Small antenna technology is critical to cell densification

HICKORY, NC - Wireless operators are adding more cell sites and more sectors to existing sites to meet the ballooning use of bandwidth by consumers. Complicating such “cell densification” efforts is the lack of space for new cell sites, challenging aesthetic requirements and tower leasing costs. CommScope is addressing these challenges with an assortment of new Andrew small antenna technology that makes cell densification easier.

Network operators use multiple frequency bands and multiple air-interface technologies to meet subscriber demand, which typically means larger antennas. CommScope’s small antenna technology enables physically smaller base station antennas to handle these requirements while offering superior performance. CommScope has three distinct initiatives aimed at this application requirement.

For macro cell sites:

  • Increasing sector capacity by adding new RF signals without losing power or control has often increased the antenna’s width. While this solves the RF challenge well, it adds weight, increases wind load and may even complicate zoning. To solve this challenge, CommScope is working on a new line of antennas that provide eight or more ports with little to no change in the overall dimensions, meaning no extra leasing costs. This antenna is intended for adding more sectors and capacity on towers and other macro sites. 

For smaller cell sites, which are critical to network densification:

  • The Micro AcCELLerator is a tri-sector concealment solution for tough zoning areas. This antenna platform packs a full cell site of capacity and coverage into a small diameter antenna body that better fits strict cell site zoning requirements. A typical deployment scenario is a congested urban area lacking usable tower space but with a high concentration of users that need more capacity. One recently released platform provides a full cell site covering 1710-2690 MHz with dual polarized antennas equipped with remote beam tilting capability in a diameter of only 200 millimeter wide, easily concealable in a flag pole or street lamp.
  • The Metro Cell Antenna platform is defined by antennas specifically aimed at physical size limitations of up to one meter in height. This family includes a recently released quasi-omni antenna and sector antenna that allow the network designer to use significant beam management tools that reduce cell to cell interference and optimize capacity. By using this more sophisticated antenna solution, studies have shown that the number of “small cells” needed in a high traffic area could be reduced by as much as 25 percent.

“Wireless networks need lots of options to drive additional capacity via overall network densification, and small antenna technology will play a major role in that area,” said Philip Sorrells, vice president of wireless strategic marketing, CommScope. “Small antenna technology helps solve capacity problems in ways that provide great performance, yet are easy to install, zone and even hide when needed.”

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