CommScope is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. The Hickory, NC-based company offers solutions for the wireless industry through its Mobility Solutions business segment, which provides cellular network technology and services, including metro cell, distributed antenna system (DAS) and small cell solutions.
“We have products and solutions that go from the top of the cell tower to the bottom and everything in-between, including fiber connectivity,” says CommScope VP Strategic Marketing Philip Sorrells.Currently, one of the biggest problems the company is helping tower and wireless customers solve is enabling mobile operators to add capacity to their networks as user demand for bandwidth continues to increase.
Some of CommScope’s capacity enhancing solutions include multi-band antennas; filter, diplexing, duplexing and multi-coupler technology; and interference mitigation filters. Some 25 years ago, each frequency would need one antenna on a tower. The first U.S. wireless frequencies used in the ‘90s were in the 800 MHz range. Now, wireless communications use 700-900 MHz, in addition to 1,900 MHz, 2.1 GHz and 2.6 GHz — with current discussions surrounding 600 MHz and possibly 3.5 GHz for cellular use, according to Sorrells.
“Putting up an antenna for every one of those frequencies on a tower would be heavy and not practical.” Yet, adding all that capacity with additional frequencies is important for mobile operators. That’s why they need CommScope’s antenna and RF conditioning technology to enable capacity to be added to already strained towers.
The company’s UltraBand multiband antennas can enable 1 antenna radome to handle between two to even six different frequency bands. “All that capacity can be added without making the weight and wind load on the towers become unfeasible,” according to Sorrells.
But extra capacity can also create the potential for interference, both self-interference and with other wireless systems. “Or an operator’s own service, on one cell side, can create interference with their own service on another side. That kind of interference in a high, frequency-rich environment is a challenge.”
That’s where a CommScope interference-mitigation filter comes into play. CommScope engineers work with their customers’ engineers to understand what frequencies are being used and develop filtering technology that mitigates the downside of the rich frequency environment. This “helps them capitalize on their frequency investment more effectively,” says Sorrells.
How the antennas, radios and other gear is mounted to the tower is key to performance. Mounting systems need to be stable, durable and probably most important, not add undue weight and wind load to the structure.
CommScope’s Generation 2 sector frame-mounts are designed to provide high-performance, secure stable performance; they solve problems for both the tower owners and operators, according to Sorrells.
CommScope excels in helping tower owners and mobile operators figure out how to get power to a site, backhaul to and from the site and overcome obstacles with site acquisition. These are three fundamental issues to be solved whether the tower is a large, multiple tenant structure or small monopoles or rooftops. Two initiatives CommScope is working on in the power arena are PowerShift and C-RAN solutions.
When new radios are added at the top of the tower to carry power to the structure, typically that involves larger diameter, heavier gauge copper cable. The PowerShift smart power supply helps regulate how power is managed at the site “so you can feed an increased number of radios but still use the same size or even smaller size copper.”
The other initiative, for the so-called “Cloud-RAN” architecture, centers on how the components of the radio access network are de-compartmentalized so operators can allocate their resources more efficiently. Noting that this is an important topic being discussed in the industry, CommScope is exploring how different fiber connectivity solutions can support how Cloud-RAN is enabled. “If you move baseband processing from the radio into a separate processor, how does that get physically implemented? These are the kind of future technology developments we’re working on,” says Sorrells.
For more information on CommScope, go to: www.commscope.com
By Leslie Stimson
October 13, 2016