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Tag Archives: wireless infrastructure

Tower Fall Claims Tenth Climber

Memorial services will be held Saturday, Aug. 24, for Shelton James Cormier, Jr., 44, who died Aug. 17, in Louise, Miss. after falling from a cell tower. Cormier, who was from Scott, La., was married and had two children. He is the tenth tower climber to die so far this year.

Cormier fell 125 feet while working on a tower at 8:30 a.m., according to Clyde Payne, Mississippi-area OSHA director. Cormier was employed by Custom Tower of Scott, La. The 357-foot tower that he was working on is owned by C Spire Wireless.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Aug. 21 that OSHA may be taking a broader approach to investigating tower-climbing accidents that will scrutinize the role of cellular carriers. Contracts and deadline pressure might also be factored in as possible causes of the fatalities.

2 Workers Escape Florida Tower Fire

Two tower workers escaped injury when the structure they were working on caught fire, Aug. 20, in Sanford, Fla.

The crew was reportedly performing welding on the 127-foot tower, when cabling caught fire. As the welder attempted to come down the structure, the bucket that was carrying him became stuck. He got out and rappelled while another man climbed down the tower.

“Crucial to the men getting down safely was their training using harnesses and a rope to get down,” Tim Robles, fire marshall, City of Sanford, Fla., told AGL Bulletin. Three additional personnel were stationed at the base of the tower with fire extinguishers.

After cutting power to the facility, firefighters applied some water to the base but mostly left the fire burn itself out with help from an afternoon rain storm.  The structure began to lean because the metal had been compromised. A nearby restaurant was evacuated pending the removal of the damaged tower.

“The tower did receive damage from the fire and began lean to the South so we had to evacuate an area of 175 feet,” Robles said. “When the galvanize metal cooled, the tower straightened a bit.”

The permit to do the work was obtained by Sabre Communications to install a shaft and flange reinforcement to the existing tower, according to Robles.

The Sanford Building and Fire Prevention Division are waiting on plans from Crown Castle Tower in order for cell tower removal in order to expedite the issuance of cell tower construction permits.

Alcatel-Lucent, Qualcomm to Develop Next-Gen Small Cells

Alcatel-Lucent and Qualcomm plan to collaborate on small cell base stations that enhance 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi connectivity in residential and enterprise environments. The partnership combines Alcatel-Lucent’s experience developing small cells with Qualcomm’s small-cell chipset expertise.

The two companies hope to develop small cells with enhanced wireless network reception in environments such as urban areas, shopping malls and other enterprise venues. By working together, Alcatel-Lucent and Qualcomm Technologies intend to accelerate the adoption of small cells and alleviate the impact of mobile data on wireless networks.

As the density of small cells grows over time, the chances for interference will grow commensurately. As a result, future technologies will need to provide better signal-to-noise reception and improved optimizing.

To facilitate this acceleration, the two companies plan to jointly invest in a strategic R&D program to develop the next generation of Alcatel-Lucent lightRadio small cell products featuring Qualcomm Technologies’ FSM9900 family of small cell chipsets.

On June 19, Michel Combes, CEO, Alcatel-Lucent, announced “The Shift Plan,” which is designed to transform the company from a telecom equipment generalist into a specialist provider of mobile and fixed broadband access and core networking. Additionally, the manufacturer’s management structure will be reorganized into four main business lines: IP Routing and Transport, IP Platforms, Wireless Networks and Fixed Networks.

“This initiative [with Qualcomm] perfectly illustrates The Shift Plan we announced last month, which will see Alcatel-Lucent focus on growth technologies, including those facilitating ultra-broadband access,” Combes said. “We also said we would actively seek collaboration with key industry players, working together with Qualcomm Technologies.”

Combes replaced Ben Verwaayen, who left the company after it incurred a net annual loss of $1.8 billion in 2012, down from a net profit of $1.1 billion the previous year. It was the only one of the major wireless infrastructure companies that incurred a loss. As a matter of course, Alcatel-Lucent is shifting its assets and resources to high-profit areas.

ABI Research’s competitive assessment ranked Alcatel-Lucent as the most innovative vendor with three best–in-class scores for innovation in the areas of R&D investment and commitment, small cell and HetNet development and TCO innovation.

Wi-Fi Ventures Beyond Carrier Offload

Wi-Fi, well known as the killer app for cell tower overload, may become critical to other platforms, as well.

HetNets Tower, a subsidiary of TowerStream, added its first rent-based cable company anchor tenant on its neutral host Wi-Fi network in the second quarter, Jeff Thompson, TowerStream president and CEO, told the second quarter earnings call.

“Combined with our existing customer base, this is a clear indication that the use of Wi-Fi to offload mobile data will continue to increase as carriers, cable companies and other Internet platform companies employ a wide range of solutions to address rapidly growing traffic volumes,” he said.

While 21 exabytes are projected to be offloaded from cellular systems by 2017, the Wi-Fi market opportunity is expanding beyond cellular offload, Thompson said. He noted the recent decision by Starbucks to switch its Wi-Fi service at 7,000 stores to Google from AT&T is an example of the expanding importance of Wi-Fi.

“Not only does this deal showcase the importance of Wi-Fi as a significant competitive advantage for a range of companies, it also demonstrates Google emerging as a significant Wi-Fi player,” he said.

Cable companies are also enhancing their Wi-Fi networks, which Thompson said will lead them to HetNets’ doorstep.

“We expect TowerStream [HetNets] to be a significant beneficiary of the trend, and as announced on June 28, we signed a rent-based Wi-Fi lease agreement with a major cable operator for our New York City Metro network,” he said. That company has requested additional sites be built to address its coverage needs.

Thompson said he expects cable companies to be interested in the HetNets Tower’s franchises in other cities including San Francisco, Chicago and Miami.

HetNets also expects to see growth from its carrier customers, one of which, MetroPCS, is just completing integration with a new parent company.

The second quarter also heralded the certification of HetNets’ Manhattan network by the Wi-Fi Alliance as a next-generation hot-spot compliant. The operator-grade Wi-Fi certified Passpoint program allows Passpoint mobile devices to automatically discover and connect to Wi-Fi networks powered by Passpoint-certified access points, increasing carrier data offload.

“Our shared wireless network presently has substantial capacity available for lease,” said Joseph Hernon, CFO. “With the introduction of Hotspot 2.0, the number of Wi-Fi customers is virtually unlimited. We also have more than 10,000 small cell locations available for lease. We look forward to bringing additional customers onto the shared wireless network.”

Small Cells Tested in Public Safety’s Band 14

Bay Area Regional Interoperable Communications Authority (BayRICS) will oversee the build out and operation of one of the first LTE networks designed exclusively for public safety, which will eventually become part of the FirstNet nationwide public safety broadband network. The Band Class 14 LTE test network will take place in Silicon Valley using small cells provided by PureWave Networks.

“Small cells offer capabilities that will be very useful for public safety wireless networks, and there is much that we can learn about their use and applications from this trial,” said Barry Fraser, general manager, BayRICS. “We are eager to propose specific test scenarios and will monitor the results closely for useful information as we work with FirstNet to develop our regional broadband network.”

The BayRICS Authority is a 13-member Joint Powers Authority (JPA) representing the San Francisco Bay Area, which is responsible for funding, policy and oversight of regional public safety communications projects.

The network will consist of PureWave Networks’ Constellation family of small cell eNodeBs and will operate for the remainder of the year. Small cells will be demonstrated in a range of public safety deployment scenarios. Planned capability demonstrations include deployable networks, multi-tenant small cells and multi-operator core networks.

“Small cells will play a critical role in future public safety networks,” said Ronen Vengosh, PureWave’s vice president of marketing and business development. “In addition to increasing network capacity, small cells are the only effective solution for providing coverage in indoor public venues where public safety communications are required and for providing deployable, ad-hoc network coverage for incident management and event support.”

As part of the trial, PureWave is collaborating with a number of industry partners to evaluate unique eco-system solutions that will offer first responders advanced capabilities, including virtualized evolved packet core (EPC) solutions, and EPC-lite options hosted within the eNodeB itself. The company will also be testing the performance characteristics of the network with different UE types across a wide range of deployment scenarios and applications.

Other FirstNet pilot programs will take place in Adams County, Colo.; Charlotte, N.C.; Mississippi; Los Angeles; New Jersey; New Mexico; and Harris County, Texas.