Many Gulf Coast wireless operators have turned to Harris’ microwave division to deliver backhaul solutions in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, a Harris official said.

The company this week planned to ship almost 100 microwave links to a variety of users—commercial operators, utility companies and governmental entities, said Jayne Leighton, Harris’ vice president of sales for North America.

“We’ve been in contact with some of the LMR and cellular operators,” Leighton said. “They are going to be putting in microwave antennas for backhaul and access … where there are no T-1s available.”

Combined with the wind damage that Hurricane Katrina caused some wireless systems’ towers, the fact that key network equipment is underwater or that there is no public power has been a problem as operators try to restore their communications systems, Leighton said. Microwave links give operators long-range backhaul that is not affected by water damage to lines.

The vast majority of the systems ordered from Harris utilize unlicensed spectrum, but Leighton said she believes licensed-spectrum systems will become more popular as the unlicensed bands in the affected region become congested.

Indeed, the FCC has allowed the frequency-coordination process to be streamlined so that operators can get same-day approval to deploy temporary communications equipment in the affected region, said Greg Macey, senior manager of Comsearch’s microwave division.