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Comba Telecom Adds UHF BDA to Its Public Safety Product Line

CriticalPoint UHF BDA design focuses on practicality to keep overall costs and size lowwithout sacrificing reliability and performance for first responders

(5 August 2018 – Milpitas, CA) – Comba Telecom, Inc. (Subsidiary of Comba Telecom Systems Holdings Ltd.), a global leading wireless solutions provider, today released the CriticalPoint™ Public Safety UHF BDA solution at the APCO 2018 | 84th Annual Conference & Expo.

The CriticalPoint UHF BDA supports frequencies from 450MHz to 512MHz and supports INTERNAL one-window or dual-window filters for various passbands within the NEMA 4 enclosure to lower overall costs, reduce installation costs, and save space. Additionally, features that are found on the award-winning 700/800MHz public safety BDA such as supporting up to 32 narrow band channels (Class A) or 4 wide-band channels (Class B), Channelized Automatic Level Control and channelized squelch (Class A) are also incorporated in the UHF BDA.

In addition, a brand new exclusive feature has been released called NetProtect™.  NetProtect allows the BDA to automatically turn off the uplink Power Amplifier (PA) when there is no traffic activity so ‘no noise’ is transmitted back to the base station, helping to keep the public safety network clean. The NetProtect feature can be found on both our latest UHF BDA as well as Comba’s 700/800MHz Class A BDA.

Other CriticalPoint UHF BDA Features:
• Available in Class A or Class B                   • Available in AC or DC powered

• 36dBm / 30dBm DL/UL Power,                 • Supports SNMP v2 & v3 / Easy-to-use
95dB Gain (Simplex)                                   OMT web interface

•Built-in mandatory isolation test to           • NEMA 4 and NFPA 1221/IFC compliant
prevent BDA oscillation                              as well as FCC and UL/IC approved

“We’re proud to add the CriticalPoint UHF BDA in Comba’s public safety product line,” said Don Henry, Comba’s Public Safety Program Manager. “We have made it our goal to provide public safety solutions that satisfy the strictest codes enforced around the country by AHJs (Authority Having Jurisdiction) and understanding how equally important it is to offer a solution to building owners to minimize costs both from a product standpoint as well as ongoing maintenance.  We strongly believe we have accomplished both with our UHF BDA and are committed to our mission of providing the most affordable, reliable and state of the art products.”

The CriticalPoint UHF (Simplex) BDA Class A and Class B solutions will be shipping in August 2018 in allavailable configurations. Comba will be showcasing its UHF BDA at APCO 2018 from August 5-8, Booth #854. For more product information visit: www.combausa.com/public-safety/uhf.

Comba Telecom Adds Frequency Band Support for ComFlex DAS

Comba Telecom has added support for 600 MHz, 2.3 GHz 2.5 GHz frequencies to its ComFlex DAS solution, which provides modular, multi-band and multi-operator wireless coverage for buildings over 100,000 square feet.

The 600MHz, 2.3GHz and 2.5GHz frequencies will be available as RF modules that slide into ComFlex’s Master Unit. These modules implement the latest 4.3-10 connector standard reducing passive intermodulation (PIM) to minimize adding noise to the network.

Fed from the Master Unit via fiber, the Remote Unit(s) (RU) will support the combined 600MHz, 2.3GHz and 2.5GHz frequencies together in a compact form factor for easy installation and to transmit the wireless signals out to the service antennas. The RUs are available in 5 W indoor versions, as well as 20 W and 40 W indoor/outdoor versions.

Solid Technologies, Comba Grab Subway DAS projects

Solid Technologies’ Alliance neutral-host system has been selected by Transit Wireless to support a DAS being designed to provide wireless coverage and capacity throughout the New York City Subway System including underground stations, mezzanines and corridors.

The multi-year project includes 277 stations, 30 of which are scheduled to go live by the end of 2012. The New York City Subway is the largest and oldest rapid transit rail system in the nation. The scale of the system plus the harsh, subterranean environment makes the project uniquely challenging.

“The RFP process was long and detail oriented. It started with general pricing and solution modeling based upon Solid’s DAS and optical distribution products and included everything from gear specifications and certifications to pricing and delivery commitments,” Seth Buechley, Solid Technologies president, told DAS Bulletin. “It then evolved into derivatives of our Alliance multi-service DAS platform.”

Solid’s technology was also used in the Seoul Metro subway system, and Buechley said that experience was instrumental in securing the NYC contract. “We demonstrated success having deployed a DAS at the Seoul Metro and the ability for quick-turn around through our corporate R&D facility,” he said.

Transit Wireless CEO, William A. Bayne agreed, “Solid’s extensive subway experience in Korea and ability to rapidly customize products and applications make the company ideally-suited to support our mission to enable state-of-the-art wireless coverage to all underground subway stations in New York City.”

Another subway contract has been awarded this month to Comba Telecom Systems by the Bangkok Metro Public Company Limited (BMCL) to provide an end-to-end neutral-host wireless solution to enable 2G and 3G voice and data communications throughout the underground railway network, which serves over 240,000 passengers daily and comprises 18 stations, concourses, tunnels, platforms, and retail stores within the concourses.

Comba Telecom will replace the existing 2G system with a multi-system (2G/3G) active DAS, which includes the DAS repeaters, antennas, passive equipment, cabling and services such as RF design, installation, optimization and maintenance.

Eric Ng, general manager of Southeast Asia for Comba Telecom said, “The modular nature of our DAS solution means that BMCL will be equipped with a scalable system which can be expanded to integrate future requirements such as 4G technologies or new subway lines.”

With New Name and CEO, Change is in the Air at Airtower

By J. Sharpe Smith, Senior Editor

Having found new avenues for growth, Wave Wireless has adopted a new look and new leadership for the coming decade. First, the company changed its name to Airtower Networks at the end of last year, and, early in 2020, the wireless infrastructure provider recruited Oliver Valente to fill a newly created role of CEO.

“The name change and new logo are a result of the success of our growth into new markets and the evolution of our rapidly-growing company,” Valente said. “Our business has undergone a significant transformation in the last few years and the new name better reflects how our company is propelling today’s 5G revolution and beyond.”

Valente is a 25-year veteran in the wireless industry with companies such as Centel Cellular, Sprint, and most recently at ExteNet Systems, where he served as EVP & COO.

“Oliver’s appointment is a strategic move by Airtower’s leadership to hyper-scale the business. Oliver and I are in lock-step to ensure our growth and investment forecast exceed our expectations,” said Manny Dureja, founder and president of Airtower Networks.

Ranked in the top 500 fastest growing private companies by Inc. magazine, Airtower has expanded into networks using the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS), which will lower the cost structure for in-building wireless networks. The company was granted a special temporary authorization (STA) two years ago so that it could conduct tests in the 3.5 GHz CBRS band.

Airtower has been trialing several applications for commercial real estate. While it is early days for commercial deployments, Valente said the company wants to be ready when the Priority Access License (PAL) auctions are concluded to support the winners building out their connectivity.

“CBRS will make it more affordable to wirelessly enable a space, whether you are carrier that won a PAL at auction or a landlord that wants to use a GAA [General Authorized Access] license,” Valente said. “We think the GAA licenses are equally compelling for landlords and property managers and could be an even larger buildout opportunity.”

Airtower depends on Ongo, the CBRS Alliance’s LTE equipment product certification program, to provide smartphones, routers, cameras and all sorts of sensors that will work on its 3.5 GHz networks.

“The Ongo ecosystem is important to achieve the connectivity that buildings need,” Valente said. “Having the CBRS Alliance focused on that ecosystem is why we are a member.”

The market for wireless systems to safeguard first responders and the public is also growing as a public safety DAS has become a requirement in most government building to receive their certificate of occupancy. Airtower, when it was known as Wave Wireless, partnered with Comba Telecom to commission the first in-building public safety communication system in Washington, D.C. under the recently updated fire code regulations.

When the carriers stopped expanding their presence in in-building wireless systems, it spawned a new market for wireless infrastructure providers, such as Airtower, which design, build and manage indoor wireless networks and market them directly to the building owner.

“There is a lot of runway in the in-building market. The operators can’t afford to be in every building, but every building owner can’t afford to not have wireless connectivity in their space,” Valente said. “Connectivity gives landlords the competitive advantage they need to get the business of the GenXers and the millennials. Tenants will pay a premium for wireless in the facility and that is a compelling selling point for the landlords.”

Instead of going through the mobile network operators, Airtower goes direct to the building owners and property managers to have networks installed in the facility, everything from cellular, public safety and Wi-Fi to CBRS.

“It helps simplify the initial engagement and reduces pricing barriers as well as the speed the deployment and onboarding of carriers. We have created an interesting portfolio of several hundred buildings, tens of millions of square feet,” Valente said.

Valente said Airtower plans to be ahead of the demand that will be created by 5G and the millions of connections that will be needed indoors in the future, and the CBRS Alliance is facilitating this. The organization announced new technical specifications that incorporate 3GPP’s 5G definitions and standards in the 3.5 GHz band, making OnGo 5G deployments possible, at the end of February.

“Building owners using 5G can receive information from sensors that let them know when people are moving in and out of the building, giving them the knowledge needed to control the temperature, lighting and elevators,” Valente said. “There are all sorts applications that help them run a more efficient building, but the main ingredient is making sure there is adequate connectivity for the tenants’ phones.”

Massive MIMO Market Set to be Become, Well, Massive

By J. Sharpe Smith, Senior Editor, AGL Magazine

Courtesy Comba Telecom

The promise of 5G network performance depends, in part, on the next generation of antenna technology. This includes techniques such as multiplexing antenna arrays at the base station (also referred to as MIMO – multiple-input and multiple-output).

As operators roll out 5G wireless communications networks, the global massive MIMO market will grow from $1.1 billion in 2017 to $19.9 billion in 2025 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 42.4 percent from 2019 to 2026, according to Avatar Data Bridge Market Research.

5G, Massive MIMO Drive RAN Market in Q1

The mobile infrastructure radio access network (RAN) market across China, the United States and Korea had a strong first quarter in 2019, thanks to the a faster-than-expected uptake of massive MIMO and 5G new radio (NR) that began in the second half of 2018, according to a recently published report from Dell’Oro Group. Massive MIMO transceiver shipments are expected to eclipse 20 million in 2019.

“It is worth noting that 5G NR massive MIMO shipments developed at a faster pace than expected in the quarter while the price points for these 5G NR massive MIMO systems are trending at lower levels than we had initially projected,” Stefan Pongratz, a senior director with the Dell’Oro Group, said.

Massive MIMO Picks up Where MIMO Leaves Off

Although Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology accessed 4X2 and more recently 4X4 and even 8X8 passive MIMO antennas, the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) 5G standard calls for the use of massive MIMO beginning at 32X32.

“MIMO allows faster data rates, multiplexing more information from a single user or increasing the number of users to simultaneously access an antenna,” said Dr. David Kokotoff, senior sales engineer and product line manager for Kathrein USA. “Already, 64X64 MIMO is possible. There is no end in sight in terms of the number of transmit and receive modules.”

Massive MIMO and MIMO are similar, except MIMO has beamforming along the azimuth, and beamforming occurs on both along the azimuth and at elevation with massive MIMO. “The spot beam can be placed in an area focused around a user, which improves the signal-to-noise ratio, higher modulation schemes, lower power, faster throughput,” Kokotoff said. “With MIMO, you cannot get that same focus on the beam.”

Antenna manufacturers stand ready to fill the need, as does Kathrein USA, which offers base stations with four to 12 antenna ports. The additional ports allow the antenna to be used with multiple radios and then configured as either for MIMO or massive MIMO communications.

“Supporting multiple bands in a small-volume base station while achieving the desired performance is no small feat, especially when proper isolation must be maintained,” Kokotoff said. “Rigorous passive intermodulation (PIM) interference testing and high-quality compatible component selection also become important to ensure consistent antenna performance in the complex urban RF environments where small cells are most needed.”

CommScope now offers base stations with from four-port and 30-port antennas. In 2018, CommScope collaborated with Nokia to develop a massive MIMO integrated antenna solution: an antenna that provides a 16 transmit 16 receive functionality for two different frequency bands, which is sent to the OEM for integration radios.

Sprint became the first U.S. operator to demonstrate massive MIMO for TD-LTE spectrum using the Nokia Airscale massive MIMO adaptive antenna, 64X64, with 3-D beamforming for both the downlink and uplink on an existing LTE frequency band.

In Chicago, earlier this month, Sprint rolled out a network using 64X64 5G massive MIMO radios from Samsung Networks. The radios enable Sprint to simultaneously deliver LTE Advanced and 5G NR service on its 2.5 GHz mid-band spectrum, and they are deployed on Sprint’s existing 4G cell sites, providing a nearly identical footprint for both 2.5 GHz LTE and 5G NR coverage.

At the Mobile World Congress in Shanghai, China, last month, Nokia announced that China Mobile will adopt the AirScale mMIMO Adaptive Antenna, which uses 64X64 combined to deliver 320 watts of output power.


Wi-Fi 6 Gets a Boost From MU-MIMO

Multi-user (MU)-MIMO is also set to have a big effect on the Wi-Fi world. With eight transmit and eight receive antennas, it provides the biggest benefit to total system throughput and capacity in Wi-Fi 6 networks, compared with other features, such as orthogonal frequency-division multiple access (OFDMA), according to a Strategy Analytics RF & Wireless Components report.

The report, “The Ultimate Wi-Fi Access Point: Which Wi-Fi 6 Features Define the New Premium Tier?” describes the increase in capacity made possible with 8X8 MU-MIMO.