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Tag Archives: wireless infrastructure

High Frequency Power Dividers

Ultra-broadband two-way power dividers up to 50 GHz are available from Pasternack Enterprises. The millimeter wave power dividers (also referred to as RF power splitters) used in fiber optic systems. Configurations of broadband power dividers include two with 2.92mm connectors, one of which is a low VSWR version. Both 2.92mm power dividers are capable of frequencies ranging from 10 GHz to 40 GHz and are rated to 10 watts maximum input power. The third option is a 2.4mm power divider capable of 10 GHz to 50 GHz and also has a power rating of 10 watts. All three, high-frequency power dividers are Wilkinson two-way designs utilizing a compact package that offers low insertion loss and phase stability across their broad operating range. The 40 GHz and 50 GHz power dividers have a maximum insertion loss of 1.5 dB and VSWR of 1.6. These ultra-broadband power dividers have a typical phase balance of 6 degrees and carry a maximum isolation rating of 15 dB. Each of the 2-way RF power dividers are RoHS compliant. www.pasternack.com

Smartphones: the Age of Gigabit Connectivity

By James Carlini, Certified Infrastructure Consultant

James Carlini will be a featured speaker at the AGL Regional Conference, Sept. 19, in Chicago


James Carlini

What good is a Ferrari if you can only drive it on side streets and alleys?  You need to have access to superhighways to really experience its performance and get what it was built for. Speed.

The same holds true with smartphones.  What good is some slick smartphone if you don’t have access to a communications superhighway with gigabit connectivity for instantaneous downloads?

Having lightning-fast speed for network connectivity is the latest status symbol.  More video-based applications that require big bandwidth are coming on-line. People are switching out to smart phones. Even in business, Blackberries are out, smart phones are in.

With 1 Gbps service, you can download something like a ninety-minute movie (which takes up about one gigabyte of storage) in less than ten seconds.  This speed is perfect for those using a lot of video-based applications.

What about wireless networks made up of Wi-Fi and DAS networks?  The next step is to see real gigabit connectivity from a wireless provider to those subscribers with their smart phones.

When Bandwidth is Not an Issue

Some have argued in the past about how gigabit speeds were unnecessary. They have always been proven wrong.  You will always find ways to utilize bandwidth, especially if you are using smart phones today.

Thirty years ago, network speeds for corporate applications were mostly around 2.4 Kbps and 4.8 Kbps. That was all on analog lines as well, not digital services.

“High speed” was considered to be 9.6 Kbps at the time, and the modems were about $7,000 – APIECE!

If you really had money, “new” 56 Kbps digital service was available – but only in certain cities across the United States.  Back in 1981, transmission facilities for corporations and their internal networks were still mostly analog.

Arguments for new applications always ended with, “Well, maybe we could do that but we just don’t have the bandwidth.”  Bandwidth was always the stumbling block that killed many applications before they left the feasibility stage.

When bandwidth is so bountiful that it becomes a non-issue, new applications will grow exponentially and provide very different benefits.  That is why some countries are very astute in upgrading their entire network infrastructure because they have made the strategic discovery that economic development equals broadband connectivity and broadband connectivity equals jobs in today’s global economy.

Having more bandwidth will accelerate the amount of applications that are feasible for customer service, social networking and so many other applications.

There will be an explosion of video-based applications that will be able to work because they will not be constrained by a lack of bandwidth.

You can see some of this explosion now with the increase in usage of smart phones.  As more people get on board with a smart phone, the networks are becoming utilized to a point where some network carriers are trying to stifle usage. Why would a carrier want to ration bandwidth if their networks could handle the increased usage?

It looks like the network carriers have not expanded their networks to handle all of this growth as well as provide high speeds for data transmission. This is not good when everyone is competing for global marketshare and having communications is such a new concept.  Even at sports venues like football stadiums and baseball fields, new Wi-Fi and DAS networks that were initially installed have been re-engineered and expanded to handle the unexpected traffic loads that were not expected in initial design concepts.

Where Networks Should be Headed

This is a time for real renovation and renaissance across the United States.  Chattanooga has set the standard when it comes to where other cities should be in aiming at: one gigabit per second subscriber access to the network.

Since 2012, South Korea has 1 Gbps access for subscribers is also leading the charge for true broadband connectivity (1 Gbps or above).

GOOGLE is working on gigabit networks for several cities here in the United States.  , Austin, Texas, Kansas City, Kansas (and Missouri) and Provo, Utah.  Funny how as soon as they announce they are going to do something, the incumbent phone company (AT&T) announced they are going to upgrade their aging infrastructure (as they did in Austin).

With all of this activity between GOOGLE and some of the incumbent phone companies, the trend is definitely to get to elevate network subscriber access to one gigabit per second.

With new announcements for September coming out of Apple, SONY, and SAMSUNG for their next phones, the network infrastructure has to keep up. The Ferrari of phones demand having Autobahn network access, if you really want to get to utilize their full potential.
Copyright 2013 – James Carlini

Continuously Variable Attenuator

Trilithic has released the CVA Series of continuously variable attenuators available in octave bands over the frequency range of 1 to 18 GHz. The CVA Series is currently available with 0 to 8 dB attenuation range over 1 to 2 GHz and 0 to 20 dB attenuation range over 2 to 4 GHz, 4 to 8 GHz, 8 to 12.4 GHz, and 12.4 to 18 GHz. Trilithic’s CVA attenuators feature a turns-counting dial with locking level. The non-translating dial is not direct reading in dB. Insertion loss of 1 to 2 GHz: 0.5 dB; 2 to 4 GHz: 0.5 dB; 4 to 8 GHz: 0.75 dB; 8 to 12.4 GHz: 0.75 dB; 12.4 to 18 GHz:  0.75 dB. Other features include 50 Ohm impedance, average power: 5 Watts, SMA female connectors, panel mount configuration, and RoHS compliance. rfmicrowave.trilithic.com

Carrier LTE Deployment Ramps in 2Q

During the second quarter earnings calls, LTE deployment was on the lips of several major carriers as they seek to catch up with Verizon Wireless.

T-Mobile US is pushing forward with its LTE upgrade and HSPA+ build out, and it has doubled its MetroPCS brand presence to 15 new markets. The carrier, which launched its LTE network in seven major metropolitan areas in March, lit up 116 Metro areas covering 157 million people with LTE by the end of July, exceeding its midyear goal of 100 million. The company is also still building out its HSPA+ network, which now covers 228 million people on AWS spectrum and 108 million in 1900 band.

“We have hugely accelerated the modernization and upgrading of our network to 4G LTE,” John Legere, president and CEO, told the second quarter earnings call. More than 200 million covered pops are projected to receive LTE by the end of 2013.

Also during the quarter, the carrier purchased of US Cellular’s spectrum covering 32 million POPs in cities such as St. Louis and Kansas City, Mo.; Nashville; Memphis, Tenn.; and New Orleans.

“Our coverage spectrum position is improving. The [US Cellular] spectrum is adjacent to our current holdings which provide key network efficiency benefit,” Legere said. “Further, due to the spectrum position and our network deployment program … we are on track to achieve 20×20 megahertz 4G LTE coverage in 90 percent of the top 25 market in 2014 and beyond.”

Additionally, T-Mobile is moving forward with the integration of MetroPCS, completing the planning and beginning the implementation of the network migration. So far, it has launched HSPA, HSPA+ and LTE in multiple MetroPCS markets and expects to complete the launch in all existing markets by the end of Q3.  The implementation of multi-operator core network allows MetroPCS customers with LTE handsets to use T-Mobile 4G LTE network for data without a change in handset.

AT&T LTE Growth ‘On Track’

AT&T currently covers more than 225 million people with LTE and is on track to reach nearly 270 million pops by year end covering 400 markets.

“We continue to move fast with our 4G LTE deployment. We now expect to substantially complete our 4G LTE network by the next summer,” Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO for AT&T Mobility, told a second quarter earnings call.

AT&T bumped up its CapEx $900 million year over year to $5.5 billion in the second quarter.

“We spent that money at this time, because the network team could get more done and efficiently get it done and so we want to make sure we fund that and we will stick to that philosophy,” de la Vega said.

Network Vision Momentum Continues

While shutting down the Nextel platform, Sprint made progress on the Network Vision deployment in the quarter, completing 6,500 sites for a total of 20,000.  LTE has been launched in 151 cities, including Los Angeles, Dallas, Atlanta, Miami and Boston. Sprint expects to provide 200 million people with LTE by the end of 2013.

“Momentum continued in the second quarter and expanding the Network Vision footprint we now have zoning complete on nearly 35,000 sites and leasing complete on close to 34,000. More than 30,000 sites are ready or have already begun construction. There are 600 cities under construction,” said Steve Elfman, Sprint president of network operations and wholesale.

Another significant milestone in the evolution of Network Vision is the closing of both the Midwest spectrum acquisition from U.S. Cellular and the acquisition of Clearwire. The U.S. Cellular transaction brought 20 megahertz of PCS spectrum in Chicago and its surrounding markets and 10 megahertz of PCS spectrum in the St. Louis market. Sprint has already begun to deploy LTE on the acquired spectrum and we’ll continue to do so through the third quarter of next year.

“With regard to Clearwire, we’ve been actively engaged with them to build both a network integration plan as well as the integration of all functions into Sprint,” Elfman said. “As it relates to expanding LTE on 2.5 gigahertz, Clearwire had roughly 2,000 TD-LTE sites commissioned at the time of closing and expect these and additional sites under construction to continue coming on air in the second half.

Future LTE Growth Looks Good Too — Moody’s

Tower  companies will get a nice boost from Sprint’s purchase of its subsidiary Clearwire Corp. through upgrading existing cell sites and adding sites to achieve nationwide LTE coverage, according to Moody’s Investors Service in the report “Independent Towers Will Get an EBITDA Boost As Sprint Deploys Clearwire Spectrum.”

“We expect that Sprint will repurpose the Clearwire tower sites and add an estimated 15,000 to 18,000 cell tower sites, which will generate increased leasing revenue that the carrier pays to the tower companies,” says Moody’s Vice President — Senior Analyst Gregory Fraser, the author of the report. “These new tower sites will replace the 16,500 Clearwire sites scheduled to be decommissioned and will therefore eliminate the risk that lost rent from those towers would not be replaced with new rental revenue.”

Moody’s expects AT&T to further its 4G/LTE deployment on Leap’s underutilized spectrum on 15,000 to 20,000 sites (including the 9,700 leased sites acquired from Leap), which will also to the benefit of the independent tower firms.


Black & Veatch Angles for FirstNet Projects

The proposed nationwide 700 MHz broadband public safety network to be established by the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) promises to bring together companies from the different areas of the wireless industry, including cellular carriers, utilities and public safety entities. In one of the first of such alliances, wireless engineering giant Black & Veatch is teaming with public safety insider The Digital Decision (TDD).

Together Black & Veatch and TDD will offer governance, planning, network design, financial modeling, program management and implementation services to state and local governments, Paul Miller, Black & Veatch vice president of telecommunications, told AGL Bulletin.

The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 created FirstNet as an independent authority within the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to establish a single, nationwide, interoperable public safety broadband network. Congress earmarked $7 billion for network deployment, as well as $135 million for new state and local grants administered by NTIA.

The development of a nationwide public safety network is a daunting goal that requires unprecedented cooperation between various state and local first responder organizations, not to mention cellular carriers, utilities and equipment vendors.

“The initial money, $7 billion, earmarked for this project will not fund an all-new build out for public safety,” Miller said. “[Public safety] will have to leverage existing assets, maybe from the carriers and utilities or other entities in addition to what they already have.”

Along with infrastructure sharing, public safety may achieve advantages in sharing the 700 MHz D-block spectrum with cellular carriers and utilities, especially in rural areas. Public/private partnerships are being studied as a possibility.

“The key is providing priority access for public safety communications. They will want and need that. Will that be tolerable for carriers and utilities?” Miller said.

Partnership Unites Industry Players

Black & Veatch brings to the partnership a focus on the other side of the planning process — doing asset inventories of the current public safety communications infrastructure and analyzing how public safety communications can best be transitioned to an LTE broadband network.

“Initially, we will need to perform conceptual design, some planning and estimating of what it will take to get them from what they have today to the FirstNet nationwide broadband network,” Miller said. “We are trying to leverage our nationwide footprint that we have achieved through working with the carriers. Also we have experience and skills designing and implementing robust, hardened networks with utilities and public safety.”

With states having the choice whether to opt in or out of the FirstNet, one of the first orders of business will be to convince them of the benefits of being part of the network. States and their local partners will need to be informed about financial, regulatory and general network factors. TDD has experience developing and negotiating statewide public safety broadband network governance models among all 57 counties and the State of New York, as well as among the State of Louisiana and Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

“TDD has helped different entities, including states, set up agreements and MOUs that will support interoperable networks. They have that background and we felt that was a gap for us at Black & Veatch,” Miller said. “With FirstNet’s near-term focus on the state planning process, we felt like we needed a teammate that had that experience from putting organizations together, the governance models and outreach. TDD is known for those activities. We thought it was a good team to put together.”