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Most mobile operators have standard sets of antenna models, which served them well in the past and are supposed to help them prepare for the future. Radio frequency (RF) planning teams are already familiar with their specs and the procurement department is proud of their pre-negotiated discounted prices. So why change?
The Need for Ultra-Wide Band Antennas
Back in 2015, during the ITU World Radio Conference (WRC-15), a number of new bands had been allocated for use in mobile networks. These include the television UHF 2nd digital dividend (700MHz), the satellite L-band (1400MHz) and C-band (3500MHz). Similarly, in North America, new spectrum had been auctioned in the 600MHz range.
If you operate in a country where new bands are expected to become available, considering an ultra-wide band antenna alternative leads to a longer-term capital expenditure (CapEx) investment.
The Need for Less Antennas and More Ports
As we modernize our radio access networks (RANs) with more bands, more technologies and higher MIMO schemes, the number of legacy antennas continues to build up. Shared and rented civil infrastructure operating expenses (OpEx) costs skyrocket exponentially while owned towers hit their maximum wind loads’ capacities.
Field deployments have shown each advanced multi-band antenna replacing on average 3 to 4 legacy ones, with improved performance. To fit different markets, CommScope has developed a number of standard arrays platforms. For example, the platform II in figure, is equipped with two low band arrays for 4x4 MIMO support on the low bands. The platforms can be further customized in gain and in number of ports, by internal diplexing, as needed.
If you are using shared civil infrastructure or facing tower wind loading limitations, consider advanced multi band antennas with a matching platform.
The Need for Lower PIM and Smaller Connectors
Adding more bands and ports increases passive Intermodulation (PIM) risks. PIM becomes a major concern when it falls into the operational uplink range, immediately killing cells’ capacities. The increase in ports counts also adds challenges to installation technicians: the in-between connectors’ space becomes too tight for properly torqueing 7-16 DIN connectors in place, resulting in even more passive intermodulation (PIM) risks. Modern antennas are equipped with smaller and higher PIM rated 4.3-10 connectors. The small size allows integrating more ports on the antennas bottom plate and adds quick ‘snap on’ and ‘hand tightening’ options besides the traditional ‘screw on’ as shown in picture.
If your standard antennas use 7-16 DIN connectors, consider upgrading to the 4.3-10 models in future orders. Hybrid jumpers exist enabling connections to traditional 7-16 connectors radios.
Still having doubts with your future proof antenna selection choices? Contact us and our experts will be there to support in selecting the optimal platform and evolution plans. Happy shopping.