NGMN Publishes First-Ever BSA Standards Recommendations

kevin linehan--thumbnail Kevin Linehan February 20, 2013

Today, an 18-month long effort has finally bore fruit. For the first time ever, the wireless industry has a comprehensive set of electrical and mechanical standardsrecommendations for base station antennas (BSAs). This guidance will make it easier for wireless operators to compare products, while providing a uniform way for vendors to demonstrate product quality. These recommendations appear in a white paper just published by an industry body, the NGMN Alliance, and it has been personally rewarding to be part of this effort.

The NGMN (Next Generation Mobile Networks) Alliance proved to be a great organization in which to orchestrate this collaboration. The NGMN Alliance is an established forum, offering a coherent view of what the operator community requires for successful next generation network deployments. Because of the NGMN, we were able to bring together 10 senior antenna experts from both the operator and the vendor communities, who were able to reach consensusabout BSA specifications. As you can imagine, this was quite an effort. But we feel it represents the real-world needs of wireless operators and has the backing of major equipment vendors.

Our NGMN working group convened many times via global conference calls, and in addition, met in person several times to reach consensus on key issues. In the end, we were able to define 18 radio frequency (RF) parameters that we recommend appear on every future BSA specification sheet. We also define another 19 parameters of interest and detail an environmental qualification protocol for assuring the reliability of BSA products.

The Recommendation on Base Station Antenna Standards white paper details methodologies for the statistical calculation of specifications based on current antenna measurement techniques. It provides guidance on best-practices for design validation and production testing. The paper also defines a data format for the electronic transfer of the antenna specifications between vendors and operators.

What this achievement hopefully means is that NGMN has brought uniformity to how BSAs are measured, analyzed, and reported on in data sheets and other marketing materials. A consensus in BSA specifications will help operators make accurate evaluations and comparisons of antenna products. For vendors, uniformity in specification enables differentiation for high performance antennas and enhances opportunities to bring high quality, innovative antennas to our customers.

It was an honor to co-chair the NGMN working group which created this white paper, and I would like to again thank everyone involved for their support and hard work. Many experienced antenna specialists came together to produce this document, and I hope they are as pleased as I am of the results. Let me make one more recommendation—that anyone involved in the technical aspects of BSAs take a look at the white paper. The real benefit comes when our recommendations are implemented in the industry.

Do you have questions about the parameter recommendations? Leave a comment and I will try to answer it.

About the Author

kevin linehan--thumbnail

Kevin Linehan

Kevin Linehan is vice president, Office of CTO, responsible for monitoring wireless industry trends, technologies and standards, particularly as they relate to antenna technology and product development. Kevin is also responsible for the scouting, evaluation and introduction of emerging antenna systems technologies through collaborative innovation and strategic alliances. He previously worked in various management and design positions for base station antennas, terrestrial microwave antennas and earth station antennas at CommScope and Andrew Corporation. Kevin received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, where he was a research assistant in the Electromagnetics Research Laboratory. He holds six patents for antenna design in the United States.