Huawei has released a dual-beam antenna solution which allows simple and efficient deployment of 6-sector networks for operators. The solution has already been deployed by AIS Thailand and improved capacity by 70%.
While UMTS is still the foundational mobile network for operators, as the development of MBB progresses and the number of users increases rapidly, capacity within UMTS experiences a bottleneck. Typically, operators improve capacity by adding new spectrum bands, building new sites and deploying multi-sector networks.
However, since the spectrum resource is quite limited, building new sites requires significant investment and long construction periods. Multi-sector networks can improve the spectrum utilisation efficiency, but traditional 6-sector networks employ 6 common antennas with a 33 degree horizontal beam width. Capacity improvement is negligible as the side lobe interference becomes a noticeable issue.
Meanwhile, the increased number of antennas also presents an additional challenge to the tower space. Thus, the multi-sector network is not a viable solution for large scale commercialisation.
Huawei’s dual-beam antenna solution improves on the shortcomings of the traditional 6-sector solution. As the sole provider of both RAN and antenna solutions, Huawei’s antenna adopted a synergistic design which was developed at the conception stage.
A significant number of network simulation tests are carried out, continuously optimising the pattern to obtain the best SINR. This ultimately allows for improved side lobe suppression with less interference, greatly enhancing capacity as well as coverage.
Huawei’s dual-beam antenna is also easy to deploy, as the antenna supports two horizontal beams with a width of 33 degrees, meaning the 6-sector network requires only three Huawei dual-beam antennas.
And since the antenna width remains the same, these features save much more antenna space for operators, realizing a soft upgrade and capacity expansion in existing 3-sector sites.
In 2013, AIS Thailand carried out its largest subscriber migration from 2G to 3G. The demand for 3G capacity was increasing rapidly, especially in dense urban areas such as Bangkok, where acquiring a new site is extremely difficult. AIS was facing an enormous demand for increased and improved capacity.
After holding several discussions and through research and testing, AIS ultimately selected Huawei’s dual-beam antenna solution and deployed it on a large scale for its UMTS 6-sector network, improving capacity by 70% and efficiently enhancing coverage.
AIS said: “Offering our subscribers the best MBB experience is our primary concern and the main reason why at this time, we expanded our network capacity on a large scale. Thanks to Huawei’s 6-sector solution and dual-beam antenna, we can achieve this target. Moreover, we firmly believe that this solution will bring tremendous value to other operators as well.”
Zhou Taoyuan, president of Huawei Antenna Business Unit, said: “Huawei relentlessly focuses on developing solutions for the challenges faced by operators as well as the ongoing requirements of the MBB era.
“The launch and industry’s first large scale commercialisation of the innovative dual-beam antenna will not only allow operators to maximise the efficiency of existing spectrum bands, but also help solve capacity problems, improve the user experience and achieve business success.”