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Ceragon's Winning Formula

By Jeff Goldman

http://www.wi-fiplanet.com/columns/article.php/3805046/Ceragons-Winning-Formula.htm (Back to article)

The company's high-capacity microwave backhaul solutions are designed to help operators transition between TDM and Ethernet networks.


Ceragon was founded in 1996 with a focus on high-capacity microwave solutions. The company went public in 2000, and is now traded both on the NASDAQ and on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE). Ceragon currently serves more than 150 service providers and hundreds of private networks in over 100 countries worldwide.

Company chief marketing executive Aviv Ronai says the shift from TDM to Ethernet in the marketplace serves as a key opportunity for Ceragon. "We see all the carriers either talking about it, issuing RFIs or RFPs, and some early adopters have even selected vendors and started deployments—and we are proud to be one of those vendors," he says.

Still, Ronai says Ceragon today continues to derive the vast majority of its revenues from TDM products. "About 65 to 75 percent of our revenues come from TDM microwave, where we are today positioned as one of the top three players in high-capacity split-mount microwave—the other two are NEC and Ericsson," he says. "And the other 25 to 35 percent of our business comes from high-capacity Ethernet microwave, where we are today positioned as number one in market share. That's obviously a much smaller market than the TDM market, but it's the fastest growing one."

Ronai says the company's customer base is extremely diverse. "Most of our revenue is from mobile carriers, but also WiMAXcarriers, as well as some fixed-line carriers that use a microwave solution in order to complement the fiber-based backhaul network," he says. "And we also do all kinds of private networks, as well."

The product catalog

The company offers two management applications for its products. The CeraView element management system (EMS) supports configuration and maintenance of a system or link, while the PolyView network management system (NMS) provides an end-to-end view of the network. "It gives the ability to see the entire network topology, the status, the different reports, traffic trails, performance indicators, and so on," Ronai says.

Ceragon sells a number of different RF Units (RFUs) covering different licensed frequency ranges: the 6-8 GHz FibeAir RFU-SP and the 11-38 GHz FibeAir RFU-P. "We also have a high-power [FibeAir RFU-HP] version of the unit to provide longer distances, which enables us to go 100 miles," Ronai says.

The company's TDM systems, which Ronai describes as Ceragon's "bread and butter," include the FibeAir 1500P high capacity SDH/SONET wireless system and the FibeAir 3200T N+1 high-capacity trunk solution.

Ceragon's Ethernet systems include the FibeAir 3200T (G), an Ethernet version of the 3200T TDM solution, as well as the FibeAir IP-MAX2 (G), and the FibeAir IP-10. "The FibeAir IP-MAX2 (G) actually incorporates two radio carriers in a single box--so you can get, over the same channel bandwidth, double the capacity," Ronai says. "And the IP-10 enables 500 Mbps over a single radio carrier—the IP-MAX2 enables 450."

With adaptive coding and modulation, the products are able to maximize capacity to the point where, Ronai says, "we get more capacity than anyone else in the market today--this is extremely important to carriers who have already licensed the spectrum and now want to better utilize it, instead of going and purchasing additional spectrum."

Finally, the company's multi-service systems support both TDM and Ethernet networking, to assist with the transition to Ethernet. "So, for example, you can take your voice services over the TDM backhaul and your data services over the Ethernet portion of it—and you can slowly migrate your services until everything is on the Ethernet portion," Ronai says.

The multi-service products include the FibeAir 640P, which supports up to 64 E1/T1s in addition to Fast Ethernet, and the FibeAir 4800, which operates in unlicensed bands including 2.4 GHz and 4.9-5.8 GHz. Other multi-service solutions include the FibeAir IP-10 and the FibeAir IP-MAX2 (MS).

Pricing, revenues� and the futureRonai says pricing for the products varies significantly according to geography. "Our largest region is Asia/Pacific, so obviously, in Asia/Pacific, prices are lower than in other areas—and also, within the same region, there are differences between countries," he says. "Our largest single market is India, and India is today the most competitive environment for microwave."

About 65 to 70 percent of Ceragon's revenues, Ronai says, come either from direct sales or through distributors, including U.S.-based Hutton Communications. The other 25 to 30 percent, he says, come from OEMs rebranding Ceragon's equipment. "Our biggest one is Nokia Siemens Networks, which sells our product under their brand," he says.

And looking ahead, Ronai says the company is extremely optimistic. "The demand for mobile services is not slowing down, with the introduction of new mobile technologies to deliver new capacities, with the introduction of new phones and handheld devices like the iPhone, and these kinds of trends, going forward, will definitely keep the momentum going for our products," he says.

Article courtesy of ISP-Planet.