Alcatel-Lucent is to introduce a radio interface for distributed antenna systems (DAS) to allow mobile operators to improve signal performance while reducing power consumption, space and operational costs by as much as 90% when connecting subscribers at large public venues, such as shopping malls, hotels and office blocks.
Alcatel-Lucent has launched the Distributed Antenna System Radio Frequency Module (DAS RFM), a wideband low-power LTE interface card, which removes the need for bulky radio technology in a public installation.
Working together with Alcatel-Lucent’s LTE radio access portfolio, the DAS RFM connects to Alcatel-Lucent’s 9926 digital baseband unit, working directly with the analogue DAS through RF signals that consume just one-eighth of the power and heat dissipation of an average remote radio head, reducing space requirements and optimising costs.
The launch of Alcatel-Lucent’s DAS RFM comes at a time of rising use of distributed antenna systems, particularly by mobile providers in the United States and China, as demand grows for high-speed, ultra-broadband access in busy public locations.
In order to connect to a DAS today, service providers must deploy remote radio heads alongside duplexers and attenuators to reduce output power, as well as cooling equipment in areas where there is often limited space.
Bell Labs has completed a study on the cost savings delivered by the new DAS RFM, compared to a traditional RRH and associated equipment. The study shows that by reducing equipment and power requirements, service providers can realise:
• Up to 30% savings in terms of the wireless and DAS equipment required
• Up to 81% savings in terms of power and cooling
• Up to 91% cost savings in terms of construction
• Up to 78% cost savings in terms of energy
• Up to 91% cost savings in terms of space.
By connecting the DAS RFM into Alcatel-Lucent’s distributed radio access network architecture, operators can also take advantage of scalable technology. The 9926 digital baseband unit, connecting into a number of distributed radios, can divert capacity where needed when there are spikes in traffic, redistributing capacity to other radios when no longer required.
Commenting on the launch, Nick Marshall, Research Director of ABI Research, said: “Alcatel-Lucent’s new DAS RFM solves a major problem for operators and building owners alike. In the most densely populated areas where DAS technology is commonly deployed, space is a premium and lease costs are high. Alcatel-Lucent’s product will reduce the amount of equipment needed and with neutral host capabilities it can connect to any DAS.”
Key attributes of DAS RFM
By providing a simple RF signal, the Alcatel-Lucent DAS RFM maintains the host neutrality of a DAS system, allowing multiple operators to share a DAS system and recognize associated cost-savings.
Alcatel-Lucent’s compact (half rack unit size) low-power DAS RFM, significantly reduces space, power and cooling requirements when connecting to a Distributed Antenna System. It operates in both indoor and outdoor racks. Up to 40 radio sectors with the associated baseband processing, can be fitted into a standard 19 inch indoor cabinet.
The Alcatel-Lucent DAS RFM is offered in two wideband hardware versions, one for low band and one for high band radios. Each radio covers between 6 and 10 bands. Based on the latest Alcatel-Lucent RF platform it leverages common hardware and software and can quickly be adapted to various market frequency demands using pluggable cards.
Configurable parameters enable better alignment across the system on the uplink and downlink power used at the DAS remote unit to improve radio performance. First live tests have shown up to 10dB improvement in uplink noise which equates to greater cell coverage or data speeds and allows the radio to serve more end-users.
Filter cards will be made generally available by end of December 2015 in selected frequency bands.
Glenn Booth, Senior Vice President and General Manger of Alcatel-Lucent’s LTE Business Unit said: “Alcatel-Lucent has been working closely with operators on how to improve LTE deployment in dense urban environments by leveraging their DAS infrastructure.
“This product was developed on the latest leading edge RF Platform that operators use for their macro today allowing them full benefit and feature parity with their macro sites. It is designed for use with any vendors’ analogue DAS.”