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.
June 25, 2015 — Radio network ownership is diverging into three separate categories: carrier-owned macrocells, third-party DAS providers and enterprises. Even as ownership diversifies, DAS and small cell solutions are consolidating and that is seen especially in the enterprise market, Boris Golubovic, director, product management, TE Connectivity, told AGL Small Cell Link.
It was that third network ownership segment, enterprises, that received a lot of attention at the DAS & Small Cells Congress, held in June in New Orleans. Golubovic spoke on the panel “Comparing DAS and Small Cells – Evaluating Strengths and Capabilities to Determine Which Best Meets Your Needs.”
Because of convergence in the industry, terms such as “DAS” and “small cell” are just confusing the issue, Golubovic said. A small cell may drive an indoor active DAS, and a multi-operator outdoor active DAS may be driven by a small cell, a baseband unit (BBU) or a Common Public Radio Interface (CPRI)-based baseband unit (BBU).
“We should concentrate on the application and the problem that we are solving and come up with new descriptive words,” he said. “These systems have evolved over time. Usually they were classic DAS systems, but today we refer to them as DiSC systems, distributed small cell.”
For a company to purchase an in-building wireless system, the enterprise wireless solution must be easy to install, requiring electricians or the company’s computer IT personnel, in order to make them cost-effective for the enterprise.
“It should be a plug-and-play system,” Golubovic said. “It is about getting a package to a customer in an enterprise, doing an easy cable pull and quickly connecting it to a small cell to get coverage.”
What’s needed is a low-cost solution for delivering wireless coverage within a small to moderately sized facility, he said.
“Operators need to become comfortable with providing an affordable RF source to the installer community, so it can be installed on the operator’s behalf without significant supervision or approval on a case-by-case basis,”Golubovic said. “The base station is really the most costly part of the system.”
The first telephone central office was installed in New York State in 1878, and a little less than 100 years later, in 1973, the first call was made over a cell phone. Now, in 2015, wireless technology is being brought into central offices. Heretofore, central offices were sort of the inner sanctums of the wireline side of the business, representing the traditional established world of telephony versus the upstart cowboys of the wireless industry.
Wireless base station hotels taking root in wireline central offices is symbolic of the growing importance of wireless and the increasingly symbiotic relationship between the wireline and the wireless sides of telecom companies.
“We have seen a change in the power structure at the carriers in the last year,” Mark Kerschner, senior wireless product manager, TE Connectivity, told AGL Media Group in a telephone interview. “The wireless side is taking over the management roles that were typically held by the wireline side. The two groups, wireline and wireless, which were previously siloed, are looking for ways to work together and gain efficiencies from that.”
One way of creating efficiencies is to use cloud RAN to distribute wireless capacity to the network through base station hotels in central offices.
“Carriers have been asking about how to merge wireless and wireline together and take advantage of the synergies between the two groups,” Kerschner said. “People have talked about it for the last two years but now we are seeing actual deployments into the central office.”
Collocation in the central office brings with it real estate efficiencies for the wireless operator, including access to fiber optics, power, HVAC and technical support. DAS networks have the ability to tie into existing fiber to the home and fiber to the curb networks to leverage spare pairs of fiber in those networks.
“The ability to have one location to go to is huge from an operational standpoint,” Kerschner said. “It is natural to have one connection that does not require additional build out in the field, trenching fiber or hanging aerial strands.”
TE Connectivity Receives NEBS Level 3 Certification for FlexWave DAS Host Units
So how does DAS equipment qualify to be deployed in the highly standardized central office? TE Connectivity submitted its FlexWave digital DAS Host Unit for 45-days of testing and achieved Network Equipment-Building System (NEBS) Level 3 compliance, which means it meets all telecom carrier standards for network equipment in central offices.
NEBS Level 3 is a set of carrier-class standards developed by Telcordia Technologies to standardize central office equipment around a strict set of requirements for fire suppression, thermal margin testing, vibration resistance, airflow patterns, acoustic limits, failover, RF emissions and tolerance.
The NEBS Level 3-compliant FlexWave host units can now be used for cloud RAN architecture and utilize existing wireline infrastructure to provide wireless access. Deploying FlexWave host units within the service provider’s central office enables access to existing dark fiber and muxponder solutions such as CWDM for digitized RF transport.
“We aim to lead the world in cloud RAN architecture, and this certification goes a long way toward making our FlexWave host standard equipment in central offices,” said Peter Wraight, vice president and general manager of TE Wireless.
TE Connectivity has a backlog of projects waiting to get into central offices, and it will ship product within a month.
April 8, 2015 — Since it was announced at the Mobile World Congress a little more than a year ago, TE Connectivity’s CPRI Digital Interface Unit (CDIU) has been deployed in several types of venues from sporting to hospitality, mostly as upgrades to existing TE Connectivity RF-fed systems.
The first deployment was at Mizzou Arena, home of the University of Missouri Tigers, which was already using a Flexwave digital DAS. The second deployment was an upgrade of the DAS at Paul Brown Stadium where the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals play football. There were a couple of high-rise DAS upgrades in New York, including the Grand Hyatt Hotel. Additionally, a greenfield deployment was performed at Washington State University’s football stadium.
“It has been deployed commercially within a number of different venues with different carriers – all successfully,” John Spindler, director of product management, TE Connectivity, told AGL Small Cell Link. “These deployments proved that CPRI can be used in a large public venue with high user density, as well as an enterprise-type type of hotel environment.”
To upgrade an existing TE Connectivity DAS, all the remote radio heads and the accompanying attenuation panels are removed so the baseband signal goes directly into the Flexwave host unit. Digital RF cards in the host unit also need to be replaced with CDIU cards.
As a result, a DAS using a CPRI interface system features a substantial decrease in equipment costs and a considerable reduction in operation expenses over time. Additional cost savings come from less power use for equipment consumption and cooling, less building space and fiber use.
DAS, which is known for being more expensive than small cell solutions, may see an increase in potential target market, because of the cost savings made possible by CPRI.
“A lot of the major, high-end sporting venues have been built out, but there may be greenfield sites that did not come together in terms of dollars and cents using an RF feed that it will be more attractive with a CPRI feed,” Spindler said. “Older buildings that simply did not have enough space for RF-fed headend equipment may also see and opportunity with CPRI-fed DAS.”
The cost and performance features of a CPRI-fed DAS also make for a compelling case for upgrading existing DAS, as well, according to Spindler.
“Use of a CPRI interface allows for better uplink sensitivity and fewer sources of possible PIM versus a traditional RF- fed DAS,” he said. “We expect to see a significant ramp up of those types of deployments through the balance of the year.”
The CPRI digital interface unit from TE Connectivity allows mobile operators to reduce the time, materials and power required to connect customers in high-capacity locations, such as sports stadiums, train stations and business parks. The unit is designed to deliver the first-of-its-kind, common-digital interface between the baseband unit (BBU) and the TE FlexWave digital DAS. DAS networks deliver enhanced coverage and capacity to subscribers in high-traffic locations, but still require a connection to the macro network through base stations requiring redundant RF processing and attenuation panels that need cooling and take up a lot of space. By creating and pre-integrating the first direct-baseband unit connection between BBU and the TE FlexWave DAS, the CPRI interface unit removes the need for additional RF processing and attenuation. At the BBU interface, physical equipment is reduced by greater than 50 percent and cost of materials by 40 percent. As well as saving costs, this combined solution will also save operators power (equipment consumption and cooling), space, and fiber utilization, resulting in operational improvements and meeting sustainability demands. www.te.com/cpri