The current generation of packet microwave was introduced to support the transport of Evolved High Speed Packet Access/Long Term Evolution (HSPA+ LTE) services in an all packet-based backhaul network. LTE Advanced (LTE-A) moves backhaul requirements even further, demanding more capacity and better performance. The scope of this paper is to discuss the main evolution areas of the next generation of packet microwave radios to support such new requirements. Discussion will touch on radio frequency (RF) capabilities necessary to increase radio capacity (e.g., high-order quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM), frequency reuse techniques, line-of-sight multiple input multiple output (LOS-MIMO)), improve energy efficiency (new RF technologies, smart metering methods), and decrease the form factor through mechanical arrangement. Packet functionalities of a packet microwave leverage RF capabilities, and provide a decisive step in supporting 10 Gb/s capacity and an increase in availability. A key role is played by the radio link aggregation group (LAG), coupled with the exploitation of adaptive modulation, to provide methods suitable for maximizing capacity and availability, and decreasing the overall solution cost. © 2013 Alcatel-Lucent.