Written By Andrew Shaver - Director of Product Line Management
There is no substitute for a proper microwave path design using professional planning tools. Along with a field line of sight survey, this is a mandatory step prior to deploying any microwave equipment to ensure that the link is dimensioned to meet the required performance criteria.
However, sometimes site details might be unavailable or not finalized yet, and a rough estimate of link performance is enough for initial planning purposes. This is where a (region-specific) reach table can come in handy to provide some high-level performance expectations ahead of a more detailed round of planning.
Each microwave path is unique, with varying geographic factors that will affect link performance. A 1-mile link in Miami will have a different annual predicted availability than a nearly identical path planned in Las Vegas, so it is important to understand how certain links will behave in different markets.
With a little up-front work, a reach table can be prepared that shows the achievable link distances under different scenarios. For example, you could show and compare typical reach distances using different frequencies and antenna sizes at different target capacities and annual availabilities.
The example below shows 1 Gbps options at a 99.995% availability, across different frequency, antenna size, and channel bandwidth options, in the Austin, Texas region.