CommScope has introduced a new family of ultra-wideband base station antennas designed to help mobile operators cover existing radio spectrum, while preparing for bandwidth growth and additional radio spectrum availability in the future. It will allow operators to deploy just one antenna rather than several to cover the different radio spectrums.
The CommScope high-bandwidth (HW) family of ultra-wideband base station antennas, which are available immediately, provide a future-proof antenna solution for the 1710-2690MHz frequency range that is ideal for supporting additional licensed frequencies that are not currently available.
The HW ultra-wideband base station antennas are available in three different configurations of two, four or six dual-polarization radiating arrays under a single radome. According to the company, the forward-looking design of the HW family provides a unique set of benefits, including:
• Superior, repeatable electrical performance from every unit
• Potentially higher spectral efficiency through 100% passive intermodulation (PIM) testing performed on all base station antennas, contributing to system-wide noise containment
• Design features that yields twice the bandwidth of typical high-band antennas
• Small physical footprint for deployment in areas with highly restrictive zoning
• Consolidated design that can lead to fewer antennas and lower-cost deployments
Each antenna in the HW family can be deployed in a variety of 2G, 2.5G, 3G and 4G environments, including LTE, UMTS, CDMA, GSM, and WiMAX. Operators can upgrade or switch to different technologies or frequencies as their needs change.
Phil Sorsky, VP Europe at CommScope told Wireless: ‘It is very difficult to produce an ultra-wideband antenna, but we think ours solves one of the big challenges facing operators today. They are looking to refresh their networks and they want to be LTE compliant, but they are not necessarily sure which frequency they will be using yet.
‘But operators have to consider the cost of adding new antennas as new spectrum becomes available and that means considering more rental to site owners, wind loading issues and planning permission. What we’ve done with the new antennas is come up with a solution that removes the planning application and wind load issue, as externally, to all intents and purposes, it is the same as a legacy 3G antenna. It serves the legacy 3G user base, as well as wide range of frequencies to come in the future,’ he said.
Kevin Linehan, VP and CTO, Antenna Systems at CommScope added: ‘There has been a trend towards broadband antennas from the relatively narrowband 1G to the broadband 2G and 3G. The typical antenna now is 1700MHz to 2100MHz – even that was a challenge – and now we are adding the LTE band in 2600MHz, so that’s an even bigger challenge - ultra-wide broadband. We’ve gone from covering a 25% bandwidth to a 40% bandwidth. The other challenge is that as it is replacing the legacy 2G and 3G systems, when you extend the bandwidth you cannot change the physical parameters of the existing antennas covering existing customers or they’ll get dropped calls. We’ve got to carefully design the antenna to maintain existing performance and extend it.’
CommScope has produced two ultra-wide broadband antennas: one to cover the lowband spectrum of 700MHz-900MHz and the other to cover the highband 2.6GHz spectrum. ‘We have a lowband version for the USA to cover 700MHz and in Europe we have extended the lowband antenna to cover 800MHz for LTE,’ said Linehan, adding: ‘We are also working on a global antenna, but that is an even bigger challenge as it has to cover 45%-50% bandwidth.’
Philip Sorrells, VP site solutions at CommScope said: ‘All the operators have spent millions of dollars building their networks. What the ultra-wideband is about is looking forward to applications in 2690MHz for operators who may still also want to operate a GSM and UMTS system at the same time. It is a toolkit that will allow them to operate in any of those frequencies.
‘Every CTO in nearly every mobile operator in the world is asking how they can provide enough capacity to meet projected demand. All the new frequency bands and air interfaces that are being added are about helping operators have enough network capacity to drive their business of adding subscribers and adding more lucrative subscription packages for their businesses,’ said Sorrells.