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.
CommScope is entering the fixed wireless access market with the introduction of an integrated antenna solution based on xRAN open interface specifications. The open interface allows wireless operators to mix and match radio access network (RAN) hardware from multiple vendors to varying requirements.
The company will highlight the technologies at Mobile World Congress 2018, February 26-March 1, in Barcelona, Spain. The integrated 5G radio/antenna solution will be available for trials in mid-2018.
“Our integrated antenna will enable the full capabilities of 5G millimeter-wave spectrum bands while offering maximum flexibility in an evolving air-interface environment,” said Farid Firouzbakht, senior vice president, RF Products, CommScope. “As a contributing member to the xRAN organization, we endorse the benefits of an open baseband interface for enabling more innovation in the wireless marketplace.”
CommScope’s 5G radio/antenna solution supports millimeter-wave spectrum and works on a completely virtualized baseband with an open interface. This solution integrates a beamforming active antenna array operating at 28 GHz and will be available for trial with a third-party baseband platform to create a 5G access network.
Fixed wireless access is a method for delivering broadband internet access, voice and video services to homes or businesses without a wired connection and is one of the first 5G use cases. With CommScope’s new solution, wireless operators can use commercial off-the-shelf servers to trial virtualized network functions for fixed wireless access applications.
The CommScope solution includes:
A base station antenna with full 120-degree beam-steering of four independent MIMO (multiple input/multiple output) ports, using a 256-element antenna array. An integrated remote radio unit with an effective isotropic radiated power (EIRP) in a compact enclosure of less than 10 liters volume, passively cooled and optimized to fit within concealment solutions.
CommScope has filed a patent infringement suit against Cobham in the District Court of Berlin related to digital distributed antenna system (DAS) technology.
This action follows a Court-ordered inspection of Cobham’s Intelligent Digital DAS (idDAS™) installed along Berlin’s famous Fan Mile. Based on the information discovered during the inspection proceeding, a Court-appointed independent expert concluded that Cobham’s idDAS system does in fact infringe the German national parts of two CommScope patents, EP1269776B1 and EP2094058B1.
“CommScope is pleased with the determination of the independent expert,” said Matt Melester, senior vice president and segment leader, distributed coverage and capacity solutions, CommScope. “CommScope invests heavily in innovations to satisfy market demands for cellular communications, and we will continue to protect our investments by enforcing intellectual property rights.”
In 2016, CommScope filed suit against Dali Wireless for patent infringement related to digital RF transport intellectual property. Earlier this year, CommScope signed an agreement with Kathrein AG to license CommScope’s complete DAS patent portfolio.