Innovator Profile: CCS

Self-organising wireless mesh network unlocks neutral host opportunities

By David Turner
Head of Technical Sales,


As data traffic demands grow and the industry gears up for 5G, operators are faced with the challenge of densifying their networks while minimising any increase in network costs. One innovative approach to meeting this growing challenge is for operators to share the deployment and operations of the network infrastructure. In the era of small cell deployment and network densification, operators are taking this a step further to the idea of having one network infrastructure, owned by a non-operator 3rd party – possibly operator-associated, for example, a joint venture formed by two or more operators – that is leased to multiple operators.

A base network for many operators to use needs to offer superior performance – for example, in terms of throughput – and it naturally calls for mmWave spectrum to be used. However, there are a number of issues to overcome when deploying mmWave solutions for backhaul in dense urban areas, for example, line-of-sight, GPS difficulties due to tall surrounding buildings, limited site availability, sub-optimal sites, various restrictions imposed by the site and so on. This means that a mmWave solution needs to be small, compact, and easy to deploy by non-skilled contractors.

This is why key operators have adopted CCS’s Metnet solution, including Telefónica O2, Softbank, M1 and China Mobile. Based in the UK and established in 2010, Cambridge Communication Systems (CCS) provides self-organising 5G wireless mesh access and backhaul solutions that unlock the neutral host opportunity.

Self-organising wireless mesh network solution

CCS Metnet is designed to augment a new or existing fibre network to provide a low-cost, last-mile mmWave backhaul solution in dense urban areas. Fibre connectivity to every site is not economically or practically possible, so a wireless solution is required to enable street-level connectivity at a suitable cost point.

Metnet has been developed to overcome the trade-offs other systems impose. It currently operates at 26 and 28 GHz in licensed, area-based spectrum that’s widely available in most markets.  We also recently launched our Metnet 12Gbps unlicensed 60GHz mmWave backhaul system, which enables both existing mobile operators and new entrants to harness the potential of the unlicensed spectrum opportunity.   The small form factor and only one unit per lamppost easily satisfies urban planning requirements. The node’s unique self-organising capability and wide 270-degree field of view enables plug-and-play installation in under 15 minutes, with no need for radio planning or manual alignment. A unique multipoint-to-multipoint architecture with self-healing links offers higher availability and resilience with 5G performance. And the system is easy to scale as existing nodes will automatically re-organise and re-align as new ones are added.

Metnet enables operators to reduce the TCO of the backhaul network by as much as 75% compared with traditional solutions. Metnet delivers 42% overall CAPEX savings by involving 50% fewer radios and 1/3 the deployment time compared to classical point-to-point transport network deployment. It also enables 34% OPEX reduction by reducing costs related to site leasing, power, support, ongoing RF planning and optimisation. This means that, while the specifics depend on the operators’ business models and revenues, the investment will be covered within 1-2 years of deployment. This is because Metnet can not only provide backhaul for small cells, but also for fixed wireless access, CCTV and other fibre extension applications available in the market – delivering the same high capacity, ultra-low latency, ultra-fast deployment, and multigigabit capacity.


Please click here to read the full CCS Case Study

Please note that the blog post above does not constitute an endorsement by the GSMA. All information has been provided directly from the company profiled. 

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