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October 2010

Graham Peel invites you to celebrate with us!

This year we have a very good reason to celebrate. We have been open for business for a decade, making 2010 our 10th birthday!

Graham Peel

What a year it has been – in these turbulent times things could have looked very different for us and have done for so many companies all over the world, with studies showing that 33%, of the value of the world’s companies has been wiped out by this crisis.

But it transpires that, as the Austrian economist Josef Schumpeter once declared, economic downturns can act as “a good cold shower for the economic system” and can have positive effects, forcing companies to increase their efficiency, cut waste, and strive to do things in smarter ways.

In the case of backhaul, the market for point-to-multipoint (PMP) backhaul technologies continues to grow as network operators update their networks to cope with the massive increase in traffic created by smartphones and other data hungry devices. Cambridge Broadband Networks (CBN) recently built the largest PMP network in the world with Gateway in Nigeria – quite something when you consider the fraught economic circumstances.

So why does CBN continue to see such success? Starting out in 2000 as a company made up of 10 engineers from Cambridge University, many of whom are still working here now, the group managed to secure significant funding from a private-equity consortium to develop an innovative solution to the growth in mobile communications. Ten years on, in a climate where innovation can be seen as an unnecessary luxury for many companies, at CBN we continue to innovate, investing heavily in our R&D team to maintain the strong track record built over the last decade. The development team continue working to add new features to VectaStar, improving performance and paving the way for zero footprint solutions – the next generation of mobile backhaul.

Part of our investment in the future of CBN involved a recent recruitment event, inviting talented engineers to come and chat to us about the company and the vacancies we currently have. A more detailed review of the event can be found in this edition of Infocast. This commitment to recruitment, the continued product innovations and the client success stories can only pave the way for another successful decade to come – one which the team here at Cambridge Broadband Networks are really looking forward to.

Green is the new black

Green issues

In the July edition of Infocast we discussed the challenges facing the world’s mobile operators, as increasing data capacity expectations continue to drive bandwidth demands of the world’s mobile operators.

These demands have to be met quickly and reliably at low-cost if operators wish to succeed in this ever-competitive marketplace, but this isn’t the only challenge in today’s market. Increasingly the economic and regulatory pressures that have traditionally set the pace for telecoms advancements have been joined by a new wave of environmental concerns. Mobile Network Operators are on the look-out for solutions that can deliver against customer expectations while addressing environmental costs.

In the previous article, VectaStar was presented as an economic, scalable and environmentally-sound backhaul solution for mobile operators. The article focused on phase one of the three-phase product life-cycle; manufacturing and installation, operation and disassembly and recycling. It concluded that a VectaStar backhaul network reduces energy consumption by 50% eliminating in excess of a staggering 354,030 tonnes worth of CO2 per year during the manufacturing and installation process alone.

Cost and energy savings across the product life-cycle

The importance of the sustainable development of telecommunications technologies is increasingly apparent in today’s market. This is reflected by O2’s decision last month to launch a green ranking scheme measuring environmental footprint, with firms including Nokia, Sony, Ericsson and Samsung signing up to be benchmarked against each other. This consumer-driven initiative gives customers a clearer picture of the environmental impact of their purchases, adding to the pressure for operators to keep sustainability at the heart of the product life cycle.

A snapshot of the second phase of the VectaStar product life-cycle, operation, shows the environmental and consequent cost benefits that can be realised with the deployment of a VectaStar backhaul network.

As the leading point-to-multipoint (PMP) solution, VectaStar requires approximately half as many radios as equivalent point-to-point microwave backhaul solutions. The resulting cost and energy saving advantages are significant within ongoing operational deployment of the network in three ways:

  • Energy consumption is reduced by 50%
  • The all outdoor-design eliminates 100% of energy consumption associated with cooling
  • VectaStar powered networks require less maintenance and reduced energy consumption directly associated with repairs

These trademark factors of VectaStar, along with technical advancements within the product, result in substantial environmental benefits throughout the operational phase of the product life-cycle.

Want hard figures?

According to recent CBN research the deployment of VectaStar (if used wherever applicable) could reduce radios needed by nearly 1.5M by 2014. According to the research, this would also present corresponding resource and environmental savings.

“Energy and related carbon emissions in manufacture and shipping would be reduced by approximately 40% and operating energy, including cooling, could be cut up to two-thirds by taking full advantage of VectaStar’s all-outdoor designs”

To discuss any of these figures or to find out more contact us.

In the next issue we will look at phase three of the product life-cycle, disassembly and recycling, with a focus on energy efficiency and reduced environmental impacts delivered by VectaStar.

(Backhaul) decisions, decisions, decisions

Which road to take - the backlhaul decision

It goes without saying now that Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) need to do something about the exponential increase in demand for data across their backhaul networks – they know this only too well. But once the decision has been made to act, there are a variety of tactical issues that need to be addressed when installing a backhaul network. Mark Dismorr, VP Services at Cambridge Broadband Networks (CBN) recently addressed these issues in a detailed Land Mobile article published in September.

MNOs need to think carefully in order to achieve a swift and cost-effective resolution that will not disrupt operations or revenues. When making a decision to install a backhaul network the key factors are: how much extra capacity is needed to accommodate the present and predicted traffic increases, when ROI will be achievable and whether the traffic estimate is sufficiently reliable to justify the investment.

Once the decision on backhaul capacity has been taken, a technology needs to be chosen. Selection criteria include performance, reliability, deployment cost (striking a balance between initial investment and operational and running costs) and speed to get it up and running. Mark addresses the different technologies for consideration in the article, covering; E1 or hybrid backhaul using E1 for voice and Ethernet over DSL for non-real-time data; fibre, whether leased or owned/deployed; point-to-point (PTP) microwave and point-to-multipoint (PMP) microwave. He considers deployment and lifetime costs, reliability and availability, and maintaining and operating the network once installed.

With network planners facing some tough choices to ensure the future of their networks is a bright one, can you afford not to take a look at the article? [328 kb PDF]

Championing the Olympics

VectaStar provides ‘mobile’ backhaul for high-footfall events

Network coverage at the world’s busiest events

Good news for festival goers, concert lovers and sporting events enthusiasts! We could finally see the end of the ‘no network coverage’ message at large-scale events, such as the World Cup and the Olympic Games, as VectaStar is offering mobile phone operators a new solution that will enable network coverage at the world’s busiest events.

As mobile operators are experiencing, today’s high footfall events are jam-packed with smarthphone-savvy customers in different guises, from football fans to festival goers in muddy wellington boots, each one expecting a constant level of connectivity at even the busiest times. The needs of such users has also changed – from sending their friends pictures of their favourite band, to recording the band’s live music and uploading it straight onto YouTube for all their friends to listen to.

The problem in the past has been that cell services have become disrupted if too many people use a nearby cell tower at an event at the same time. Some cell sites operate at full capacity and are tipped over the edge when a surge of calls occur; for example, when event-goers call home to share a favourite song or when a winning goal is scored. Customers are left furiously redialing, only to receive the dreaded ‘no network coverage’ message.

This network disruption could now be a thing of the past, as CBN introduces its latest innovation, designed to support the traffic peaks generated by live events. Dubbed, ‘VectaStar on wheels’ due to its highly mobile nature, CBN’s new technology enables operators to boost network performance at busy events. The result is that the over-use of certain cell towers is avoided and service disruption is kept to a minimum.

As operators adopt this new technology, mobile phone users everywhere will see the benefits. And with the Olympic Games on the horizon, peak data demand is about to reach an all time high.

Now, how’s that for timing?

CBN on the road

South African roadshow

The team at CBN took to the road this September in South Africa, running a roadshow for its customers.

The events were an opportunity to introduce the next generation of products being worked on as well as providing customers with the opportunity to spend the day with CBN team-members to pick their brains and ask questions about their networks during interactive sessions.

The workshops were deemed a success for all involved, giving CBN the chance to spend some quality time with its customers and get to the real heart of what is on their minds when it comes to their networks’ performance, while at the same time allowing clients to quiz the CBN team on issues keeping them awake at night. A good time was had by all.

CBN’s growth recognised by Sunday Times Tech Track 100

CBN announced a couple of weeks ago that it made it onto the Tech Track 100 league table as the UK’s fastest growing wireless hardware company.

The Tech Track 100 is an independent league table that ranks the top-performing privately-held technology companies, based on sales growth over the last three years. Celebrating its 10th year, the Tech Track 100 list was announced in The Sunday Times, published on 19th September.

Cambridge Broadband Networks, which won the award outright in 2004 and was represented again in 2009, continued to show the way to other hardware companies in the competition, with their position being awarded due to sales growing four-fold between 2007 and 2010.

The Tech Track league table is compiled by Fast Track and published in The Sunday Times each September. Other top 100 companies included and Orange Information Systems.

Talent welcomed!

We're recruting.

This summer saw CBN open its doors and welcome talented engineers to come and meet the team in an informal recruitment evening at its HQ on the Cambridge Business Park.

The evening flew by as potential recruits from the city and further afield popped in to take a look around and learn more about the company and its team. Staff were on hand to show-off working demos and give presentations about the company’s history – all over drinks and some branded cupcakes!

The event highlighted the effort CBN is putting into recruitment this summer and autumn as we new positions are created and filled. Only exceptionally talented engineers need apply!

For more information, visit the jobs page or email

Upcoming events

North Africa Com

North AfricaCom

We will be at North Africa Com in Cairo later this month so please do get in touch if you would like to meet us at the event!

Africa Com


Cape Town’s Africa Com follows shortly afterwards, in November, where we will once again be manning an exhibition stand.

If you would like to book a meeting with the team at the event then please email the events department.

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