antenna_microwaveYou’ve probably heard the adage “why fix it, if it isn’t broken?” 

For more than 50 years, CommScope had long-haul antennas in the market with minimal changes to the antenna design. These antennas, our industry famous TMW antennas, work well and it is not unusual to see them in operation long after their design life should have expired. The red flash proudly displayed on those antennas is an iconic symbol in the industry representing quality and world-class performance. So why change them?

CLICK TO TWEET:  CommScope's Derren Oliver provides you with some insights into the upgrades made to the HX8 microwave antenna.

The answer is simple really – to make them better. 

One of the biggest costs associated with large antennas is one most people do not think about– shipping and transport costs. Transporting large antennas can often cost more than the antenna itself. These are not small antennas!

We worked hard on our latest design to reduce that unseen cost without compromising product integrity and performance. In addition, we significantly improved RF performance for these antennas.

Let’s look at an example of where we improved freight costs by looking at the diagrams below. 

You can see that with the older HSX8 one-piece reflector we could fit approximately four crated antennas in a 40-foot High Cube container. Due to the diameter of these antennas, they would not fit in a standard-height, 40-foot container. If we moved to a two-piece (split) reflector, we could fit eight units in a 40-foot standard container. With the new HX8 antenna, we can now fit 10 units, fully crated, into a 40-foot standard container—two more than a split reflector equivalent product and six more than the one-piece reflector. 

We went through this exercise with one of our customers who typically purchases one-piece reflectors and found that this equates to a 20 percent freight saving over the cost of the antenna versus the older version. When it was compared to the split reflector, the freight savings are less (around 3-4 percent over the cost of the antenna) but there was an additional 3-4 percent savings due to reduced install time of a one-piece reflector versus a two-piece.  In an industry that values total cost of ownership, these savings become significant.

HX8 antenna_1_newHX8 antenna_2_new


CommScope product Newsflashes offer more details. Contact us to provide feedback on shipping costs and other product enhancements that would benefit your business. 

And it’s worth pointing out – these new antennas will still show the iconic red flash as a testament to their heritage– why fix it if it isn’t broken.

Additional resources:


About the Author

Derren Oliver

Derren Oliver is Product Line Director for the Microwave Systems unit at CommScope. He has nearly 20 years of experience in the telecoms industry, beginning in test and measurement for both wireless and wireline networking products at Hewlett Packard, Agilent Technologies and Ixia before joining CommScope in 2010. He holds a bachelor degree with first class honors in electrical and electronic engineering from the United Kingdom’s Heriot-Watt University and an MBA from Edinburgh Business School.

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2 comments for "Why fix it, if it isn’t broken?"
Warwick Armstrong Monday, February 25, 2019 11:38 PM

Other interesting factors on either side of the ledger are;
for multi-piece reflectors, ease of handling the parts and ruggedness of the shipped packages.
For single piece reflectors, less requirement for skilled labour on assembly/set to work and lower manufacturing cost.

Derren Oliver Wednesday, February 27, 2019 12:54 PM

Thanks for your comments Warwick. We are continuously looking for ways to optimise the balance between assembly labour versus cost. Our new single piece reflectors for these products being smaller in diameter than the previous version are just one way we're working on this.

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