Earlier this month, companies and vendors from across the wireless industry came together at Verizon’s facility in Irving, Texas to test 4G LTE technology over the CBRS (Citizen Band Radio Spectrum) spectrum. After the successful initial trials last year, Corning, Ericsson, Federated Wireless, Google, Nokia and Qualcomm Technologies are all collaborating in end-to-end system testing.
The CBRS band is made up of 150 MHz of 3.5 GHz shared spectrum, which until now has been primarily used by the federal government for radar systems. The FCC authorized shared use of the spectrum with wireless small cells in 2016. By using LTE Advanced technology, carrier aggregation and the spectrum access system (SAS), Verizon will be able to use this shared spectrum to add capacity to its network.
The end-to-end system tests are designed to accomplish several goals on the path to widespread commercial deployment:
Corning provided a SpiderCloud Enterprise RAN composed of a Services Node and SCRN-330 Radio Nodes. Ericsson’s Radio System solution is comprised of 4×4 MIMO, 4x20MHz Carrier Aggregation, including CBRS spectrum delivered over infrastructure aggregating Ericsson’s outdoor micro base station (Radio 2208 units) with the indoor B48 Radio Dot System in the same baseband (5216 units). Nokia provided FlexiZone Multiband Indoor BTS, FlexiZone Multiband Outdoor BTS and FlexiZone Controller.
In addition, participants in this ecosystem have set up private LTE sites which are using CBRS spectrum. Private LTE networks are being engineered to meet the needs of enterprise customers who want greater control over their LTE solutions including private on-site servers, control over access to their designated LTE network, as well as increased throughput and reduced latency through dedicated backhaul.
The end-to-end system testing, which began in February and will continue over the next several weeks, has provided actionable insights and have significantly advanced CBRS spectrum deployment feasibility.
“The promise of the CBRS band and enabling the use of wider swaths of spectrum will make a big impact on carrying wireless data in the future. These trials are critical to stress test the full system,” said Bill Stone, VP technology development and planning for Verizon. “There are many players in the CBRS ecosystem and these successful trials ensure all the various parts perform together as an end-to-end system for our customers’ benefit. We want to ensure devices efficiently use CBRS spectrum and that the new components effectively interact with the rest of the network.”
At the conclusion of this testing, equipment will be submitted for certification through the FCC. Following that deployment can then begin. Both commercial deployment of LTE on CBRS spectrum and devices that can access the CBRS spectrum are expected to begin in 2018.
CommScope, Ericsson Complete SAS Interoperability Testing for CBRS
To help ensure their readiness for commercial deployment in the CBRS wireless spectrum, CommScope and Ericsson have successfully completed interoperability testing of their equipment. The testing is one of the first successful interoperability tests using the Wireless Innovation Forum’s release 1.2 specifications.
“CommScope’s team of architects, developers and engineers have been building an industry-leading SAS for nearly two years,” said Tom Gravely, vice president of research and development, Network Solutions, CommScope. “Completion of interoperability testing with a major radio equipment provider such as Ericsson validates our SAS design and readies us for commercial deployment.”
The interoperability test confirmed that CommScope’s Spectrum Access System (SAS) and Ericsson’s radio infrastructure with CBRS spectrum support will work together as part of a CBRS network. The rigorous SAS–Citizens Broadband Radio Service Device (CBSD) interoperability testing used a battery of scenarios to verify that both products meet governmental requirements and industry protocols, as well as CommScope’s and Ericsson’s respective quality standards.
“Ericsson offers a comprehensive portfolio of CBRS network solutions that will help operators of all sizes deploy in this spectrum quickly and successfully,” said Paul Challoner, vice president of Network Product Solutions, Ericsson. “Additional milestones need to be reached for CBRS to become a reality, but we are pleased to complete interoperability testing with CommScope as part of the developmental process.”
In a CBRS network, a SAS and CBSD work together to ensure that the appropriate wireless signals are transmitted and received between the core network and end-user devices, while managing interference. An Environmental Sensing Capability (ESC) works with the SAS to identify the wireless signals of incumbent users to avoid interference from CBSDs. CommScope is one of four ESC operators conditionally approved by the FCC to provide SAS and ESC services.
CommScope has reached an agreement co-owned CCI and CCAI (collectively, CCI) that resolves all litigation between the parties in India and the United States, according to a press release. The litigation relates to advanced base station antenna technologies that enable better performance in wireless networks.
Under the terms of the agreement, CommScope has taken a worldwide license to CCI’s patents concerning asymmetrical twin beam antenna techniques. CCI and its co-owned affiliates have taken worldwide licenses to specific CommScope patents relating to systems for enabling electrical tilt in base station antennas. Both parties recognize the validity, scope and applicability of their relevant patents and fully acknowledge the fundamental principles and techniques underpinning the relevant patents.
CommScope and CCI have made substantial investments in research and development in these areas, and each recognizes the need to protect the patentee’s rights while allowing for appropriate licensing agreements that allow customers to have access to the most up to date technologies at fairly competing sources. This agreement provides freedom of design for their technical teams and should accelerate further research and development while improving their ability to compete in global markets. Further details of the agreement will not be disclosed.
CCI is a network infrastructure innovation company providing mobile operators around the world with cost effective, revenue increasing RF solutions that are rapidly deployable, fit-for-purpose and maximize the use of valuable spectrum and existing network investments.
Long haul microwave links typically use large antennas – anywhere from 6 feet to 12 feet in diameter – which creates some significant issues in link design and installation. The larger the antenna, the greater the wind load on the tower and also the narrower the antenna beam width for a given frequency. This potentially means that towers need to be strengthened and stiffened to allow the antenna to remain aligned or there may be restrictions on where the antenna can be mounted.
New developments in antenna design and technology are leading to increased gain and smaller diameter sizes. Where the ability to install links may be determined by interference rather than simple gain, improved radiation pattern envelopes such as those compliant to ETSI Class 4 can allow smaller antennas to be deployed. Costs can be lower because of basic product costs and from savings in potential tower modifications.
In a world where real estate of all types is becoming more expensive, microwave antennas are no exception. The potential to drop a size bring benefits to operating costs over the lifetime of the link in regards to tower rental costs. Being able to deploy a smaller antenna can lead to savings way beyond the initial purchase price.
One extra positive in using a smaller antenna is happier installation teams. The larger the antenna the more skill, care and attention is need to getting it hoisted up the tower, fitted onto its mounting structure and aligned. The smaller the antenna the easier it is to install. With less time required for assembly, the rigging operation gets done quicker.
Check out CommScope’s next-generation HX and USX long- haul microwave antennas to see what I mean. Both of these antenna families provide considerable improvements in performance over other equivalent products currently being deployed.
Adrian Laidlaw is a product line and OEM sales manager for microwave antenna system solutions at CommScope, based in the UK. He previously served for more than 20 years as an area sales manager for Andrew Corporation after working as a project engineer for Marconi. Adrian has a bachelor of arts degree in business management with honors from the University of Lincoln and a degree in electrical and electronics engineering from Manchester Metropolitan University. Copyright CommScope
A wave of DAS systems for in-building use is making a splash at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, this week, as the wireless industry continues to try to break into the enterprise space. The new products feature all-digital technology and 100-percent fiber optics, as well as virtualization and centralized RANs. The products are also smaller and use less electricity.
Among the OEMs showing off new products are CommScope with its Era all-digital C-RAN antenna system, Zinwave with its UNItivity 5000 DAS solution and JMA Wireless with its XRAN fully-virtualized adaptive baseband software. Additionally, Cobham Wireless has integrated vRAN (virtualized radio access networks) capabilities into its idDAS (intelligent digital DAS).
OEMs are expanding their market from wireless users to include serve the internet of things and smart buildings applications, as well as public safety. But there are many impediments to DAS in the enterprise. One of them being price. The latest wave of DAS equipment is smaller and less expensive. According to Josh Adelson, marketing director, CommScope, DAS is following the same trends occurring in the outdoor wireless space.
“It’s about finding a way to deliver in-building wireless in a way that is consistent with the approach the operators are taking,” Adelson said. “The main technical step forward is allowing the signal source to be located in the operator’s C-RAN rather than in the building.”
DAS OEMs are also taking using virtualization to replicate the features of a proprietary base station in software that is run on a commercially available hardware platform.
CommScope Era is an all-digital C-RAN antenna system that leverages wireless operators’ initiatives to centralize and virtualize baseband radio assets. The centralized headend serves multiple buildings, as well as tapping capacity from existing C-RAN hubs.
“The C-RAN allows an operator to manage a pool of resources within its own facility and allocate them on a dynamic basis, as well as to easily maintain them,” Adelson said. “From the building owner’s point of view, not having the head-end within their facility allows them to lease out the space the headend would have inhabited.”
Era features a new family of access points that are available in a range of power levels, with copper and fiber connectivity and outdoor and plenum ratings, to serve a wide variety of venue types. It supports interleaved MIMO (multiple input/multiple output).
For more information on the Era, CLICK HERE
Zinwave has enhanced the energy efficiency of the UNItivity solutions’ hardware. Depending on the scope and complexity of the DAS configuration, an enterprise may see up to 17 percent energy savings.
Another update to UNItivity 5000 is the redesign of the secondary hub that adds 80 percent space savings in the IT closet. The streamlined design also integrates the power supply unit into the hub itself, which aids IT staff in procuring an external power supply while providing additional space savings.
“We are driving toward simplicity, improving aesthetics, lower total cost of ownership,” said Slavko Djukic, Zinwave Chief Technology Officer. “When you look at the total cost of ownership model including power usage and space usage, we believe we have made some significant improvements.”
For more information about the UNItivity 5000, CLICK HERE
JMA Wireless has virtualized 100 percent of its RAN with software with the XRAN Adaptive Baseband, which provides all of the RAN functions necessary for LTE mobile and IoT connectivity.
“Full virtualization of the entire stack has been elusive due to the complexity of the technology,” said Joe Madden, president of Mobile Experts. “XRAN has delivered full virtualization and gives operators a more flexible, low-cost platform they can control. This opens the door for MNOs and enterprises – providing an opportunity for enterprises to invest in solutions to provide coverage for their venues.”
The XRAN software platform integrates with the TEKO RF Distribution platform via high capacity digital fiber connectivity, eliminating layers of analog equipment and cabling and reducing the footprint, power and cooling requirements.
“Cost, simplicity, footprint, power, and cooling changes dramatically with XRAN,” said Todd Landry, VP of product and market strategy at JMA Wireless. “XRAN is designed from its inception to close the gap between rapidly growing in-building mobile connectivity demands and today’s complex, proprietary hardware solutions unable to evolve and adapt for multi-operator services.”
For more information about XRAN, CLICK HERE
Cobham Wireless as designed the next generation of the intelligent digital DAS (idDAS) with a direct connection to the network core and virtualized capabilities. The latest idDAS supports both C-RAN architectures and vRAN architectures, replacing baseband units with commercial off-the-shelf technology and virtualized software.
“Operators are facing a capacity challenge, and with more people using high-bandwidth services and the number of IoT applications growing, this will only increase,” said Rami Hasarchi, VP Coverage, Cobham Wireless. “Virtualising the RAN for in-building coverage offers the ideal solution to this problem, maximizing spectrum efficiency and end-user experience, while vastly reducing running costs.”
For more information about the idDAS CLICKE HERE
At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona later this month, CommScope will be introducing a full line of 4x4MIMO (4T4R multiple input/multiple output) antenna models that combine multiple data streams with additional spectrum bands, such as 600 MHz, 700 MHz, 1400 MHz (Europe), to assist operators with the gig speeds needed for 4G as well as path to increased data speeds expected for 5G.
CommScope is also bringing 4x4MIMO to its small cell antenna line high gain, small cell antenna line in the 1.7–2.7 GHz and 3.5 GHz bands, plus 2x2MIMO support in the 5 GHz band. With this antenna, operators can use carrier aggregation for License Assisted Access (LAA) to combine unlicensed bands with licensed bands to reach gigabit speeds at small cell sites. This antenna will also help operators be ready for Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS).
CommScope introduced its first 4x4MIMO, ultra-wideband antenna for the 1400 MHz–2700 MHz range in late 2017 and has released an extensive antenna portfolio for FirstNet operating in the 700 MHz band. The company continues to add antennas to its portfolio that support different frequency band combinations in 4-, 8- and 12-port configurations, with 4x4MIMO support on both low and high bands.
The industry, which has evolved from 2X2MIMO to 4X2MIMO, has now fully embraced 4X4MIMO antennas, which support advanced modulation and carrier aggregation of unlicensed frequency bands.
To support the different frequency band frequency of the carriers, a comprehensive line of antennas is needed. At the current time, CommScope has 20 4XMIMO antennas and it will continue to grow.
“The reason we have such as large portfolio is depending on which operator you are talking to, they use different frequency bands,” said Farid Firouzbakht, senior vice president, RF Products, CommScope. “We talk with the operators about their frequency use to find out which of the frequency bands are suitable to put under one radome for an off the shelf product. In other cases, such as FirstNet, we will do a customized design based on a particular need.”
In the future, as spectrum moves up to the higher bands for 5G, antennas will evolve to support 8xMIMO data streams and Massive MIMO configurations of 64 or more antenna array elements.
Huawei to Launch Massive MIMO AAUs at MWC
Huawei will also take the opportunity of the Mobile World Congress to launch a full series of Massive MIMO active antenna units (AAU). The 4G network products are designed to be 5G ready to be used for the next 10 years.
The AAU is a 3D-MIMO product with ultra-large capacity, which provides 200 MHz bandwidth capability. This AAU can achieve a peak rate of 10 Gbps per cell, meeting the large-capacity service demands in the future.
In 2016, Huawei worked with SoftBank to test TDD Massive MIMO and multi-carrier aggregation using the 40 MHz bandwidth on the 3.5 GHz band, achieving a downlink throughput of more than 1 Gbps.
Lab Demo Achieves 2 Gbps Speeds with 4X4 MIMO
4X4MIMO will also figure prominently in a demonstration, involving Telstra, Ericsson, NETGEAR and Qualcomm Technologies, at the Mobile World Congress. The technology recently hit 4G speeds of 2 Gbps in lab demonstration, which used Ericsson’s Baseband 6630, Radio 4415 and Gigabit LTE network software.
Five 20 MHz LTE carriers were aggregated across three different frequency bands with each carrier using 4×4 MIMO and 256 QAM technologies. Bands 1, 3 and 7 were aggregated using a NETGEAR Nighthawk mobile router equipped with Qualcomm Snapdragon X24 LTE modem, a Category 20 LTE modem.
Ericsson, Telstra, Qualcomm Technologies and NETGEAR demonstrated 1 Gbps speeds in November 2015 and the first commercial Gigabit LTE network launch in January 2017.