Oh the wonder of a long weekend!  You may not be a Trekkie but this geek loves to get his Spock on and, over a recent weekend, enjoyed back-to-back to back Star Trek episodes on cable TV.

At the science station, the Star Trek characters are always scanning some sector of the great unknown in search for life in a place no one has gone before.  The sectors in Star Trek are defined yet vast.  They also are fictitious.

On the other hand, there is nothing fictitious about sectors in the wireless world! Sectors are really important for the efficient operation of cellular networks.  In fact, the use of advanced sectorization is one of the core methods being used to increase capacity to manage more and more voice and data traffic.

In the early 1990s when I started working in the wireless world, the vast majority of antennas we provided were high gain omnidirectional versions.  The goal was to provide maximum ubiquitous coverage.  Over time, the omni cells were split into three sectors, first using 90° to 120° 3dB horizontal beams.  Today, the majority of sites still use a fairly conventional three-sector approach mostly using 65° 3dB horizontal beams.  

Splitting those sectors into even more narrow coverage areas provides even greater capacity efficiency.  One technique gaining more popularity is the application of six sectors.


DualPol® Twin-Beam Capacity Antenna


A six-sector site application splits each of the original 65° coverage areas into two 33° beams.  Properly done, this application reduces the overlap of interference areas in the coverage patterns and enables more efficient reuse of spectrum.   Sounds great, but traditionally the implementation of this solution required removing one 65° antenna and putting up two 33° antennas.  For those not familiar with the challenges in the wireless world, putting up more antennas is not easy

CommScope’s new twin beam antenna technology reduces that complication with a clever design that launches

 two beams out of a single antenna face.  This enables the implementation of the six-sector application without increasing the number of antennas and simplifies the transition. 

But the full solution is more than just the antenna.  Even with the new antenna technology, these sites require additional jumpers, perhaps additional feeders or in some cases passive or even active combining solutions.   Our approach to the six-sector solution is comprehensive – mapping out the existing three sectors and developing a full turnkey solution to an efficient and effective gain in capacity.

How are you tackling the challenges of adding capacity to wireless networks to handle more voice and data traffic?  Have you considered six-sector solutions?

About the Author

Philip Sorrells

Philip Sorrells is vice president of strategic marketing for CommScope, a global leader in infrastructure solutions for communications networks. He is responsible for marketing strategy, linking key trends in the industry into marketing strategies for telecommunications networks.  Mr. Sorrells has 20 years of experience in the telecom industry with Allen Telecom, Andrew Corporation and CommScope, having spent 10 years prior with Texas Instruments. He has led the wireless industry in adopting many antenna system innovations—including remote electrical tilt (RET) technology for network optimization—and pioneering the concept of “agile networks,” which formed the basis for current initiatives in self-organizing networks. Mr. Sorrells has three patents related to antenna systems and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering from Texas Tech University.

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