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PTP Wireless WAN Blog

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David S. Theodore, President

There's no end to the confusion and double-talk about point to point wireless ("microwave"), and it often leads to ill-fated decisions. Yet when deployed correctly, a wireless WAN can be one of your best investments. And so my aim is always to give you perfectly straight, reliable answers so that your needs are best met - and your wireless link pays for itself many times over.

Sometimes I think that point to point wireless suffers more than any other technology from the syndrome where you ask three engineers the same question and get three totally different answers. It might be about bandwidth, distance, reliability, you name it. I'm on the receiving end of that all the time. And so you've got to be discerning about who you get your answers from, so let me digress for a paragraph and tell you about our hard earned credentials.

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People have been trusting our answers since 1987, when we started as "Microwave Bypass".  It was then that we pioneered the wireless WAN business, creating the world's first wireless Ethernet solution. Connection speeds were 10 Mbps, full-duplex, which was the full Ethernet (802.3) data rate at the time, before 100 Mbps became the standard. It formed the backbone of the early New England Internet, won wide industry acclaim, and was licensed by Motorola.

We've commissioned countless microwave links since then, and for every industry and application, and last year we designed one of the lowest latency microwave networks in the world, spanning multiple states. We're wedded to best solutions and practices - not a certain flavor of the month radio. We carefully consider path data and variables and never quote a radio unless we know it will meet or exceed performance expectations, and save you money in the process.

For starters, if you're looking at point to point wireless, then you'll be choosing between two categories of "radios" that are used for dedicated, high bandwidth applications ranging from 25 Mbps to several gigabits. One transmits in publicly shared frequency bands (e.g., 2.4 & 5.8 GHz) and goes under the heading, "License Exempt Wireless".  The other is generally called, "Licensed Microwave", and transmits in exclusive frequencies that we reserve and license through the FCC. Radios running in public, license-exempt bands are most often referred to as "wireless", whereas, the private licensed variety is generally called "microwave".  The reality is that both types of radios, license-exempt and licensed, operate in the microwave frequency bands that range from 2 GHz (gigahertz) to 80 GHz, and so it's all "microwave".

What you need to know is that both radio platforms are equally available to you, however there are huge differences between the two - like bandwidth and latency, even cost and implementation time. The type of radio you go with will have everything to do with the amount of bandwidth you need (licensed microwave gives you more), the distance between your sites and whether we need to guard against interference, say in a heavy metropolitan area. At Meridian, we're wedded to solutions, not vendors, so you can trust that we'll always put you in the best radio for your application, but product selection still doesn't guarantee the performance that radio makers advertise.

Point to point wireless is an engineered solution and it takes good path engineering and a solid installation to reap the full benefits of any wireless product, especially with point to point setups where tolerances are the tightest.  Product specs are measured from a lab bench, but you need a solution that's optimized for your environment - terrain, distance and weather. That's where Meridian's experience and attention to detail counts and no question, but that we're going to get the highest performance and functionality from any good radio.

Our experience and resourcefulness is unmatched and so whether you lease or buy your bandwidth, we'll deliver it on schedule, for a convenient, quality installation that stands the test of time. If you're looking for the most qualified, honest advice then email me and I'll get you started. Hungry for more information? Join my blog.

"HIGH PERFORMANCE" = 1/3 Planning, 1/3 Product & 1/3 Installation
There are some amazing radios on the market and we're proud to bring you the best of them from leading makers like Cambium, Ceragon Networks & Siklu, but we know as well as anyone, that the performance you get depends on the quality of the implementation (path study, frequency analysis & install). Every performance car needs a good mechanic to make it purr, and that concept is especially true in the microwave business. You can buy a top of the line radio with the best specs, but if you have path reflections or your antenna alignment is a couple of dBs off, then your results will be disappointing. Trust Meridian to deliver optimal performance, regardless of weather, terrain or distance. Want to talk about your application, email me.

We make product selection simple and empower clients with sound advice and straightforward answers. Most our clients are CIOs and techies with strong IT credentials, but they're not close enough to the wireless business and so we help them with the latest insight and experience. By their product specs, you'd think that every radio was amazing ("75-mile" distances), but specs don't tell the whole story and a lot of wireless marketing can be misleading (e.g., "aggregate throughput"). On the other hand, honesty has made us some very good friends. As one hospital CIO said, "What I like about you guys is that you want my business, but you were just as quick to tell me when microwave wasn't my best option."


Point to point wireless outperforms every other type of wireless because you're focusing all the radio energy to a single distant point, rather than splitting it in every direction, like a cellular or Wi-Fi signal. Point to point wireless products ("radios") fall into two distinct categories. One is generally called "licensed microwave" and the other, "license-exempt wireless".

Licensed Microwave ("microwave radio") is the most advanced form of wireless - period. It's what phone companies like Verizon and AT&T rely on - hence the term, "carrier-class", and today there's hardly a large business, hospital, university or government agency that isn't also using microwave. You can spot a licensed microwave installation by its drum-shaped (parabolic) antenna. These systems are heavy-duty and made to withstand the harshest climates. Licensed microwave lasts 15+ years and if money's no object, you can configure a microwave connection to never go down (seriously).

Licensed microwave is as good as wireless gets, but the license part scares many people away. Don't let it. In fact, this type of license is easy to get and you can track your application on the FCC's web site. Once granted, the license is good for an initial 10-year term (extendable thereafter for 5-years at a time) and there are no recurring license fees. The license simply means that you have an exclusive right to a specific, unused set of transmit frequencies between your buildings - nothing more, and so you're never going to see your connection degraded by interference. Virtually any corporate, educational or government entity can get a "Fixed, Point-to-Point" FCC license and turnaround time is about 60-days. For your convenience and assurance, we take care of the application filing and guarantee your approval.

License-Exempt Wireless is the other type of point to point wireless. It's a more economic, scaled-down version that uses smaller, flat-panel dishes and runs in publicly available, shared frequency bands (e.g., 2.4 & 5.8 GHz). These are relatively low in price, super-convenient to deploy and depending on distance, a great answer for bandwidths from 10-150 Mbps.

Meridian Microwave specializes in both licensed microwave and license-exempt, point to point wireless. If you have an application that you'd like us to look at, fill out our quick, 3-question Application Sheet or CALL (781) 413-5661. 

For more info and guidance, I hope you'll join my blog, read and if you'd like, contribute.


Every wireless path is different, whether urban or rural, rooftop or tower, over water or trees. Successful wireless implementations are all about solid path engineering, resourcefulness and a good installation. Trust our 20+ years of successful systems engineering to deliver state of the art wireless solutions that outperform all others. We provide convenient turnkey installations and 24/7 support for the East Coast and partner with qualified friends in other U.S. regions.

Interested in more? Get some pointers and read more about our experience and what it means for you.

point to point wireless quotation Point to Point Wireless Performance


In our product recommendations we strive for the best balance of cost and performance, offering state of the art, point to point wireless from only the best makers like Motorola, Exalt, Siklu and Ceragon Networks. If we're recommending a radio, it's because knowing what we know, we'd buy it for ourselves.

I hope you find what you need here, and would be honored if you recommend us to a friend.

Thanks and all the best,

David S. Theodore

Email me: david@meridianmicrowave.com
to my blog or go directly to it > "Theo's Wireless WANgle".

meridian microwave
145 Washington Street, Norwell, MA 02061
Tel: (781) 413-5661

Meridian Microwave specializes in point to point wireless and licensed microwave for enterprise WAN applications. We ship nationwide and offer comprehensive site services, including: path engineering, line of sight verification, repeater site acquisition, FCC licensing, installation and 24/7 support on the U.S. East Coast: MA, CT, NY, NJ, PA, RI, NH and VT.


1. Cost is list price for radios only (both ends). Mounts, external antennas and cabling are quoted per application specifics.
2. Licensed microwave frequencies (for enterprise WANs) are 6 GHz, 11 GHz, 18 GHz, 23 GHz, 38 GHz & 80 GHz.
3. Applications: Wireless WANs, MANs, VoIP, last mile bypass, mixed-media backup.
4. Radio configurations: non-protected, hot-standby, redundant, space and frequency diversity.
5. Bandwidths are actual throughput delivered each way (full duplex, NOT aggregate).
6. Topography: Point to point, building to building, line of sight. Passive and active repeater configurations.
7. Visit Tech Desk for antenna weights, windload info, mounting options, power & signal cable types/distances.


Where radios are combined onto a single antenna ("dish"), they function as physically separate paths, each with their own distinct frequencies and so short of a building-wide power outage, whatever effects one link has no impact on the other. Therefore, when radios are combined, they act as redundant channels to each other. Switchover is effected by the network switch or router.


48 Mbps, 4.9-5.8 GHz | 50 Mbps [Licensed Microwave] | 100 Mbps & 1-8 T1 [TDM] | 200 Mbps | 400 Mbps | 800 Mbps | 1.25 Gigabit BridgeWave 60 GHz | 1.25 Gigabit BridgeWave 80 GHz | OC3 - OC12 Ceragon FibeAir 1500P | Tech Desk .

Directly serving the Northeast U.S. for point to point wireless WAN, VoIP, last mile bypass & backup.
Massachusetts, Connecticut - CT, New York - NY, New Jersey - NJ, Pennsylvania - PA, Rhode Island - RI, & New Hampshire - NH.
Certified VAR for Ceragon Networks, Trango Systems, Motorola, BridgeWave, Siklu and Cambium Networks. Call for cost, delivery and price quotes.

Copyright © 2005-2012 by Meridian Microwave, LLC. All rights reserved. [site index]

Links to Point to Point Wireless & Licensed Microwave Product Info
48 Mbps [Unlicensed, 5.8GHz]  ~  50 Mbps [Licensed]  ~  100 Mbps & 1-8 T1  ~  200 Mbps  ~  400 Mbps  ~  800 Mbps
1.25 Gigabit [Unlicensed 60 GHz Bridgewave]  1.25 Gigabit [Licensed 80 GHz Bridgewave]
OC3 - OC12 (SONET) [Licensed, Ceragon FibeAir 1500-P]

Turnkey Installation & SupportConvenient FCC Licensing Service
Tech Desk [antenna, mount, cabling & power specs, line of sight info...] Point to Point Wireless WAN Blog
About Meridian Microwave LLC  ~  Get a Quotation E-Mail Us

Specializing in point to point wireless and high speed microwave for WAN, VoIP, bypass (last-mile) & backup. 
Our direct service market covers the U.S. East Coast - MA, CT, NY, NJ, PA, RI, NH and VT. [site index]