How to Efficiently Support Multiple Frequency Bands

Adding new frequency bands is an effective way of adding wireless network capacity, but it can create challenges for network infrastructure. A question Holger Raeder poses in today’s blog post is, “Can the return on investment in new equipment be increased by acquiring equipment that is flexible enough to support current and future services?” He explains how CommScope’s Argus UltraBand base station antennas can help answer that question affirmatively. A new white paper is linked to, as well, as the second of the network modernization series.

UltraBand diplexersEvery mobile operator today is faced with the dilemma of how to add network capacity. One key factor to effectively adding more capacity is to utilize new and more frequency bands on more efficient air interface technologies, e.g. LTE and LTE-Advanced. At the core is the issue of spectrum availability in the wireless industry, which creates a need for investment in new equipment. Adding to the complexity is the lack of clarity and certainty about spectrum wins, or even when regulatory agencies will release a given spectrum for use.

These unknown variables introduce a huge potential risk as wireless operators look to modernize their wireless networks while trying to ensure that the equipment bought today can still be used tomorrow with the next available spectrum. Can the return on investment in new equipment be increased by acquiring equipment that is flexible enough to support current and future services?

That’s the question that needs to be asked before going the conventional route of merely adding new antennas at cell sites. Simply installing new antennas and their supporting RF path equipment to deploy new frequencies and technologies, and even using different tower locations for different antenna heights, might solve the immediate need for today but doesn’t solve the problem of tomorrow. A long term perspective allows for spending capital wisely.

Besides the inherent performance challenges of putting multiple antennas on heavily loaded towers, the old approach can add to leasing costs and potentially force existing leases to be renegotiated for the additional antennas. Increased installation complexities can put a drain on resources, too. When a lot of separate antennas are in close physical proximity of various distances, signal performance is prone to unpredictable pattern distortion and service is susceptible to interference between bands. Using multiple, individual pieces of equipment also opens the door for more opportunities to experience failure in a wireless system. Performance issues can significantly impact a carrier’s image as a service provider, as well as hurt revenue as subscribers flock to other carriers to seek the fastest and most reliable service.

To make matters worse, zoning restrictions on how much tower load is allowed—and visual or aesthetic compliance to local ordinances—make it slow and difficult to add more equipment to the tower. Bottom line, operators have fewer and fewer choices using the conventional approach of adding more antennas.

CommScope’s solution to this challenge is Argus UltraBand base station antennas, which provide operators with a solution to network capacity and a clearer path to the future without the problems associated with adding more antennas. Ultra-wideband technology also results in a cleaner, more visually attractive site due to reduced equipment on the tower. UltraBand base station antennas support the four major air interface technologies in almost every band used globally. Essentially, one antenna can do the work of six.

There are other technical advantages of CommScope’s Argus UltraBand antennas. Get the details by accessing our new white paper, “Technical Keys to Successful Network Modernization: Argus UltraBand Antennas.” This is the second white paper in our new series about specific Network Modernization topics. If you missed the first one about FTTA (Fiber to the Antenna), check out the recent blog post that includes a link to it.

And if you have any questions, leave me a comment.