Wireless X-Haul

ARA features a first-of-its-kind wireless x-haul infrastructure known as AraHaul, consisting of microwave, mmWave, and free-space-optical (FSO) wireless x-haul links. This multi-modal, long-distance, and high capacity wireless x-haul infrastructure operates across diverse frequency bands. The microwave, mmWave, and FSO links operate at 11 GHz, 71-86 GHz, 191 THz respectively. These links offer high communication capacity up to 160+ Gbps across distances up to 15+ km, holding the potential of providing fiber-like capacity without having to lay fibers and thus particularly suitable for rural regions as well as high-capacity NextG backhaul.

Key Characteristics of AraHaul

  • Long-Distance, High-Capacity Wireless X-Haul Platforms: Unlike existing wireless x-hauls which tend to be of short distance (e.g., a few hundred meters), AraHaul features long-distance x-haul links while ensuring high-capacity at the same time. The microwave, mmWave, and FSO wireless x-haul links offer communication capacity up to 1 Gbps, 10 Gbps, and 160 Gbps respectively at distances up to 15+ km. 
  • Diversity & Robustness: The mesh deployment of microwave, mmWave, and FSO wireless x-haul links enables the use of spatial, temporal, and spectral diversity to enhance the robustness of wireless x-haul systems.
  • Programmability: AraHaul offers rich APIs for controlling and measuring the diverse x-haul platforms, thus enabling real-world wireless x-haul research that would be infeasible otherwise.
  • Remote Accessibility: AraHaul is remotely accessible through the ARA Portal, thus facilitating convenient and effective x-haul experiments.

AraHaul APIs

AraHaul provides a suite of wrapper APIs for configuring and measuring its diverse x-haul links:

  • Configuration API: It enables users to configure the microwave and mmWave x-haul links of AraHaul (e.g., operating channels, transmission power, MCS). The configuration API for the FSO links will be made available soon.
  • Measurement API: It enables users to measure the behavior of the microwave and mmWave x-haul links of AraHaul (e.g., throughput, latency, reliability). The measurement API for the FSO links will be made available soon.

For more details, please refer to the Aviat API, AraHaul infrastructure, and Resource Specifications discussions in the ARA User Manual.

Enabled Experiments

By deploying AraHaul nodes in spatially separated rural cities and agriculture farms, ARA uniquely enables the study of multi-modal, long-distance, and high-throughput wireless x-haul communications and networking. The development and field-deployment of the AraOptical radios, with a configurable per-link throughput up to 160Gbps+ at distance over 15km, is the first of its kind in terrestrial optical wireless networking. With clear four seasons and combinations of sunny, cloudy, rainy, and snowy weathers in central Iowa, the AraHaul node deployment enables the characterization and correlation analysis of long-distance free-space optical, mmWave, microwave, and satellite channels, and it enables transformative research in multi-modal, long-distance, and high-throughput wireless x-haul networking that would be infeasible otherwise. Unlike traditional mesh networks which usually adopt omnidirectional, shorter-range microwave radios and thus are difficult to scale, the AraHaul network of point-to-point, long-distance links is scalable and offers new opportunities of theoretical and systems wireless research, where the theoretical research will benefit from the high-fidelity models of AraHaul wireless links. 

An example experiment illustrating the capabilities of AraHaul microwave and mmWave links can be found here. AraHaul readily supports other experiments such as throughput and latency analysis, weather-dependent data collection for x-haul measurement studies, and mesh x-haul involving microwave, mmWave, and FSO links.