Trials and success
Jointly designed by Alcatel, the project’s lead contractor, Morrison & Hershfield, and design group Planetworks, the link was simulated and trialled in early April 2004 at Alcatel’s two US facilities (Longview and Plano). The radios were connected to long lengths of microwave waveguide to model the space diversity in the 120-kilometre hop. Fixed and variable paths were used
to simulate fading activity, plus test equipment to simulate dispersive fade
Once the link was proven in the factory, the Alcatel radios were air-freighted from Edmonton, Alberta, to the remote Fort Chipewyn and Birch Mountain sites, where they joined the already-installed 15-foot and 12-foot diameter RFS DA antennas.
On the first weekend in July 2004, the Bell installation and commissioning crews finally proved the design was correct—one of the world’s longest OC3 microwave
links was up and running, and ‘Fort Chip’ was on the air!
The balance of the 60 transport hops are expected
to be installed and
commissioned before the end of September 2004, marking a
significant milestone in the development of SuperNet. “Once we got things rolling and a process established, it all went incredibly smoothly,” says Pettigrew. “Of all Bell’s
suppliers, I know they are very pleased with RFS and Alcatel and the work we have done.”
The responsiveness of the RFS/Alcatel team, coupled with the tried and proven nature of the RFS DA series microwave antenna and the Alcatel MDR-8000 radio, have played an important part in the success and efficiency of the transport network rollout. “There was no experimentation, beta-version radio software or unproven RF systems,” says Zoberi. “What we offered in the DA antenna was world class, proven technology —nothing less. It was the optimal choice for the SuperNet.”
|A microwave solution
The RFS DA antenna series is a high-performance solid-body antenna family, providing reduced side lobe suppression for more exacting applications. Available in 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 and 15-foot diameters, the
DA single-polarized antenna series features RPE that meets applicable international standards such as ETSI, FCC, Industry Canada and so on. The antennas also feature low VSWR performance and high front-to-back ratios, and are designed for the harshest of environments, with a survival wind speed of 200 km/h.
RFS FLEXWELL elliptical waveguide provides superior flexibility and installation efficiency, when compared with conventional, rigid rectangular waveguide. Available in a wide selection of frequency bands from 2 to 40 GHz, FLEXWELL provides both low loss and low VSWR performance.