The buzz surrounding MIMO has settled down a bit, and sales have not matched the hype surrounding the technology, according Ephraim Ulmer, president and CEO of Galtronics, who spoke to DAS Bulletin at CTIA 2013 in Las Vegas. Whether MIMO is the proper choice depends on the density of the users, the quality of the venue and what the operators are ready to spend, he noted.
“Because of the cost operators are not just automatically deploying MIMO because they might need it in a few years. There is the recognition that a new technology may come out before then,” Ulmer said.
Galtronics’ response has been to expand the number of both SISO and MIMO models in its DAS antenna portfolio. The manufacturer now offers five SISO antennas and has added a full-MIMO omni and a full MIMO directional. “We need to give solutions on the antenna level for all scenarios,” he said.
Operators’ concern over passive intermodulation is having a direct impact on the antenna industry; for any manufacturer to be competitive, they must offer PIM-compliant antennas, Ulmer said.
“If there is a non-PIM-compliant antenna in the system, it could potentially disturb the proper function of the entire system,” he said. “The operators have come to us with the PIM requirement, so our entire portfolio is now PIM compliant.”
Galtronics is also active in the small cell space where it works with OEMs, such as SpiderCloud, to integrate its antennas into their product, in contrast with marketing its antennas directly to carriers and integrators in the DAS market. Ulmer echoed the general industry puzzlement over the definition of small cells.
“No one really knows where the small cell market is going,” he said. “People are trying different areas with different coverages to see how we can optimize the spectrum usage and efficiencies.”