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Microwave communication is most common in the form of point-to-point data link, which provide a cost effective alternative to conventional fibre optic lines. Microwave links operate at higher frequency bands than ordinary PTP links, usually from 7 to 80 GHz, compared to more common PTP frequencies over the 5 GHz band.

Microwave links that use frequencies in the millimetre-wave range (between 24 and 100 GHz) are referred to as mmWave.

A high speed data connection is achieved by the use of two highly directional (high gain) antennas which focus a thin beam of electromagnetic waves each other through the open air.

Modern microwave radios are almost exclusively in an all-ODU format, connected into wider telecommunications networks using SPF fibre optic cables. Data rates as high as 10 Gb/s are achievable using 8KQAM / 8192QAM modulation schemes. With many conventional microwave bands (such as 26, 28, 39 GHz) being refarmed for 5G, E-band (70 / 80 GHz) mmWave has become a popular choice for high capacity, short range backhaul.