CommScope will begin the new year and the new decade reorganized into four segments—Venue and Campus Networks; Broadband Networks; Outdoor Wireless Networks and Home Networks — aligned with what it believes will be the primary growth opportunities for networks in the future.
The change will position the company to take advantage of some of the fastest growing markets, including hyperscale, multi-tenant and cloud data centers; macro and metro layer cellular networks; in-home networks; and professional services.
The reorganization was informed by the acquisition of Arris, which operated in the core-to-edge network solutions space. But CommScope’s reasoning behind the reorganization is really to take advantage of the convergence of the wireless and wireline worlds.
“What were disparate networks are now converged,” said Matt Melester, senior vice president, CommScope Technology Strategy. “RAN solutions are beginning to look more like data centers. The same thing is happening in the cable industry. The same thing they are doing on the RAN side is being done on the DOCSIS [Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification] side, in terms of virtualization and splitting the stack.”
Prior to the Arris acquisition, CommScope was divided into CommScope Connectivity Solutions (CCS) and CommScope Mobility Solutions (CMS). After the close of the acquisition, the company added three segments – Customer Premise Equipment, Network and Cloud and Ruckus.
“Previously, we were aligned somewhat by products and somewhat by customers,” Melester said. “We are now trying to align more on markets, because the customers change. For example, we used to sell 90 percent of our DAS and small cell systems to carriers, but now we selling more and more to enterprises.”
CommScope now has a view of the overall communications network from the cloud to the core to the consumer. “We are playing in all those spaces. We wanted to learn the entire network, not just a piece of it,” Melester said.
With that overview, CommScope will be looking for solutions in trends that cut across multiple segments of telecommunications, such as virtualization, cloud, machine learning and analytics.
“Our machine learning analytics framework will be same across all segments, but there will be the ability to differentiate for different business segments. It will be an open source community within CommScope,” Melester said. “Equipment and capabilities can be leverage across different disciplines. What CommScope has to leverage is the visibility of these trends across different business units. Take good ideas in one space and move them to another space.”
The combination of CommScope and ARRIS, which was announced in November 2018 and completed in April 2019, created a massive company with $11.3 billion in revenue. The next step is to create a nimble company to take advantage of the synergies.
“The organization of the company can either impede or facilitate innovation. We don’t want one division to have to learn something that another group has already learned,” Melester said. “Through the CTO’s office we are building cross-segment teams to work on a common goal. That might be a common platform or common framework. Hopefully breaking down silos to work on technology will get us faster to market.”
CommScope’s Ruckus CBRS portfolio and Attabotics’ 3D robotic supply chain automation system were demonstrated as part of Microsoft Azure capabilities for private LTE networks during Microsoft Ignite, the Microsoft annual gathering of technology leaders. held Nov. 4-8, 2019 in Orlando, Florida.
Ross Ortega, partner PM, Azure Networking said, “The Microsoft Azure-based private LTE solution builds on decades of Microsoft enterprise success stories. In collaborating with CommScope and Metaswitch, we see opportunity to enable IoT applications and take advantage of the security, latency and bitrates provided by private LTE networks for our mutual customers.”
CommScope’s Ruckus Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) portfolio enables enterprises to easily deploy private LTE networks to support innovative Internet of Things (IoT) applications using wireless spectrum recently made available by the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Designed with enterprise IT operations in mind, this new portfolio greatly simplifies the management and deployment of a cellular network. Now, enterprise IT administrators have a new wireless tool that can be leveraged for a wide variety of applications that were not previously possible.
“We are proud that the Ruckus CBRS LTE portfolio was part of this innovative Microsoft demo at Ignite 2019,” said Joel Lindholm, vice president of CBRS Business at CommScope. “Using the end to end encryption of the LTE network, enterprise customers can feel comfortable with the secure nature of this new network. This demonstration highlights how private networks can be used by enterprise customers for automated applications such as Attabotics.”
The Ruckus CBRS portfolio uses separate dedicated spectrum from licensed cellular and Wi-Fi, thus providing cellular-like reliability, mobility, security and quality of service, but with the simplicity of Wi-Fi. Integration of the Ruckus CBRS portfolio with Microsoft Azure’s networking and edge connectivity solutions will enable enterprises to successfully address challenging and critical use cases with dedicated, secure, ultra-high-quality private LTE networks
State and local building authorities are increasingly mandating public safety wireless systems for new and even existing commercial structures. To ensure that emergency responders have continuous communication, these systems must meet strict criteria for continuous operation during fires, floods and other emergencies. However, as non-commercial systems they provide no direct return on investment, therefore building owners seek simple and cost-effective solutions.
The CommScope bi-directional amplifier has been designed to meet this need. As a repeater-based solution, it takes signals over the air and thus requires a minimal footprint within the building. It comes in a range of frequency band and power options, supports battery backup, and is fully compliant with relevant National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) standards. It is software upgradeable.
TESSCO Technologies secured the entire first year production capacity for CommScope’s public safety product, a bi-directional amplifier that addresses a key need for reliable, cost-effective public safety wireless systems.
Tessco, as a distributor of wireless infrastructure products, provides public safety solutions consisting of the bi-directional amplifier, cabling, antennas and other components through a network of value-added resellers.
“Tessco has been engaged with us over the last two years to bring this product to market. This, combined with Tessco’s commitment to the public safety market, will help meet the growing need for reliable, cost-effective public safety wireless systems,” said Michael Shumate, vice president of distributed coverage and capacity systems for CommScope’s Mobility Solutions.
Tessco is now accepting orders with expected shipping in late Q4 or early in the first quarter of 2020.
Dali Wireless has filed a lawsuit against CommScope Technologies, alleging infringement of U.S. Patents and asking for an injunction to stop manufacturing, sale and distribution of CommScope OneCell and ION-E products.
Dali’s patents disclose and claim software defined radio systems that are building blocks for 4G/5G era in-building wireless networks. In its complaint, Dali alleges that CommScope incorporated Dali’s patents into its OneCell and ION-E products. Dali has petitioned the court for monetary damages and an injunction preventing CommScope from making, using, or selling its OneCell and ION-E products.
This lawsuit against CommScope is in addition to Dali’s lawsuit, where it claimed infringement of patents for power amplifier systems and methods of operation and software-configurable DAS and efficient baseband predistortion linearization systems. The case was dismissed after Texas Instruments took a license to the patent.
A CommScope spokesperson emailed this response to the story, “CommScope does not comment on pending litigation, and in that regard, I should note that CommScope has a pending patent infringement action against Dali in the Northern District of Texas (case no. 3:16-cv-477).”
CommScope is collaborating with Nokia to develop passive-active antenna solutions which enable operators around the world to optimize tower space usage, increase cell site capacity and lay the groundwork for a 5G ready future.
As operators seek ways to keep up with intense subscriber demand for mobile broadband, they must add capacity to existing radio technology layers. In many cases, as 5G roll-out momentum builds, 5G massive MIMO antennas capable of 3.5 GHz frequency bands may also need to be deployed at the same cell site.
To address this requirement, CommScope and Nokia are developing new passive-active antenna solutions to significantly boost site capacity, while easing deployment considerations. The streamlined design of the passive-active antenna combines the capacity and beamforming benefits of massive MIMO adaptive antenna technology for 5G, as well as high performance antennas for existing radio technologies all within the available, often limited, cell site space.
“The passive-active antenna solutions give operators a strong business case for 5G ready networks, while also increasing the capacity and performance of existing technologies,” said Farid Firouzbakht, senior vice president of RF Solutions, CommScope. “We will continue to build on the momentum with Nokia, developing innovative solutions for operators.”
The passive-active antenna solutions will be released for commercial deployment in 2019. More information can be found at the CommScope stand at Mobile World Congress 2019 in Hall 2, stand 2J30.