Avoiding the Rocky Road of Radio Swaps


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Open RAN (Open Radio Access Networks) are comprised of components from multiple vendors, creating an interoperable system. Previously, RAN equipment originated from one, exclusive vendor.

According to a recently published report by Dell’Oro Group, the worldwide sales of Virtualized Open RAN technologies are forecasted to grow at double-digit rates over the next five years with cumulative Open RAN investments – including hardware, software, and firmware excluding services – projected to surpass $5B over the forecast period.

Due to the new Open RAN paradigm, radio swaps will become more and more commonplace. Couple that with software defined radio, 5G and eventually 6G, “changeouts are inevitable for the foreseeable future. Our customers tell us that with the off-the-shelf cabinets, there is no room for expansion. Almost every radio swap equals a ‘rip-and- replace’ exercise,” says Dan Himes, Business Development Manager at QUBE-MRS, LLC.

QUBE’s patented mounting system allows for unlimited radio swaps and room for future growth. Radio adjustments and upgrades can be made without modifying or replacing the shroud. The shrouds can be configured to accommodate up to four carriers on one pole and can be custom-fabricated and painted to match the community’s existing aesthetics.

“Yes, the initial cost of a QUBE shroud deployment can be higher than a standard off-the-shelf product. Quality materials, superior workmanship and rigorous testing cost money. However, after the first radio changeout, the value proposition shifts markedly in QUBE’s favor,” says Himes.

Ease of installation, maintenance and long-term flexibility are the key differentiators, according to Himes. Whether neutral hosts providers are running a ‘rip and replace,’ adding another radio or integrating a co-location, logistics are simplified and there is “very little downtime. Carriers aren’t out of pocket due to a swap.” Typically, when a shroud is updated to accept a second tenant, the first tenant will be out of service for at least two days while the old shroud is removed and the new one is installed. “With a QUBE shroud, it is only a bracket change,” explains Himes.

QUBE’s delivery times are measured in weeks not quarters. The installation requires one tech and one bucket truck.
Less ramp-up time equates to a quicker time to market, “which in turn, equates to accelerated revenue,” says Himes.

Himes recently completed a Cost of Ownership Analysis to breakdown the fees associated with owning a QUBE Multi-Radio shroud over a four-year period. This exercise was based on an actual client experience and is “a true representation of a real-world radio changeout cycle.” At the end of this four-year analysis period, the savings realized from using the QUBE shroud (vs. an alternative) on 100 small cells, was enough to deploy an additional 106 nodes. For more details about his analysis or for more information about QUBE, contact Dan Himes at dhimes@qube-mrs.com.

Formed in 2017 by wireless industry veterans Kevin Garland and Joe Page, QUBE-MRS, LLC, develops and manufactures components required for the rapidly changing wireless industry. QUBE initially focused on providing equipment shrouds for better concealment of carriers’ 4G radios and related components. It quickly evolved into an entire system of products that includes poles, shrouds, underground solutions, antenna supports, and other products required to make 5G a reality.


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