point-to-point over-the-air transmission product that incorporates innovative Free Space Optical (FSO) and E-Band RF technology. Initial customer trials of the company’s first technology solution, Alex 1.0, commenced in the fourth quarter of 2017. The company is based in Silicon Valley, California (in Santa Clara), with an office in Singapore. For more information, please visit collinear.com.

This article was created in collaboration with the sponsoring company and our sales and marketing team. The editorial team does not contribute.