CommScope Blog

Baking a HetNet Cake

A good analogy I’ve heard used to describe the heterogeneous network (HetNet) is a layer cake. A layer cake consists of separate dessert cakes that are frosted and placed on top of each other to form a single dessert. The cakes are separate but combined into one, and an effective wireless HetNet needs to be the same way.

New Slide Rule Moves from Sun Visor to Smartphone

Slide RuleFor cable television technicians on the job, a truck is never considered fit for service without a Cable and Specification Guide, also known as a slide rule, tucked into the sun visor.

For as long as CommScope has been making coaxial cables for cable television (and that’s a long time), we have provided free cable frequency attenuation slide rules at trade shows and other events. Considering how many of those we’ve given away over the years, a lot of trees were cut down when they were made out of cardboard. For the past six years, we’ve been handing out slide rules made of plastic—which doesn’t contribute in a positive way to our carbon footprint.

Three Most Important Words For Your FTTx Network

FTTx Independent showThe Independent Show is a hotbed of creative-thinking, out-of-the-box-types—and I’m talking about the operators. There are so many FTTx success stories to be told among the National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC) members that an entrepreneurial writer could publish a book about them. These operators have latched on to the benefits and advantages that FTTx provides and they have never looked back.

This year’s show will be held in Kansas City, MO. CommScope will attend the show, but before we exhibit, we want you to be aware of three very important words before you deploy a FTTx solution—deployability, sustainability and scalability.

Operators, many of whom are our customers, can attest that they achieved these when building FTTx networks; however, it’s not just our solutions that make this happen, it’s the FTTx technology that best fits every aspect of the network making these three words important.

Webinar: Talking about DAS

ION-U_iPOIDistributed antenna systems (DAS) are red hot in the wireless industry. As someone who has been involved in DAS for quite a while, it’s exciting to see projections of DAS growth starting to come true. There are many drivers behind this trend, but the biggest is data traffic growth. Mobile subscribers simply are using more data services, especially streaming video, from more smartphones and tablets these days. Mobile video already accounts for almost half of mobile data usage with projections suggesting it will continue to rise.

‘Friend Request’ Your Data Center with DCIM

DCIM friend requestIt happens to all of us—life gets busy and we lose touch with friends. The occasional phone call and text is barely enough to find out about their lives and families. We resort to following them through social media, where we see that they take great vacations, move to a new house or change jobs. Even though you can’t make it to the reunion, you can see who was there and who ended up embarrassing themselves thoroughly while staying out late.

What if you could ‘friend request’ your data center? What if you were able to look at all of your floor-mounted assets the same way as going through a friend’s images and posts to find out what they are doing? 

Back to Basics in Microwave Systems: Front-to-Back Ratio and Antenna Beamwidth

front to back microwave backhaulIn the previous post of our Microwave “Back to Basics” blog series, Jim Syme spoke about radiation patterns and radiation pattern envelopes (RPE). He explained why they were so important in the planning and operation of microwave links and networks. In this post, I would like to discuss, in more detail, two of the most important characteristics of the RPE: front-to-back ratio (F/B) and antenna beamwidth.

The front-to-back ratio denotes the sensitivity of an antenna to radio waves in the region of 180 degrees plus or minus 40 degrees from the main beam direction - the area of space behind the antenna. It is defined in decibels (dB) relative to the peak of the main beam of the antenna. Details about the response immediately behind the antenna are important when evaluating the possibility of link “overshoot.” Let me explain:

How to Use Fiber to Increase Wireless Network Capacity

When modernizing a wireless network, there are many complex technical challenges to consider. To effectively address these challenges, network operators must have the best strategy for optimizing their current infrastructure and adapting to new technologies. As we ask in this new white paper, how do you make changes to existing tower components to meet the critical needs of remote radio unit (RRU) technology without overloading the tower? Just as important, how do you ensure adequate fiber capacity that will make your network future-ready, while controlling CapEx and OpEx costs?

When Temporary Cell Sites Become Long-Term Investments

Cell on Wheels Middle EastA cell on wheels, commonly called a COW, is a temporary cellular site deployed by wireless operators to meet short-term network traffic demands. Operators in the Middle East and North Africa often use COWs to speed up the deployment of new sites while the network macro sites are being planned and constructed. Due to the ever-present difficulty in acquiring space for cell sites, these COWs often become long-term additions to the operator’s wireless network.

So what should an operator do with these semi-permanent sites when it is time to modernize the rest of the network? COWs have particular space and weight limitations because they are essentially a cell site on a truck with a thin pole for a tower. Adding more equipment to introduce the next generation of wireless technology might not be feasible. That is why CommScope offers a filter solution specifically for COW applications that makes adding new technology with the same or less equipment possible.

How to Properly Perform a Mid-sheath Entry on a Microfiber Cable

The blown microfiber cable evolution has grown in the U.S. broadband market. Like the name implies, a blown microfiber cable is a miniaturized version of a stranded loose tube cable placed in a microduct using high pressure air to assist with its installation.

Not only is the size of the microcable reduced to make the cable as light as possible for the air-blown application, but it uses a unique jacket design that is a significant departure from traditional optical fiber cables. Specifically, the jacket on microcable is more like a skin rather than the thick protective sheath found on traditional cables. That level of protection for the microcable is not necessary, as it gains its protection in the microduct.

More Planning Needed for the Rapidly Approaching US Spectrum Auction

FCC AuctionWith the US Federal Communications Commission’s AWS -3 Auction scheduled for November 18, the wireless industry is once again faced with the prospect of purchasing spectrum encumbered with thousands of federal government assets.  Like the AWS-1 auction in 2008, many of the government assets will require years to relocate to other frequency bands, and some will remain in the band indefinitely.  This may, in turn, impact carrier bidding strategies and rollout plans. Carriers encountered significant challenges the last time around, and there were a number of valuable lessons learned:

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