The use of microwave technologies to delivery communications services has a long and distinguished history.
Before the advent of optical fibre, microwave systems were used to carry the majority of land-based long distance communication. Optical fibres transformed this sort of communication with almost limitless capacity, but wireless communications have evolved almost as fast with rapid improvements in performance and increasingly competitive prices.
Key characteristics of microwave communications include:
- Very low latency - microwaves also travel at the speed of light and microwave systems can offer lower latencies than fibre because the path is more direct, and the speed of light is faster in the air than in a glass fibre
- High data rates - wireless systems can deliver symmetric data rates into the multiple gigabits per second, more than enough for the vast majority of businesses
- Reliability - the dominant failure mode of communications equipment relates to the supply of power to a device. This is true of wireless communications as much as terrestrial communciations.
- Rapid deployment - wireless systems require work only at two locations whereas terrestrial networks require work all along the route. This work can be very time consuming and expensive. Cirrus can typically bring a wireless connection live within days
- Microwave communications can be ideal for backup connectivity. The Cirrus network is completely independent of other carriers such as Telstra and will not be affected by faults on their network.