According to Ceragon (2021), the rapid growth rate and driving force behind E-band have resulted in operators requiring and adopting E-band solutions to deliver 5G capacity.
Operators using massive video streaming, immersive virtual environments, mega-scale IoT services for industrial firms, security, public safety services, and open network architecture, specifically Open RAN, for example, are among those main catalysts driving the E-band market.
The 5G fronthaul and midhaul configurations both require a minimum of ultra-high capacities of 10 Gbps and above, which has led to recent developments and designing of new networks, where a minimum capacity starts at 20 Gbps, up to 50 Gbps, and more.
Fronthaul is becoming increasingly essential for the growth of 5G networks and ultra-high capacities.
A survey conducted in 2020 with Omdia, a leading global research firm found that by 2024 approximately 40% of 5G sites will use E-band fronthaul for connectivity, with 90% of current 5G base stations, using 4G sites, requiring capacity upgrades and modernizations.
Fronthaul isn’t the only viable 5G use case for E-band. In Open RAN architecture, midhaul describes connectivity between the Distributed Unit (DU) and the Central Unit (CU) when they are not co-located. Here, though less than for fronthaul, capacities of 10 Gbps and beyond are required, and midhaul, like fronthaul, E-band can serve as a cost-effective, rapidly deployed, and easy-to-scale complement to fiber.