CommScope enhances 5G offering with new small cells, antennas and connectors
Written by: James Atkinson | Published:

CommScope has announced new enhancements to its OneCell small cell solution designed to help mobile operators deploy 5G in enterprises and venues.

It also unveiled several antenna solutions, connectors and power options to make it simpler and faster for wireless operators to build their 5G networks.

Small Cells

The new small cell solutions include open interfaces, virtualised RAN functions, and new radio points for its OneCell small cell portfolio. The OneCell solution leverages the latest open RAN and management frameworks to deliver in-building wireless services. “CommScope fully supports open interfaces to stimulate innovation,” said Upendra Pingle, vice president of Distributed Coverage and Capacity Solutions for CommScope’s Venues and Campus Networks segment.

Among the new features is support for 5G mmWave and sub-6 GHz bands. The addition of these bands to the OneCell RP5000 Series of radio points enables operators to address 5G in-building needs. This includes 28 GHz and 39 GHz mmWave bands, CBRS and C-band in the US, and 3.5 GHz bands in Europe and the rest of the world.

Another new feature deals with virtualised 5G NR baseband functions. This allows baseband functions to run on x86-based server platforms anywhere in the network to support 5G network slicing – virtual end-to-end networks customised for each application requirement. For example, capacity-related functions can be centralised for efficient pooling, while data and media delivery can be pushed to the edge for low latency.

CommScope has also added an O-RAN 7.2x fronthaul interface. This allows fronthaul over Ethernet. Other innovations include single cell operation across multiple radio points to maximise user QoE, and cell virtualisation to increase spectral efficiency. CommScope noted that these are critical to meeting the requirements of enhanced mobile broadband and ultra-reliable low latency communication 5G use cases.

The company has added Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) framework support. This enables native management of OneCell under the O-RAN Alliance’s O1 Operations and Maintenance (OAM) interface specification. ONAP simplifies on-boarding, provisioning, orchestration and management for operators by providing a common framework across all network elements and services.

Antennas

CommScope cites An ABI Research report, “The Rise & Outlook of Antennas in 5G,” which stated that: “Key considerations for operators will continue to be antenna height, weight, and install time, reinforcing the importance of implementing multi-band antennas.” The new CommScope antennas are designed to address the issues of limited space and installation.

CommScope is offering new narrow width antennas. This will add capacity to sites with zoning restrictions or where structural loading is limited. For those concerned about size, CommScope said it offers antennas in multiple lengths and bands with a 14% narrower width and 15% lower wind loading and claims it is the only one in the industry to offer 4 mid-band arrays for 43 cm and 3 mid-band arrays in 39 cm, which allows operators to attach more radios to a single antenna.

CommScope’s zero footprint solutions are aimed at addressing the issue of limited space and installation complexity through:

  • A modified CommScope base station antenna that includes 8T8R functionality, mounting brackets to attach the antenna to the pole, and mount points on the back of the antenna
  • Connection to an 8T8R radio provided by the operator
  • Custom connectivity solutions such as jumper cables, radio mount and cable management brackets, as well as a service to attach and verify the installation.

Connector

CommScope noted that the number of ports are increasing, which can lead to confusion and incorrect wiring. In response, CommScope is introducing the M-LOC cluster connector to support the increase in antenna port quantities resulting from multiple bands on a single antenna.

The company pointed out that in less than five years, port counts have grown from less than 10 to easily above 20 on a single antenna. M-LOC enables up to five network connections on a single push and lock motion reducing installation time by more than 75 percent, as well as removing ports connections uncertainty to 8T8R and 4T4R antennas and ensuring best in class return loss, passive intermodulation and attenuation performances.

Power Solutions

The rollout of 5G means more remote radio units that are high powered and, in some regions, a shift to massive MIMO architecture. To address the power needs that accompany this rollout, CommScope is offering a new version of its PowerShift line of products on a single-rack unit, supporting up to 2,000 wattage per circuit, with power connectors in the front. The single rack-unit option addresses the issue of limited space, while the front connections offer easier access for installers.


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