When Providers Collide: LTE and Cable TV

Two giant empires are on a collision course, but war can possibly be avoided. LTE and service operators both use 570-800 MHz frequency range bands to send signals. That means interference is almost certain. David Sherrill explains how service operators can avoid interference with a simple tri-shield drop cable design.

XPress_WhitePaper_CoverAn electromagnetic war is raging, and the battlefield is the 570-800 MHz frequency range. That’s because both cellular LTE and service providers use these bands for their signals—two great connectivity empires on a collision course. Whenever you have multiple signals occupying the same frequency bands, you run the risk of signal interference that can greatly impede one or both services.

For service providers, the threat of signal interference is most prevalent in the last hundred feet; that is, at the drop cable connection from the utility pole to the subscriber’s residence. To keep the electromagnetic peace, service providers need to employ shielded cable that keeps external LTE signals out and contains the cable television (CATV) signals.

Raise the Shields!

Cable shielding involves layers of super-thin aluminum foil and layers of braided aluminum, increasing its effective surface area. Simply put, these layers attenuate any signal seeping in or out of the cable. What’s not so simple, however, is the variety of engineering options available—and the trade-offs that come with each.

Shielding levels can range from 60 to 90 percent. Additional layers improve interference resistance, but make the cable more prone to damage when flexed and also complicate connectorization—two issues that arise regularly in the last hundred feet. The ideal shielding solution is found in the sweet spot between density and design.

Achieving Balance

Pursuit of this optimal balance is what led CommScope to develop XpressPrep drop cables, featuring a 77 percent tri-shield design. This allows three times the industry standard for flexibility while also providing superior cable and connector interference resistance.

Conflict in the 570-800 MHz band may rage for years. It only makes sense to employ a solid defense built on XpressPrep. You can learn more by downloading the “The Impact of Cellular Deployment on MSO networks at Lower Frequency Bandswhite paper.