Saturday 26 August 2017

ZTE's 4G / 5G Street Lights

While we are on the subject of street lights and lamp posts, I thought it may be worth mentioning about ZTE's BluePillar Streetlamp solution that it announced back in 2016:

An integrated streetlamp, charging pillar, base transceiver station (BTS) and smart city information solution, BluePillar enables a traditional streetlamp pillar to double as a 4G/5G BTS, or a charging point for electric vehicles. The solution can also collect local data on weather, environment, transportation and security while its large outdoor LED screen can be used to display information and advertising.

The BluePillar solution consists of ZTE’s BlueBox charging pillar, 4G iMacro base station, intelligent controller and intelligent streetlamp, all fully integrated into one product. It makes full use of a streetlamp pillar and integrates seamlessly into the surrounding environment, which could not only solve the difficulty in siting 4G networks, but also assure Wi-Fi construction, environment monitoring, security management and data collection in hotspots. It also offers direct outdoor advertising opportunities, as well as the display of municipal information and other value-added services at the same time. This solution could reduce the unit cost and promote the business density of each site, which could help operators acquire sites whilst saving land, electricity and other resources. Local governments, operators, everyday citizens and electric car owners all stand to benefit from this solution. For example operators could expand their business scope, and make the transition from traditional telecoms operation to the comprehensive operation of data services in cities.

The innovative integration of the solution, including the BTS, streetlamp and charging pillar, coupled with its ability to charge electric vehicles makes this a convenient solution for telecoms tower companies. ZTE's BluePillar solution could solve the challenges of Internet access on roads and in communities, as well as making streetlamps intelligently connected via information exchanged through its BTS.


Besides street lighting ZTE BluePillar is an integrated part of smart city. The system supports security surveillance, real-time information collection on the environment, real-time monitoring of the assets/special crowd with RFID .Through the LCD, important information and advertisement can be displayed which will bring benefit to the citizens as well as operators. RRU and WIFI equipment can be installed with BluePillar, citizen will be facilitated with WIFI services. Nowadays people have concern about air pollution and prefer clean transportation, such as Electrical Vehicles .However, due to limited space, lack of charging piles becomes an vital factor hinders the popularity of EV. Integrated with AC charging piles, BulePillar solution can save space and be an ideal method for municipal department to spread EV.

According to the ZTE magazine:

ZTE has deployed its IoT solutions in over 140 cities in 40 countries globally. She stated that a wide variety of solutions using smart meters have helped optimise city infrastructure with smart street lighting, parking as well as water and air monitoring Some examples include the deployment of 20 thousand smart street lamps in Paris’ smart city project: the City of Light. These smart street lamps are outfitted with sensors that help manage its energy consumption and maintenance optimisation.

To help alleviate traffic jams in congested cities, ZTE has smart parking solutions that notify users where they can park their vehicle without having to search for hours on end for parking spots. With its smart building and environmental monitoring, building managers would be able to better manage power distribution within the building.

I could not find any information about the 4G / 5G solution being trialed anywhere but I am sure it probably is.

Also, it seems that this Streetlight is developed by another Chinese company called Shanghai Sansi Technology Co.,Ltd. See here. More info also on their Youtube channel here.

Related Posts:

Saturday 19 August 2017

KDDI to test 5G with base stations built in Street Lights

Street lamp incorporating the base station function in consideration of the landscape - by the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO)

My earlier posts with street lighting and lampposts were mainly with Philips (see here and here) and one detailed one from EE (via Andy Sutton)

In fact the picture above reminded me of this tweet:

Anyway, the new article says (translated by Google translate from Japanese):
In experiments, we used a street lamp that incorporates the base station function inside the pillar so that the antenna and the radio are not noticeable. We set up one in the parking lot adjacent to the municipal wreckage field in Yeomachiro and investigate tourist reactions on the landscape and the reach of the radio waves. The period is one year from October this year. Since the 5G base station has not yet been downsized, experiments predict the radio range using the current 4G base station.
So from what I understand (news sites here and here):

  • KDDI will be testing initially using 4G because 5G base stations are still quite big. It looks like a small cell but could be an RRH as well
  • This experiment will start in October and last a year
  • As it mentions relay, I am assuming in-band backhaul.
  • As its on a sightseeing spot, they want to see how people react to this
  • They will also examine the impacts of weather, terrain and look at maintenance issues as well.
  • The intention is to roll it out commercially by 2020

Monday 14 August 2017

T-Mobile USA Small Cells - backhauled via dark fiber

Picture Source: Reddit

Picked this one up from Wireless Week (emphasis mine):
Speaking at the Wells Fargo 5G Forum this week, T-Mobile VP of Radio Network Technology and Strategy Karri Kuoppamaki said the Un-carrier carefully considered its options before settling on a small cell strategy that utilizes dark fiber for densification. Kuoppamaki explained T-Mobile works with a number of partners who provide the fiber, real estate, and manpower for the build outs while the Un-carrier supplies the equipment and facilitates municipal dialogs. The result is an overall cost structure that has been whittled down to a “manageable level,” he said. 
“We work together in deploying those small cells. This strategy has worked for us really, really well,” Kuoppamaki commented. “Ultimately small cell deployments, or successful small cell deployments, depend on the cost structure, especially the backhaul piece. If you can do that by partnering up with the right people, and bring that cost down a fraction of the cost of a macro then it makes sense.” 
According to Kuoppamaki, T-Mobile currently has about 15,000 small cells today, including 13,000 DAS nodes. The Un-carrier is on track to add “several thousand” more by the end of 2017, and has another 25,000 in the pipeline for the next few years, he added.
While fiber is a great strategy in the long run, especially for densification and 5G, it drives the initial cost up. Its not a great strategy for operators who may be more interested in deploying small cells for coverage mainly.

In earlier posts, I have argued for in-band backhauling (IBBH). A similar concept by the name of self-backhauling is used in 5G. In another post we also looked at Sprint MagicBox which uses similar approach to improve coverage and capacity. The main advantage of this approach is quicker deployment at a far lower cost. Backhaul can always be improved after initial deployments once coverage obligations are met.

Anyway, finally coming back to the T-Mobile small cells, here is a much more detailed picture from Omar Masry's slide-deck.

Tuesday 8 August 2017

Exploding Femtocells: How Testing plays an important role

The Register pointed out a while back that some of Vodafone's Sure Signal Femtocells (designed by Alcatel-Lucent) are exploding.
Vodafone says that anxious customers of its home femtocell box are safe, despite experiencing continuing brownouts. Although Vodafone is replacing the Alcatel-made units on request, it has declined to carry out a full recall.
Vodafone's user forums have a lot of info and pictures. The one from which I took the above picture says:
The failure was announced by a loud bang, a flash and the tripping of the power circuit.
Luckily there has been no serious accidents but it is enough to highlight the importance of all the different kind of testing that is done for all different kinds of devices.

This picture above, even though highlights the testing for mobile devices, is not very different to the steps required or testing small cells.

Due to the pressures of delivering more is shorter duration's, it can sometimes be a challenge to finish all of these to the highest possible standards. In any case, if its not done in the right way, the end results are visible soon enough, once it goes live.