How to get a Microwave System Licensed in Canada

July 19th, 2018

The third and final part (for now!) of our series on licensed microwave systems is ‘Licensed Microwave Radio FAQ – Canada (Industry Canada)’.

Andy Moss, Alliance’s resident broadband wireless guru, has prepared a great list to guide you on licensed microwave in Canada. Alliance can assist you with the licensing process in Canada so contact us if you want to know more.

Q: How long does it take to get a system licensed?

A: This can vary somewhat. Industry Canada guidelines state it can take up to 10 weeks from date of submission. Coordination with co-band, co-site and nearby broadcasters can take up to 30 days before you can submit. So it could take 3 or 4 months. In practice it normally takes less time. This is particularly true if your application is concise and includes accurate information.

Q: How much does it cost for the license?

A: Industry Canada charges rates based on amount of data bandwidth being carried. The license fee is paid annually. For a 1.45Mbs connection (single T-1) the rate is $136, for a 100Mbs full-duplex link it becomes $1,612.

Q: Who pays for the license?

A: The cost of the license is born by the licensee. If you’re an integrator, this is typically your customer, the end-user of the system.

Q: I want to run data compression. Do I have to pay ‘extra’ for this additional bandwidth?

A: No.

Q: If I want to double-up my bandwidth, can I use a second polarity on my antenna to save licensing fees?

A: Yes, in most cases.

Q: I’ve heard that all licensed radios are full-duplex. Why is this when unlicensed radios use TDD?

A: Frequency bands are all paired with equal upstream and downstream RF bandwidth. This is due to band-plans being made to cater to circuit-switched data connections such as T-1, DS3, OC3 etc.

Q: I’ve heard the application process is involved and calls for a professional engineer.

A: There are consultants whom offer a service to take care of the application for you or your client. Call Alliance for more information as we can provide this service.

Q: Are all microwave licenses handled in the same way?

A: No, only fixed, point-to-point links in conventional frequency bands. For other bands such as 3.5-3.8GHz, 4.9GHz and 70/80GHz, these each have their own processes with Industry Canada.

Q. How can I get a license for my link?

Call your Alliance Account Manager – he or she will walk through the licensing application submission with you.