Simplifying IP/MPLS deployments

CTR is a concept that merges the functionality of an indoor microwave modem unit and a cell site router into a single integrated solution, simplifying IP/MPLS deployments and creating a better performing network.


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  • Pre-aggregation
  • Aggregation


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What is IP/MPLS-Based Wireless Transport?

IP/MPLS microwave integrates routing capability into microwave devices. With integrated IP/MPLS wireless transport solutions from Aviat Networks, operators can save costs, improve network performance, simply operations, and enable new services.

More about our IP/MPLS-based wireless transport technology


  • Save money – fewer boxes to buy, deploy, maintain
  • Improve network performance – less latency from fewer devices, layer 3 awareness into wireless transport (AMA – adaptive media awareness)
  • Enable new services – deliver new enterprise and government services from single converged network infrastructure

Find out more

Watch this whiteboard video to learn why CTR is the most innovative wireless transport solution on the market today

Full feature microwave routing

The CTR 8300 is a smaller version of the industry-leading CTR 8540 microwave router, with the same unique integration of microwave and networking features and up to 1 Gbps of data throughput in a single radio channel.

Where space is a premium, but high capacity and advanced networking features are still necessary, the CTR 8300 delivers multiple deployment options because of its passive-cooling packaging for both rack and non-rack installations such as in rooftop enclosures and street-side cabinets.

CTR 8300 Ultra-compact Microwave Router

Real benefits for your network

Click on this infographic to see how CTR can save money, improve network performance and enable new services.

Download PDF file of CTR infographic

Did you know

We combined multiple products in a tiny package

CTR 8300 ultra-compact microwave router

CTR 8300 is smaller scale version of the CTR 8540—the most integrated microwave routing device on the market.

For operators, fewer boxes to buy, configure and maintain means less latency and power consumption, better reliability and fewer interoperability issues.

Super compact, half-rack, single 1RU size chassis, featuring:

  • Microwave radio indoor unit
  • Layer 2 Carrier Ethernet switch
  • IP/MPLS router
  • TDM pseudowire device

Management by ProVision™ EMS

  • Interoperates seamlessly with the CTR 8540 microwave router
  • Compatible with Eclipse ODU 600 and ODU 300hp split-mount outdoor radio units
  • End-to-end network management and craft interfaces including Aviat ProVision support

Simplified radio networking and port interfaces

  • Media convergence and transport over radio, fiber or copper
  • High interface port density—up to 4x GigE ports (incl. 2 SFP ports) and 16xT1/E1 interfaces
  • QPSK to 1024QAM Adaptive Modulation for maximum channel efficiency
  • Co-channel operation with XPIC enables up to 1 Gbps capacity links (using 2 IF connections)
  • Microwave configurations supported:
    • CTR 8311 (one IF connection) for 1+0 unprotected terminal/link applications
    • CTR 8312 (two IF connections) for 1+0 repeater, 1+1 MHSB (radio only), 2+0 with optional XPIC
  • Fanless passive cooling for extended operating range (-10°C to +65°C)

Smart performance

  • Extensive Layer 2 Ethernet Services, including 802.1ad (QinQ), L2 VPN and TDM over packet transport using CESoEthernet (MEF-8)
  • Advanced Ethernet OAM to ensure network availability and maintain QoS requirements for voice, video and data
  • Robust multiple synchronization options including T1/E1, IEEE 1588v2 and Synchronous Ethernet (SyncE)

How an Integrated Microwave-IP/MPLS Solution Reduces Latency

The point of this post is to determine the amount of latency reduction possible with a one box integrated microwave router solution when compared to a two-box (separate router + microwave) offering. By how much does the one box solution improve latency?

Latency is important to all network operators. The lower the end-to-end delay the better it is for all types of applications.

For example latency is critically important to mobile network operators (MNOs) for LTE Advanced features like coordinated multi-point (COMP) and MIMO, which require extremely tight latency. CRAN architectures are also demanding tighter latency from the backhaul.

In addition, for latency sensitive applications like Teleprotection, SCADA and simulcast in private markets such as public safety, utilities and the federal government will greatly benefit from lower latency network performance. For other customers, lower latency is critical for synchronization and HD video transport.

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Getting it Done! Aviat & Australia Public Safety Networks

The public safety market has relied for many years on Aviat Networks to be a supplier of mission-critical microwave backhaul equipment. For example, since the introduction of the Eclipse microwave radio a few years ago, it has been received very successfully in the Australia public safety market. In the last five years, Aviat has sold and deployed thousands of radios (i.e., TRs) in the public safety and life critical radio ecosystem.

“The cutting-edge Gigabit Ethernet and IP capabilities of Eclipse were critical for Australia government agencies,” says Raj Kumar, vice president, sales and services, Asia Pacific, Aviat Networks. “As radio sites rolled out across Australia, Eclipse has enabled efficient deployment of multiple radio carriers in a single chassis—a mission-critical advantage for the simulcast trunking sites.”

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Adaptive Media Awareness: Making Layer 3 Microwave Aware

In many wireless networks, transport engineering looks after the microwave radio function while the IT department has domain over IP equipment. These two organizations started independently and grew separately over many years. It did not seem that there was any problem with this arrangement.

However, it led to the selection of equipment—radios and routers—that worked really well on their own but had no awareness of one another. Not surprisingly, these technology solutions did not perform together optimally.

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AfricaCom Demos! Come See the All-outdoor Microwave Router
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Aviat Networks-RFS 4G case study
How Microwave Networking Enables Nationwide 4G

LTE mobile connectivity now exists in many more urban places than not. Virtually all big cities have multiple choices for LTE and most have at least one choice for LTE Advanced—the real 4G wireless. For example, you can see iPhone and Android users taking advantage of all this high-capacity coverage as they leisurely view high-definition YouTube videos without buffering and actually livestream major league sports in cafes, parks and just walking around at lunch.

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Case for IP/MPLS Routers at the Small Cell…but not Just any Router!

With the goal of a hyper-meshed 5G street level network, clearly today’s small cell deployments represent just an interim phase in a progressive network densification—pushing the network outward. This means today’s small cell sites will become tomorrow’s macrocells, or hub sites.

Future-looking mobile operators have planned for this eventuality. In the developed world, small cell and the Internet of Things (IoT) drive mobile network densification. However, in the developing world the primary goal of enterprise connectivity spurs network densification, due to lack of wireline infrastructure to business buildings. The end result of network densification is the same.

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3 Ways to Get Smart About Nodal Microwave

At a time in the not-so-distant past, there was only one way to implement microwave radio: one radio link per microwave terminal. Did not matter what type of link it concerned: protected, non-protected or multi-channel. From the advent of digital microwave radio in the 1980s and 1990s, terminals typically had no options for integration of co-located telecom devices. And to interconnect muxes or switches required external cabling and possibly a patch-panel.

Then in the early 2000s, so-called “nodal” radios came into vogue. Designed to address the drawbacks of the one-radio-one-link paradigm, a single microwave radio node could serve as a platform for multiple links. There were still limitations when it came to radio and switch interactions, but multiple sources of traffic could now be integrated and connected on the nodal platform.

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Layer 3 intelligence: cell sites need more than dumb pipes

Artificial Intelligence. Photo credit: miuenski / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Once upon a time, cell sites served as little more than passive pass-throughs for phone calls and text messages. Because voice calls and SMS posts did not require much wireless capacity cell sites did not require very robust provisioning. Now that the Internet has gone fully mobile with streaming videos and real-time applications such as VoLTE and IPTV regularly crushing network capacity design parameters, the time to get smart about backhaul and access traffic has arrived. The time for Layer 3 intelligence is now.

In fact, for some time mobile cell sites have transitioned from simple Layer 2 connected sites for 1990s-style mobile phone and data access to multipurpose centers for delivering new, smart device services. However, they can only provide new, smart services if they are built upon Layer 3 technology that offers intelligent handling of wireless traffic. Only IP routing technology is capable of such functionality.

But here comes the catch regarding IP routers providing Layer 3 intelligence at the cell site. With more than 50 percent of the wireless traffic in the world going to and coming from mobile sites through backhaul radio, Layer 3 intelligence must have awareness of microwave networking. And regular routers just do not offer microwave awareness. A new class of device must fill the void left by regular routers that frankly do not have enough “smarts” to deliver Layer 3 intelligence for cell sites that depend on microwave backhaul. A device that combines the best attributes of microwave radios and IP routers.

To provide a closer examination of this issue, Aviat Networks has authored a new white paper—no registration required—that makes the case for Layer 3 intelligence at the cell site. And how to implement a new class of “smart” devices that enable microwave radio awareness with IP routing.

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WLAN Provider uses Microwave Networking for Backbone

Austria WLAN provider NETcompany aggregates wireless traffic from hotspots at places like cafés. It then sends traffic to its CTR 8540-based backbone, which terminates at headquarters. Photo credit: Kieran Lynam / Foter / CC BY

In Austria, people love their coffee, and they love their Internet. WLAN provider NETcompany makes sure they get both, with high-speed wireless access via hotspots at cafés and other popular places with the help of microwave networking.

Serving a core business clientele of home and business customers, NETcompany offers wireless Internet connections in fixed applications. In addition, the company builds and provides wireless Internet access points, also known as wifi hotspots, to cafés, hotels and other mostly tourism-related establishments —even campsites.

Around two years ago, Aviat Networks began working with the wireless Internet service provider to connect its point-to-multipoint base stations, which aggregate the business and residential wireless traffic, to its main communications infrastructure via a backbone based on Eclipse microwave radios. In addition, hotspot traffic is also transported over the backbone network.

Apparently, business has been increasing over the course of time. Thus, more advanced networking services and higher capacity are required to keep up with wireless Internet demand from the customers of NETcompany’s customers.

Therefore, NETcompany became interested in the Layer 2 capabilities of the CTR 8540 and its more robust Carrier Ethernet features. In addition, the higher QAM modulations supported by the CTR 8540 enable higher airlink capacities for aggregating traffic than are available in traditional microwave radio. Now the WLAN provider’s backbone is supported by a series of CTR 8540 microwave routers that deliver high-capacity backhaul capability.

This early CTR 8540 customer is already deploying high-capacity links in 2+0 configurations. Aviat continues to work with NETcompany and other customers with vertical applications. Read about other early CTR 8540 scenarios and let us know about your microwave networking application.

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IP/MPLS: Coming to a Village near you

I Heart MPLS. Photo credit: swirlspice / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Whether the local police department responding to a burglary call or firefighters putting out a blaze in the historic district, first responders across America rely on mission-critical communications infrastructure to provide timely, reliable and secure voice, video and data services to do the job.

In our data-infused, mobile and Internet-connected world, public safety agencies have come to realize that upgrading infrastructure to IP/MPLS technology is the best way to lower costs and provide rich services in a scalable way, while enabling effective communication with peer local, state and federal organizations. Access to high volumes of data and the ability to share it with key stakeholders allows public safety professionals to make rapid decisions and speed up actions.

IP/MPLS and Microwave: Better Together At Aviat Networks, we have blazed a path to IP in privately operated networks with our hybrid IP/TDM microwave radios, which efficiently converge packet-based traffic with legacy TDM. This solution gives public safety network operators a concurrence of technology while migration decisions and investments are made.

Recently, Aviat introduced the term “microwave routing” with the launch of its CTR platform. At its core, microwave routing is about integrating IP/MPLS capability into the microwave layer to increase transport intelligence while decreasing cost and complexity. As part of its portfolio, Aviat features the highly resilient CTR 8611 microwave router, which has been designed to meet the needs of public safety agencies today and tomorrow—addressing a future that is sure to include LTE/LTE-Advanced technology and a vast new buildout of advanced networking infrastructure ushered in by the FirstNet initiative.

IP/MPLS in Action One example of IP/MPLS in public safety networks can be found in the Northeastern United States, where a major statewide public safety agency recently adopted IP/MPLS functionality in its backhaul. This deployment is based on the CTR 8611 and ProVision network management system (NMS). ProVision, with its new INM package, provides a smarter end-to-end, point-and-click IP/MPLS service management solution.

I Heart MPLS (the coffee mug). Photo credit: emma trithart / Foter / CC BY-ND

Armed with these tools, this public safety agency turned up a complete IP/MPLS solution for its mission-critical networks, which includes microwave radios, microwave routers and network management. Aviat supports the agency with turnkey services to simplify the network design, install and commission equipment and provide post-deployment support.

IP/MPLS for Everyone Since 1999, IP/MPLS has been deployed in the mainstream of networking. Until now, its implementation has largely been the domain of wireline telephone companies and more recently mobile operators. However, we now see private network operators adopt IP/MPLS technology because of its superiority and economic benefits. Although IP/MPLS is not something that is perceptible by the ordinary citizen, its positive impact on our daily lives is significant. We Heart IP/MPLS!

Louis Scialabba North America Marketing Aviat Networks

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Adaptive Media Awareness - microwave routing White paper: Adaptive Media Awareness - microwave routing
Microwave networks are unique. Unlike fiber, copper, or any other Layer 1 transport technology, non-standard and dynamically changing bandwidths along with complex link aggregation and protection schemes make microwave networks complex and different. Regular routers are not designed for microwave networks and are inefficient and ill-suited to handle traffic in such a network. They rely on slow, protocol-based notifications to gather data from the underlying transport network to optimize their behavior. This lack of an adaptive media awareness negatively impacts network performance, reliability and operations costs significantly.

CTR 8300 Data sheet: CTR 8300
The CTR 8300 is super-compact microwave router, which can pack up to a full 1 Gbit/s of data throughput in a single radio channel. The CTR 8300 is designed for easy deployment in access applications at or near the network edge where space is a premium, but high capacity and advanced networking features are still a must.

The case for Layer 3 Intelligence at the Mobile Cell Site White paper: The case for Layer 3 Intelligence at the Mobile Cell Site


What customers and analysts are saying

Juan Andrés Guzmán Barrios

Chief of Area Connectivity and Transmission Engineering, Entel Chile

As a router, CTR 8540 will enable a range of new IP and VPN services for our mobile backhaul and enterprise applications. Unlike other microwave radios that require adding an expensive, separate IP/MPLS router, CTR 8540 is the only product we found that integrates the microwave radio and IP routing features we need.

Emmy Johnson

Founder, Sky Light Research

As a mainstay in the microwave market, Aviat understands the market and has developed a platform that will help operators scale their networks as new applications continue to push network performance.

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