Split Mount Radio Microwave Links

Split Mount Radio (IDU+ODU)

A Split Mount Microwave Radio consisted of Indoor plus Outdoor components – specifically Indoor Unit (IDU) and Outdoor Unit (ODU)

Split Mount Microwave Radios offer up to 500 Mbps and 1Gbps Full Duplex payload  and higher up to 6Gbps or more, in 4-42GHz licensed frequency bands.

Indoor Unit (IDU)

CableFree HCR Indoor Unit (IDU) Split Mount Radio
CableFree HCR Indoor Unit (IDU)

A Typical Split Mount Radio consists of a 19″ Rack Mount Indoor Unit which is mounted in a rack, cabinet, comms room, or even roof-mount shelter as possible locations.

Outdoor Unit (ODU)

CableFree Microwave Link ODU using 30cm antenna Split Mount Radio
CableFree Microwave Link Outdoor Unit (ODU) with using 30cm antenna mounted on a pole

The Outdoor Unit (ODU) is typically mounted directly to the Microwave Antenna on a rooftop or tower location, which enables clear Line of Sight (LOS) between both ends of the Microwave link.

For most bands above 6GHz the ODU has a waveguide interface which enables efficient, low-loss connection directly to the antenna.  For lower bands below 6GHz, commonly a coaxial cable is used between the ODU and the antenna.

In certain cases, the ODU can be remote mounted from the antenna, and a waveguide used to connect between them

Comparison with Full Outdoor Radios

A split mount radio is considered a “traditional” design and older radios always feature this.  The Indoor Unit has all the network interfaces and processing in the easy-access indoor location at the foot the tower or building.  Full Outdoor Radios by contrast have all the active items including the modem and user network interfaces inside the rooftop radio element.  This saves on space, materials, installation time and cost.  A downside is that in the event of any failure, a tower climb is almost always needed to rectify any fault, which may be impossible in rough weather, or require permits or have access limitations to reach

Distances and Range Capability of Split Mount Radios

Using suitable antennas and sites, ultra-long-distance links exceeding 100km can be achieved.   Distances depend on:

  • Frequency band
  • Regional Rainfall
  • Required throughput (Mbps)
  • Desired Availability (%)
  • Antenna size (gain)

For Further Information

For more information on Full Outdoor Radios and Microwave Networks please Contact Us

 

Microwave ODU

Microwave ODU (Outdoor Unit)

The term ODU is used in Split-Mount Microwave systems where an Indoor Unit (IDU) is typically mounted in an indoor location (or weatherproof shelter) connected via a coaxial cable to the ODU which is mounted on a rooftop or tower top location.

CableFree Microwave ODU
CableFree Microwave ODU

Often the ODU is direct mounted to a microwave antenna using “Slip fit” waveguide connection.  In some cases, a Flexible Waveguide jumper is used to connect from the ODU to the antenna.

ODU functions

The ODU converts data from the IDU into an RF signal for transmission. It also converts the RF signal from the far end to suitable data to transmit to the IDU. ODUs are weatherproofed units that are mounted on top of a tower either directly connected to a microwave antenna or connected to it through a wave guide.

Generally, Microwave ODUs designed for full duplex operation, with separate signals for transmit and receive.  On the airside interface this corresponds to a “pair” of frequencies, one for transmit, the other for receive.  This is known as “FDD” (Frequency Division Duplexing)

ODU Power and data signals

The ODU receives its power and the data signals from the IDU through a single coaxial cable. ODU parameters are configured and monitored through the IDU.  The DC power, transmit signal, receive signal and some command/control telemetry signals are all combined onto the single coaxial cable.  This use of a single cable is designed to reduce cost and time of installation.

ODu Frequency bands and sub-bands

Each ODU is designed to operate over a predefined frequency sub-band. For example 21.2 – 23.6GHz for a 23GHz system, 17.7 – 19.7GHz for a 18GHz system and 24.5 – 26.5GHz for a 26GHz system as for ODUs.    The sub-band is set in hardware (filters, diplexer) at time of manufacture and cannot be changed in the field.

1+0, 1+1, 2+0 Deployments

Microwave ODUs can be deployed in various configurations.

Microwave ODU in 1+0 Configuration with Antenna
Microwave ODU in 1+0 Configuration with Antenna

The most common is 1+0 which has a single ODU, generally connected directly to the microwave antenna.  1+0 means “unprotected” in that there is no resilience or backup equipment or path.

 

 

 

Two Microwave ODUs in 1+1 HSB or 2+0 configuration with Coupler and Antenna
Two Microwave ODUs in 1+1 HSB or 2+0 configuration with Coupler and Antenna

For resilient networks there are several different configurations.  1+1 in “Hot Standby” is common and typically has a pair of ODUs (one active, one standby) connected via a Microwave Coupler to the antenna.  There is typically a 3dB or 6dB loss in the coupler which splits the power either equally or unequally between the main and standby path.

Other resilient configurations are 1+1 SD (Space Diversity, using separate antennas, one ODU on each) and 1+1 FD (Frequency Diversity)

The other non-resilient configuration is 2+0 which has two ODUs connected to a single antenna via a coupler.  The hardware configuration is identical to 1+1 FD, but the ODUs carry separate signals to increase the overall capacity.

Grounding & Surge Protection

Suitable ground wire should be connected to the ODU ground lug to an appropriate ground point on the antenna mounting or tower for lightning protection.  This grounding is essential to avoid damage due to electrical storms.

In-line Surge Suppressors are used to protect the ODU and IDU from surges that could travel down the cable in the case of extreme surges caused by lightning

The specification of a typical Microwave ODU is shown below.

Typical ODU Features and Specifications:

  • 4-42GHz frequency bands available
  • Fully synthesized design
  • 3.5-56MHz RF channel bandwidths
  • Supports QPSK and 16 to 1024 QAM.  Some ODUs may support 2048QAM
  • Standard and high power options
  • High MTBF, greater than 92.000 hours
  • Software controlled ODU functions
  • Designed to meet FCC, ETSI and CE safety and emission standards
  • Supports popular ITU-R standards and frequency recommendations
  • Software configurable microcontroller for ODU monitor and control settings
  • Low noise figure, low phase noise and high linearity
  • Compact and lightweight design
  • Very high frequency stability +/-2.5 ppm
  • Wide operating temperature range: -40°C to +65°C

For Further information

For More Information about Microwave ODUs, we will be delighted to answer your questions. Please Contact Us