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BelAir Networks Announces Industry's First Wireless Mesh Solution for Cellular Backhaul; Enables Cost Effective Microcell Deployment in Urban Areas
[February 13, 2006]

BelAir Networks Announces Industry's First Wireless Mesh Solution for Cellular Backhaul; Enables Cost Effective Microcell Deployment in Urban Areas

KANATA, Ontario --(Business Wire)-- Feb. 13, 2006 -- BelAir Networks today announced the availability of the industry's first wireless mesh backhaul solution for mobile network operators. The BelAir200 now supports direct connection to GSM or 3G microcell and picocell base stations through a T1/E1 Circuit Emulation Module (CEM). By using wireless mesh to interconnect microcells for cellular backhaul traffic, operators can achieve significant savings over the dedicated wired T1 and E1 lines typically used. According to industry analysts, transport costs including backhaul expense can comprise as much as 24 percent of operator revenue. The new T1/E1 CEM module will be demonstrated live at 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona at the BelAir Networks booth, E49, Hall 2, February 13 - 16, 2006.

The BelAir cellular backhaul system offers mobile operators the following benefits:

-- A viable business case for broader deployment of microcells and picocells in dense urban environments

-- Reduced installation cost by eliminating the need for wired backhaul at each microcell location

-- Reduced operating cost by aggregating traffic from multiple microcells to a single broadband wired connection

-- Improved reliability with multiple data paths through the mesh network

-- Increased network flexibility by eliminating the need for line of sight between wired locations and microcells

"This innovative use of mesh technology is a technical advance that offers economic benefits for operators who are battling increasing transport costs," stated Philip Marshall, vice president, Yankee Group. "Cell sites are currently connected with point-to-point links, which are prohibitively expensive for micro and pico-cellular sites. The BelAir solution is the first wireless mesh that delivers the timing and quality of service required for cellular backhaul across multiple hops. This mesh approach is attractive as a low cost technique for facilitating backhaul to micro and pico-cellular sites."

As mobile operators roll out 3G networks and consumers clamor for new voice, video and data services, backhaul costs are predicted to rise dramatically. Operators need to easily and cost-effectively expand network capacity to support these new broadband services but must stay within limited spectrum. In order to meet the demand for increased capacity on their mobile networks, carriers are reducing cell sizes. This creates more independent coverage areas, which, in turn, support more users.

In dense urban environments, operators deploy microcells or 'mini base stations' that may cover a single city block to provide more capacity and fill in coverage holes. Each of these 'mini base stations' is wired for a T1/E1 or multiple T1/E1s. The increased deployment of microcells or picocells in an urban environment poses a significant economic challenge for cellular network operators because the need for leased T1/E1 lines also increases dramatically and operators are watching their costs skyrocket.

BelAir Networks solves this problem by substituting the company's wireless mesh for the microcells' T1 or E1 lines. Multiple microcells are connected to a common wireless mesh network and all traffic is forwarded through to a single wired location. The new T1/E1 CEM contains advanced clock recovery algorithms that meet Base Transceiver Station (BTS) timing requirements. BelAir's wireless mesh delivers the bandwidth and QoS needed to support the capacity of up to eight T1s or six E1s over as many as five wireless hops.

"BelAir's switched mesh wireless architecture is unique in its ability to carry multiple T1/E1 circuits over multiple mesh hops," stated Bernard Herscovich, president and chief executive officer, BelAir Networks. "Our cellular backhaul system can support many microcells distributed across the mesh and aggregate their backhaul traffic to a single wired location. Operators now have a practical, easy-to-deploy solution that enables them to deploy more microcells and picocells in cities without increasing backhaul costs."

Product Details

Cellular backhaul over wireless mesh is enabled through feature enhancements to BelAir's flagship product - the BelAir200, a modular, carrier-grade, multi-radio platform.

The new T1/E1 CEM, already validated in live cellular networks, supports up to four T1 or E1 lines and also includes an Ethernet interface. BelAir's latest system software supports the required QoS and traffic prioritization features needed to meet the strict timing required to support T1 circuit emulation across multiple wireless hops. The T1/E1 CEM connects directly to any standard GSM or 3G microcell without any need for customization or network changes.

Built specifically for outdoor deployment, the BelAir200 can be mounted directly on buildings or light poles, in parking lots or city streets. Each BelAir200 includes up to three backhaul radio modules that create 5 GHz point-to-point links to form the wireless backhaul mesh that interconnects the nodes.

About BelAir Networks

BelAir Networks delivers the industry's only carrier-grade wireless mesh backhaul solution for cellular networks. Using BelAir's high performance wireless mesh to support backhaul traffic enables cellular operators to increase revenues through micro and pico-cellular deployments that support high-value broadband services. Wireless mesh optimizes cell coverage and controls costs by enabling re-use of valuable licensed spectrum. It also reduces operating expenses by replacing high-cost T1/E1 lines with a high-quality wireless mesh alternative. The leader in wireless mesh networking with more than 100 networks deployed worldwide, BelAir Networks delivers the industry's first multi-service solution supporting WiMAX, Cellular, and other frequencies in a single mesh, and the only wireless mesh solution optimized for carrier-grade voice. For more information, go to

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