Category Archives: DAS

ExteNet Systems Completes Acquisition of Axiom Fiber Networks

By The Editors of AGL

ExteNet Systems has completed its acquisition of Axiom Fiber Networks. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Axiom’s high-bandwidth fiber will be accretive to ExteNet’s existing purpose-built fiber in Manhattan. Overlaying Axiom’s newly-built and high strand count fiber to its fiber plant positions ExteNet well to address the increasing densification, bandwidth and communication needs throughout New York City.

“Our customers, including service providers, building owners, municipalities and enterprises require scalable, reliable, secure and high-bandwidth network solutions,” said Ross Manire, President and CEO for ExteNet Systems. “ExteNet has an expansive fiber network in New York City, serving outdoor and in-building customers. This acquisition of Axiom Fiber Networks allows us to extend and densify our service footprint in lower Manhattan for the benefit of our customers. I would like to welcome Axiom customers, and employees, to the ExteNet family.”

ExteNet will undertake responsibilities of all existing Axiom customers. Axiom CEO Felipe J. Alvarez will join ExteNet’s management team.

FCC’s O’Rielly Condemns Municipal Efforts to Delay Small Cells

By J. Sharpe Smith

FCC Com. Michael O’Rielly blasted efforts to impede the rollout of small cells, such as the use of Florida municipalities’ use of moratoria, during a meeting of the Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC) on Friday, in Washington, DC.

O’Rielly referenced an FCC filing by UNITI Group that identified 44 moratoria in the state of Florida on small cell deployments in the public rights of way, saying they are “unbelievable” and “cannot be allowed to stand.”

“The barriers being imposed are not caused by a failure to collaborate, but a failure to heed to current law and a resistance to allow citizens access to modern communications unless certain localities impose their will or extract bounties from providers,” O’Rielly said.

O’Rielly said problem of local governments setting up regulatory environments that are hostile to small cells is getting worse.

“The barriers preventing providers from bringing fixed and wireless broadband throughout our nation have increased despite the existence of this committee,” he said in prepared remarks.

Supportive small cell legislation being passed in the states doesn’t seem to be helping much, either. Florida’s State legislature passed The Infrastructure Deployment Act, which makes it unlawful for localities to prohibit small cells. However, a clause that allows them to adopt ordinances concerning “objective design standards,” has led to unnecessary and illegal moratoria, according to an ex parte presentation filed with the FCC by UNITI Group.

“Despite federal law to the contrary, many localities have implemented moratoria, in name or in fact, on installing small cells in the public rights-of-way,” UNITI said. “Even when local officials – like county commissioners, city councils, staff, and attorneys – are provided copies of relevant federal rulings prohibiting moratoria, these parties feign ignorance or express their intention to violate federal law.”

O’Rielly also pointed the finger at the City of San Jose, whose mayor Sam Liccardo is on the BDAC.

“[According to] the recent paper by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, the mayor’s team is seeking to extract high rents and fees for merely trying to attach small cells to utility poles,” O’Rielly said.

O’Rielly has learned of an effort by East Coast cities to coordinate the fees and other requirements that are imposed on small cells.

“The ideas being bandied about were head scratching: from neutral platform requirements to mandating sensor attachments to every small cell,” he said. “There seems to be no limit to the creativity of those imposing barriers to deployment.”

 

Danish City Deploys JMA Wireless C-DAS

By The Editors of AGL

Denmark’s second largest city has deployed JMA Wireless’ TEKO C-DAS to provide communications in new building developments.

Initially, four residential and/or mixed-use developments with 15 buildings have been constructed to accommodate this Aarhus’ rapid growth. To ensure robust cellular connectivity in these new structures, the RAN host worked with system integrator, KM Telecom, to deploy the C-DAS solution, an iteration of the industry leading TEKO DAS platform from JMA Wireless.

The Aarhus deployment includes four residential zones. Together they cover almost 240,000 sqm. Within these developments there are residential, office and retail space, all requiring reliable cellular coverage. With the C-DAS platform, the central processing equipment is in a lower cost offsite base transceiver station hotel located in central Aarhus, saving up to 85 percent of valuable onsite real estate for revenue generating tenants, not housing technical equipment. Furthermore, the C-DAS can easily move capacity into different areas as necessary. The capacity used for businesses during the week can be reallocated to residences on the week-ends or in the evenings when people are at home.

The mixed-use development in Aarhus provides many amenities such as underground parking, expansive recreational areas and robust wireless communications.

During the initial phase of this project, a six-person team deployed two sectors, supporting the mobile operators, TDC, Telia and Telenor, and the 2100 UMTS band.

Inside the buildings, only low and high-power UMTS remote units (RUs) were deployed. However, with the installation of point-to-point links, cellular coverage and capacity are available to locations up to 20 kilometers away, even to Island 4 Aarhus, a manmade island with a variety of residences.

The Making of a DAS at the Country’s Largest State Fair

MP Mobile Solutions

The Minnesota State Fair has the largest average daily attendance of any state fair in the country.  Approximately 100,000 – 250,000 people per day walk the fairgrounds during the annual landmark event in late August.  That means up to 8 million texts go in and out of the fairgrounds DAILY.  Not to mention data downloads, mobile streaming and cell phone calls.  This kind of demand for always -on, always-guaranteed, mobile data delivery is the new normal for large-scale public events – and it’s incredibly complex to achieve.

That’s where a company called MP Mobile Solutions stepped in.

The Opportunity

Traditionally cell carriers will remedy the issue of data delivery by deploying Cells-on-Wheels (COWs) – to extend cellular data coverage for short, intense foot-traffic events.  But growing data demand requires more equipment occupying more precious square footage at event venues.  And space is money.  The Minnesota State Fair values each in-demand square foot of the fairgrounds a premium not to be squandered.  After assessing the situation, the Minnesota State Fair and MP Mobile Solutions determined a permanent, on-site, multi-carrier BTS distributed antenna system (DAS) would provide three main benefits.  It would produce an improved, scalable-solution for the long term, optimize valuable square footage use for the Fair, and greatly simplify the State Fair’s interactions with multiple carriers.

Overcoming Challenges

A DAS project the scale of the Minnesota State Fair DAS install requires an unprecedented amount of planning and governing body pre-approvals before ground-breaking can even take place.  The system must cater to more daily cell phone and mobile device users than a large college campus or Daytona 500 – while meeting the requirements of four individual carriers.  There are other considerations too – guaranteeing performance for fire, police, EMT and public safety; maintaining aesthetics and the historic nature of the campus during the install; and the need to work around 125 other individual events on the Minnesota State Fairground’s calendar,. Add to all of this a short Minnesota construction season due to the climate, and MP’s team had their work cut out from the outset.

What we did

With a hybrid indoor/outdoor DAS comes certain environmental challenges that can affect the performance of data delivery.  The seasonality of trees, branches and leaves all create radio RF obstacles, as do roofs of buildings and even the ebb and flow of the Fair’s daily foot traffic.  To ensure performance, MP Mobile Solutions and the carriers conducted multiple walk-and drive-tests, measuring effectiveness of the existing macro network first with unpopulated streets and then during the Fairground’s June events.  By doing this, our team could make any necessary system adjustments to guarantee performance.

Complex zone mapping throughout the Fairground’s sprawling 320 acre site was also challenging, balancing data delivery and network coverage practicalities with historic preservation regulations from both SHPO (State Historic Preservation Organization) and the ACHP (Advisory Council on Historic Preservation).  In all, 56 antennas were mounted, connected and optimized, all located to maintain sightlines across the Fairground’s famous landscape to the central grandstand, 4H buildings and streets of food vendors.

MP worked with its distributor and partner, Graybar, to add expertise and supply a wide variety of materials needed to complete the project. Staged in Graybar’s Minneapolis Service Center, the SOLiD DAS solution required 36,000 feet of coaxial cable and miles of fiber optic cable capable of connecting all antennas and catering to the Fair’s data capacity needs.

Outcome

Today the Minnesota State Fair DAS install by MP Mobile Solutions is the largest square acreage install in the Midwest to-date. The installed system provides a long term, carrier-neutral solution to the Minnesota State Fair’s busy management team, centralizing all interactions with carriers neatly under MP Mobile Solutions’ third party management.  The new permanent DAS eliminates the annual deployment of temporary COW’s and helps the State Fair deliver increased coverage, bandwidth and throughput and provide an easy upgrade pathway as crowd and data needs will surely grow.

Opening Day: Peace of Mind

Now the DAS is installed, and for 12 days in late August and early September the Minnesota State Fair will open its gates to almost 2 million visitors – roughly the population of Nebraska – and another 15,000 – 20,000 vendors, State Fair employees, and related business and administrative staff.  Almost every one of them will have some form of smart phone, tablet or connected device (Or even all three) and will have the demand for text, media sharing and possibly even a phone call or two.  But as fair-goers go about their business and line up for food on a stick, carnival rides and livestock shows, all will be blissfully unaware of the miles of cable and almost invisible network of antennas that keep them connected; texting, chatting, snapping and posting all day every day.


 

MP Mobile Solutions is a subsidiary of MP Nexlevel, LLC – a nationally recognized full service technology and utility contracting company founded in 1973.  Headquartered in Maple Lake, Minnesota, MP is a family of companies offering turnkey technology and utility services to a wide range of markets across the United States.  MP has permanent office locations in Minnesota, Texas, California, Arizona, Iowa, Nebraska, and Missouri. www.mpmobilesolutions.com

The Next Phase for a Small-cell Expert

By Mike Harrington

NextEdge Networks, a newly formed San Francisco-based small cell and site acquisition firm, merges two companies that have executed more than 4,000 node deployments in more than 40 states.

These are heady days for San Francisco-based small cell specialist NextEdge Networks.

Wiest

As Doug Wiest, the CEO of the newly formed company, explains: “NextEdge Networks was founded in November 2016, when Titan Grove purchased the small cell assets from EdgeConnecX, an international edge data center company. In September 2017, we finalized our merger with Modus, which is a leader in wireless site acquisition and turnkey deployment, and which has been in business, focusing on small-cell deployments, since 2005. In terms of size, we’re growing, and right now we’re at 60-plus employees and seven offices on both coasts.”

The merger of NextEdge Networks and Modus, a San Francisco-based site acquisition and construction firm deploying small cells for all the major wireless carriers, has created a turnkey provider of services and infrastructure solutions to enable the deployment of the next generation of wireless infrastructure. “Because we focus on small cells, we do things a little bit different than your typical site-acquisition and construction company does, Wiest said. “Although we do other types of work, we really see ourselves as being experts in small cells.”

According to Wiest, the rapid growth of data use is causing increasing demands on the nation’s wireless infrastructure and wireless providers, which require innovative solutions aligning the interests of all stakeholders. “Our combined capabilities, as well as our experience and success in the most difficult of jurisdictions, allow us to partner with wireless carriers, municipalities and business owners to create long-term alignment to address the impending need of network densification,” he said.

Predominantly West Coast-oriented, NextEdge Networks has offices in San Francisco; Portland, Oregon; Washington, D.C.; and Florida. The company’s range of services now includes project financing, small cell deployments, site acquisition and jurisdictional partnerships, construction and construction management, program management, fiber deployment, in-building distributed antenna system (DAS) networks and small cell installations and maintenance.

NextEdge Networks bills itself as the recognized expert in the burgeoning field of small cell and DAS deployments, having executed more than 4,000 node deployments in more than 40 states. Meanwhile, Modus’ past deployments have also included more than 3,500 fiber-to-cell installations, the first microcell deployment, the first western U.S. small cell installation, the first U.S. 5G deployment and numerous high-profile DAS installations.

A wireless industry veteran, Wiest has built a multidisciplinary career, working for various wireless infrastructure companies before becoming CEO of NextEdge Networks. He worked at EdgeConnecX for six years as executive vice president for business development, focusing the last couple of years on small cell deployment. Prior to EdgeConnecX, Wiest was the founding president and CEO of LightTower, an Eastern U.S.-based fiber company that Crown Casstle International acquired. Before that, Wiest was COO of American Tower for its first five years. Earlier still, Wiest worked with various carriers, including Nextel and McCaw.

The NextEdge Networks team also includes Chris Maguire, CFO, who was formerly CFO of Golden State Towers and executive vice president of American Tower. Maguire has held CFO and strategic consulting positions in wireless, radio and renewable energy businesses. Chad Abbott, Erik Corkery and Ryan Crowley, who founded Modus in 2005, will become executive vice presidents of the new entity and continue to lead the services activities of NextEdge Networks. Business development efforts are headed by two industry veterans, Jennifer Hockensmith, formerly of EdgeConneX, Lightsquared and PrimeCo, and John Ricci, formerly of Ericsson, Golden State Towers, Spectrasite and SBA Communications.

A self-described wanna-be engineer, Wiest said he always is fascinated by patterns of mobility and how technology can change the ways humans interact. “Wireless mobility always intrigued me; I was lucky because the wireless industry has been in a growth pattern as long as I’ve been involved — and it’s been great to watch,” he said. “I think we’re now entering a new area of growth where data is now being consumed, particularly video, in larger and larger chunks. It continues to transform the way we do business. Ten years from now, we’ll be astounded what’s changed.”

Fortunately, Wiest says, NextEdge is well capitalized to exploit the technology trends. “Our investment in infrastructure, we hope, will grow as a percentage of our business over time — and, those investments will happen, both outdoors and indoors, either through pockets of fiber deployment or in-building through small cell or DAS installations,” he said. “We have the capability, financially, to create infrastructure opportunities as we go forward.”

Jurisdictional Partnerships

On the real estate side, Wiest expects NextEdge Networks to remain cautious. The company isn’t planning to do any speculative development, although it will look for risk-adjusted opportunties. “We have a rather unique approach to site acquisition because it’s our belief that, for the last 30 years, real estate owners, organizations and managers have expected wireless as a funding source — or a way for remuneration,” he said “It’s our view that that needs to be turned on its head.”

Wiest believes wireless is more of a benefit and, as a result, real estate owners and managers shouldn’t be expecting a wireless entity to fund activities that happen within their buildings. “As a result of that benefit, our real estate activities really set a completely different expectation in terms of what the cost would be for access to those buildings,” he said.

“We essentially start at zero for access cost; we don’t start at a high number and work down,” Wiest said. “That’s going to be the future of the industry because, otherwise, with carriers not being as capable of funding, particularly on the in-building side, the real estate owners will take a good brunt of that on, which they really haven’t had to do before and, therefore, look on it at as a utility than as a way to make money.”

Wiest said the main strength of the merger is how it combines small cell and jurisdictional capabilities. Although both Modus and NextEdge focused on small cell deployment, Modus has more experience in jurisdictional partnerships, particularly in the ability to partner with municipalities and other regulatory entities to help speed up the process and make it easier for wireless carriers to deploy their networks.

Wiest sees Modus’ jurisdictional knowledge as a big plus, particularly because the company worked in San Francisco, said to be one of the toughest jurisdictions in the country. “Not only did we work with the city and county of San Francisco to develop their wireless standards and procedures, they looked at us as an integral entity in helping them create their processes going forward,” Wiest said.” Although we see that as a partnership, we certainly don’t forget the fact that our ultimate customers are wireless carriers. They’re the ones that use those procedures to get the work done. Nevertheless, it’s important to establish good relationships because that makes things go so much quicker as you move through the points and process of our collective groups together.”

The other strength that NextEdge and Modus have long shared, according to Wiest, is a relentless attitude in keeping customers satisfied and happy. He believes that both companies also share the same approach exceeding expectations.

The Road Ahead

Wiest envisions continued growth for the marketplace in general and NextEdge in particular. As reasons, he cited the increasing demand for data consumption and the fact that data and video are growing at almost logarithmic leaps and bounds.

“We’re going to continue to be the experts of small cells, but we’re certainly going to be open to different ways to grow and invest and we hope that over time we can turn our infrastructure business into a bigger percentage of the business as a whole,” Wiest said. “We hope to be one of the principal small cell experts and deployers of the new technologies. We hope to be an owner, too. We certainly see growth in our future.”

The biggest challenge for the brand-new company will be capturing the right opportunities, Wiest said, including exceeding customer expectations and focusing on the near-term needs of the wireless industry. “We’re going to be focused on small cell installations, both indoors and outdoors, alhough I hope you’ll see us morph over time,” he said. “We would like to see a bigger percentage become more infrastructure-oriented than service-oriented, and we would like to own some of these networks that are being invested in throughout the country.”

Finally, Wiest said he believes that as carriers look for ways to improve their own competitive position, the ability of other people to fund networks will grow over time.


Mike Harrington is a freelance writer in Prairie Village, Kansas.