Can I use MikroTik 60GHz products for PtP or PtMP links in the UK?

Wireless Wire Dish

The arrival in 2018 of the MikroTik Wireless Wire and shortly after the MikroTik Wireless Wire Dish caused a large amount of excitement in the WISP industry and sales have proven them to be very popular products.  The use of 60GHz instead of 5GHz for point to point and point to multi-point links opens many new possibilities and challenges.

60GHz offers substantially less interference and much higher throughput speeds. Less interference because the band is almost completely unoccupied, uses very narrow radio antenna beams therefore offers much higher co-located frequency re-use. Also much higher throughput is possible up to as high as 1Gbps Full Duplex.

One downside however is that 60GHz is the resonant frequency of Oxygen.  Therefore there is severe attenuation of the radio signal in air and the maximum distance is not as far as 5GHz, usually only up to around 1.5km.

But, let’s start with a little history – The 60GHz band was opened up for unlicensed outdoors fixed point to point use back in 2009 by the release of this Ofcom document. The intention of Ofcom was that the 59-64GHz band would open up a new era for anyone wishing to operate a high powered outdoors fixed point to point system without requiring them to be licensed by Ofcom. At the time they followed the recommendations made by the European Research Council (ERC) by mandating that any fixed installation must have a minimum of a 30dBi antenna.

“Ofcom has decided to incorporate this minimum antenna gain of 30 dBi into the technical conditions to ensure that narrow beam antennas are employed. This decision will also bring the technical conditions into line with the new ECC recommendation ECC/REC/(09)01 that replaces ERC/REC/12-09”

Also, in the same Ofcom document on the technical table on page 2 they stated that:

“Equipment and Antennas”“Must conform to essential requirements of the RTTE and the technical conditions as set out in this statement (given below).” and also a “Minimum Antenna Gain 30 dBi”

The technical standard being referred to in the above document was later released in 2010 as an Interface Requirement. Namely, Interface Requirement 2078 or just “IR2078”.  At the time it was therefore intended that all outdoor fixed point to point systems must have an antenna of 30dBi or greater.

IR2078 states that for access to the 60GHz band for unlicensed usage, equipment must comply with ETSI EN 302 217 and ECC Rec (09)01. Specifically on Page 6 it states

Reference” … “ETSI EN 302 217 – Fixed Radio Systems; Characteristics and requirements for point-to
point equipment and antennas. ECC Recommendation (09)01 – Use of the 57-64 GHz frequency band for point-to-point fixed wireless systems.

ECC Rec (09)01 Annex 1 ALSO states “The requirements are stated below:” … “Minimum antenna gain +30 dBi“. Which is why Ofcom refers to their decision being in unison with the EU decision.

So, in a nutshell, the old regulations for using 60GHz outdoors is that they must comply with IR2078, which in turn refers to ETSI EN 302 217, which says a minimum 30dBi antenna is required.

Does the Wireless Wire Dish have a 30dBi antenna and comply with ETSI EN 302 217? Yes! The antenna gain is substantially higher than 30dBi, therefore the device can be used outdoors in a fixed point to point configuration.

Can the Wireless Wire Dish be used outdoors in Point to Multi Point mode? Yes! The ETSI document EN 302 217 states that “The present document specifies the essential parameters for Point-to-point (P-P) Digital Fixed Radio Systems (DFRS) operating in frequency bands allocated to Fixed Service (FS) from 1,3 GHz to 86 GHz“.  However, if connected to a Wireless Wire Access Point, this is not a problem as if the CPE is a Wireless Wire Dish it is only still operating in a Fixed Point to Point mode!

Is the new updated Ofcom IR2030 also applicable to outdoor usage for 60GHz equipment? Yes! Since November 27th 2018 Ofcom have relaxed IR2030 to now allow outdoors PtP and PtMP usage of 60GHz as well as indoors.  Therefore the Wireless Wire (WAP60G) is now able to be operated outdoors.

As a Gold Technology Partner of UKWISPA, we supported a campaign in 2017 to request Ofcom revisit the Fixed Wireless Access spectrum situation and look to relax these regulations.

As a result, Ofcom published a consultation document in December 2017. UKWISPA took a very active part of persuading Ofcom to relax the regulations surrounding low power 60GHz equipment being able to be used outdoors especially for WISPs.

Subsequently Ofcom’s Post Consultation Statement stated that they would be taking steps to liberate some of the rules regarding the usage of 60GHz products such as the Wireless Wire and Wireless Wire Dish.  Ofcom’s decision to implement technical and regulatory changes to the 57 – 71 GHz band was published on 8th November 2018 and then became law on November 27th 2018.

Therefore, as of November 27th 2018 it is now permitted to operate equipment such as the MikroTik Wireless Wire and Wireless Wire Dish outdoors in PtP and PtMP modes.

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