CommScope is supplying the equipment and providing on-site technical engineering support to modernize the wireless and wired communications for visitors to Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina, home of the NFL’s Carolina Panthers.
To upgrade the wireless network at Bank of America Stadium, the Panthers hired Beam Wireless, Inc., a DAS and small cell consultant, to provide technical services and equipment selection guidance. The Panthers and Beam Wireless selected CommScope’s ION-U® distributed antenna system (DAS) to enable fans to upload photos and videos, text and make calls, and enjoy other mobile applications despite the high concentration of wireless users during football games and other events. The Panthers were able to deploy the DAS in less than 90 days from start to finish, and three wireless operators are now on-air throughout the stadium.
The ION-U greatly reduces DAS complexity while maximizing performance and making owning and operating the system simpler and more economical. For example, the ION-U enables network engineers to adjust power levels all the way down to individual frequency bands, allowing for more targeted network optimization. To take up less valuable real estate, the ION-U incorporates an Intelligent Point of Interface (i-POI) that decreases the amount of space needed at the headend. An ultra-versatile DAS, the ION-U supports multiple operators, frequency bands and air interface technologies in one unified, low and high power system.
In addition to the wireless network elements, CommScope is supplying high performance copper and fiber network infrastructure to help the Panthers deliver an integrated, engaging experience to fans, while supporting stadium operations. CommScope is supplying an Optical LAN (Local Area Network) Solution for a passive optical network in the stadium suites and high performance structured cable/connectivity elsewhere. This integrated infrastructure enables applications such as high-bandwidth data, voice, VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) and WiFi services; high-definition TV and hospitality services for the suites; and broadband video.
Qypsys, a nationwide system integrator specializing in DAS and passive optical LAN, led the installation of the Optical LAN.
“The Panthers’ took a leading role in designing and driving these major network upgrades at Bank of America Stadium, highlighting a trend we are seeing at stadiums throughout the U.S. and Europe,” said Ben Cardwell, senior vice president, CommScope Mobility Solutions. “Ensuring a premiere fan experience, speeding the deployment process and making upgrades and optimization easier are some of the benefits of venues taking greater control of their networks.”
December 10, 2015 — Verizon Wireless has tested and approved CommScope’s ION-E DAS for use on its network. It is the first U.S. carrier to approve the product in laboratory testing, which is necessary for a carrier to begin using it as a part of its network. Two other U.S. carriers are in various stages of testing the technology and the remaining carrier doesn’t typically test equipment. Verizon will go live with ION-E deployments before the end of the year.
The development of the ION-E was announced 18 months ago and it was launched by third-party service providers earlier this year.
The purpose of the ION-E is to increase penetration into the Enterprise market. Deployment costs of DAS are too high to market the DAS to the majority of the enterprise market, according to Morgan Kurk, CommScope chief technology officer. Half of the cost of a typical DAS is gobbled up by installation.
“The skillset to deploy these multi-operator, multi-technology DAS systems is a challenge. It has to be made less complicated to lower the cost of deployment,” Kurk said. “We have tried to reduce the installation and design down to what it takes to do Wi-Fi.”
The ION-E is designed to be a simplified solution that can be deployed by IT professionals not necessarily RF technicians. Implementation of ION-E is simplified by using the structured cabling systems, single and multimode fiber and 10 Gigabit Ethernet, which are familiar to IT installers.
The enterprise market for indoor wireless coverage totals a whopping 30 billion square feet of office space, and only 2 percent is currently covered, according to Kurk. Class A real estate, used by Fortune 500 companies, is the immediate target market. CommScope hopes a new economic model can be developed that will drive DAS into use by enterprises.
Not All on Board With IBW
Even as CommScope and others take aim at the Enterprise in-building DAS market and 80 percent of all data sessions originate or terminate indoors, a new study shows that not all in the real estate community appear to be clued into the importance of in-building wireless.
The study, commissioned by CommScope and carried out by Coleman Parkes, showed that 48 percent of architects globally plan and design buildings to accommodate dedicated in-building cellular networks.
The research, which studied the views of building managers, facilities managers, real estate managers and architects, discovered differing opinions across industry sectors when assessing the importance of connecting people inside buildings.
For example, 70 percent of respondents in retail, a sector that relies on mobile as part of its commerce strategy, always consider indoor wireless as part of their building projects. Less consideration was given in sectors without as much reliance on mobile, such as banking and insurance (58 percent), and energy and utilities (50 percent).
CommScope’s Metro Cell line of antennas, mounts and enclosures is designed for minimal visual impact and maximum network performance. Built to easily accommodate all on-site equipment, the line includes an aesthetically pleasing radome shield that can be painted to match its surroundings, a variety of poles and concealment options suited for an urban environment and a form-factor less than one meter in length. The antennas support one to three sectors. They have quasi-omnidirectional or specific patterns and down-tilt and upper sidelobe suppression to maximize performance. www.commscope.com
August 28, 2015 — The ink has dried on CommScope Holding Company’s purchase TE Connectivity’s telecom, enterprise and wireless businesses in a a $3 billion all-cash deal.
“[The transaction] will enable us to accelerate industry innovation, solve more wired and wireless challenges with an enhanced fiber portfolio, and better serve global customers in more markets around the world,” Rick Aspan, CommScope spokesman said.
The new CommScope has 25,000 employees, with a presence in all major geographic regions. It will provide indoor and outdoor wireless networks; data centers and central offices; connected and efficient buildings; and access and backhaul networks. For the near term, the newly-acquired TE Connectivity Broadband Network Solutions businesses will be operated as one of CommScope’s business segments, alongside of existing CommScope’s wireless, enterprise and broadband segments.
“One of the most significant benefits of the BNS acquisition for existing CommScope wireless customers is our newly enhanced fiber backhaul portfolio, which will provide access to industry-leading fiber connectivity,” Aspan said. “As customers consider microwave or fiber backhaul, CommScope will have the right solutions and expertise to support their needs.”
Commscope expects to realize $150 million in savings across all areas of the company by 2018 as the two concerns are integrated. The company now boasts ownership of 9,800 patents, an R&D budget of more than $200 million annually and additional DAS products.
“Our customers also will have access to an expanded portfolio of DAS and cell site services, including digital DAS solutions,” Aspan said.
The expanded UltraBand ultra-wideband, outdoor macrosite antenna portfolio from CommScope helps wireless operators deploy LTE now and be prepared for future spectrum and technology roll outs. The antenna portfolio is intended to increase the flexibility of operators to support present and future multiple frequency bands with potentially only one antenna per sector. The product prepares operators for future spectrum and technology while supporting legacy 2G and 3G networks. The portfolio includes more models of the Argus UltraBand base station antenna system, including the version with an internal smart bias tee that received the Network Product Guide’s 2013 Gold Award for innovation. The expanded antenna portfolio helps to increase an operator’s ability to support a variety of site configurations with multiple port options and independent beam optimization. The antennas are engineered for PIM suppression and support air-interface technologies including GSM, CDMA, W-CDMA and LTE in almost all frequency bands. www.commscope.com