CommScope’s Top Innovations: The SiteRise Tower Top Solution
Note: As part of its 40th anniversary observance, the CommScope team set out to identify the top 40 innovations that have come from CommScope (or one of its acquired companies) over the past 40 years. We are unveiling the innovations chosen for the Top 40 on CommScope Blogs through early January. Read more about the overall program and selection process in this November 4 post.
We continue today with our unveiling of innovations—in alphabetical order—that are ranked 11-20. You can see a list of the Top 40 innovations already revealed on our 40th anniversary page. As our 40th anniversary year draws to a close, we hope you enjoy looking back at what we think are our top innovations—ones that have helped build the world’s infrastructure of today and tomorrow.
Have an opinion about or connection to any of the innovations? Leave a comment below.
SiteRise Tower Top Solution
Definition: SiteRise is the brandname for CommScope’s unique cell site tower solution that integrates all the major tower top components into one factory-assembled, factory-tested unit. The SiteRise system can be deployed much more quickly—hoisted as a single unit up the tower--and the quality is better because all of the connections are made and tested at the factory.
Year of the Innovation: 2013
What is the innovation that CommScope or one of its acquired companies was first in creating?
Released in 2013, the SiteRise system is world’s first factory-integrated, factory-tested tower top solution. It drastically improves cell site quality by eliminating field installation errors and improves speed of deployment by reducing installation time. The SiteRise solution has changed the way customers think about the top of the tower. Factory integration and full system testing have enhanced both quality and speed of deployment, especially in regions with diverse tower rigging skill and experience. Because it makes every product at the top of the tower except the remote radio head, CommScope was uniquely positioned to offer this solution.
The SiteRise system is the integration of major components at the top of a cell site tower into a factory-assembled, factory-tested unit. (Pre-assembled components include base station antennas, remote radio units, RF cabling, optical fibers, and passive components like filters and combiners.) Instead of the traditional method of acquiring dozens of components, carrying them to the top of the tower, and assembling them on-site, customers install a single, pre-integrated solution with SiteRise. The SiteRise system can be deployed much more quickly as the assembly work is done in the factory, and the quality is better because all of the connections are made and tested at the factory.
SiteRise also improves the quality of the installation. Hand-assembled components can exhibit passive intermodulation (PIM), which reduces the overall performance of the cell site. Because the entire SiteRise system is tested at the CommScope factory, PIM issues are eliminated or greatly reduced.
What was happening in the market that this innovation was needed?
The adoption of remote radio heads was the driver for this innovation. With the coming of 3G and 4G mobile technology, the trend in the industry has been to move radio resources to the top of the tower in the form of remote radio heads. The challenges were that installers were making changes 20-40 meters in the air, and the practice introduced the need for fiber connections and power at the top of the tower, which required more installation expertise. In many markets, particularly in Asia, installation expertise varied widely from one region to the next, and integrating components at the top of the tower was error-prone and time-consuming. Even with proper installation expertise available, it took 4-5 days to install tower-top equipment. Mobile operators needed a faster, more streamlined installation method that would ensure high quality operations.
How did this innovation benefit customers and the industry?
By pre-integrating all of the non-radio components needed in a tower top, operators could greatly simplify and speed deployment of tower-top equipment. The SiteRise solution installs in 8-12 hours, and it reduces the quality issues that come from using unskilled labor. Ooredoo, the first operator to deploy the SiteRise solution, achieved a 50 percent drop in installation errors, 50 percent better performance, and 50 percent energy savings (by moving radios to the top of the tower).
SiteRise also reduces issues of theft. In a typical installation, 50-60 cartons of components are delivered to a site, and they may be on-site for several days, exposing them to theft or damage. With the SiteRise system, there is just one component, so installers can be sure that all the equipment is there and can be installed quickly. SiteRise also helps with security issues in high-crime areas. Because it reduces installation time by 50-75 percent, it allows installation crews to get in and out of a site more quickly.
Finally, the SiteRise solution is designed to be future-proof. An operator can migrate from 2G to 3G and consolidate antennas with SiteRise. Also, since the antennas are compatible with 4G frequencies as well, operators can install a 4G upgrade within hours because they don’t have to do a full installation.
Did this innovation act as the springboard for other innovations, and if so, how do they all tie together?
The SiteRise tower top solution has evolved substantially over time. The improvements included cost reduction through shared sector architecture, smaller frames, rooftop and monopole mounts, and the use of aluminum to reduce weight to improve wind loading on towers and poles.
In addition, CommScope introduced the SiteRise Standard Interface, which is a new way of connecting a remote radio head to the base station antenna. The SiteRise Standard Interface gives an operator the flexibility of using multiple remote radio unit technologies and frequency bands in a simplified plug-and-play arrangement. Key to this solution is a patented connector technology that provides an essentially PIM-free, blind mate connection.
What is the significance of the innovation for CommScope?
Because it integrates a number of different components, the SiteRise system required multiple CommScope business units to come together to create the solution. Being able to offer an integrated, pre-assembled and pre-tested tower top solution enables CommScope to offer performance and deployment advantages to its customers. SiteRise demonstrates innovation in servicing customers by addressing their real-world needs.
About the Author
Mike Fabbri is vice president of Site Solutions and Services for CommScope, responsible for the development and integration of RF site solutions for the telecommunications carrier market. In his more than 25 years of work experience, Mike has held several leadership positions in product line, sales, marketing and business development at Motorola, ARDIS and Motient. He holds a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and a master of business administration degree from the University of Chicago.