Sunday, 10 October 2021

Multi-sectorised sites and Small Cells help O2 UK handle Capacity in Busy Areas

Radio planning becomes essential in dense urban areas where operators don't only have to serve the highly mobile users but also slow moving pedestrians and users indoors. One some location in London, UK, is O2 UK's highest capacity Nokia site with six-sector low-band LTE in 800 and 900MHz in addition to high-band 4T4R L18/L21, 8T8R L23 as well as standard n78 8T8R 5G.

The site also features numerous high-end Commscope antennas with dual-beam panels that are needed to create six-sector LTE 800 and 900 MHz and then 24 port antennas that carry all the other including 8T8R 2300 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz as well as n78 8T8R.

In addition, O2 has multitude of Nokia Small cells sprinkled across the City of London. While these come in all different shape and configurations. In many locations there are ones with directional antennas while there are others with omni-directional antennas as well.

The small cells are located on their own poles, rather than lamp posts and many of these also feature Wi-Fi access points as additional means to alleviate the capacity crunch. In fact they can also be mounted on-top of phone boxes, shops, side of buildings, etc. 

If this is an area of interest and you enjoyed reading the post above, you will no doubt enjoy watching this short video from Peter Clarke who has a great collection of infrastructure from UK and Ireland on his website here. Video as follows:

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Thursday, 30 September 2021

Metrocells to help Telstra Increase Density for Greater Capacity and Speed

We looked at Telstra's Small Cells some years back. While they were 4G only or 3G/4G back in those days, now small cells are also being talked about for 5G.

On their Q&A page on small cells, Telstra has explained what they mean by them. In fact we also wrote about how Telstra is using small cells to do EME testing here.

In their investor day this earlier this month, Telstra presented their T25 vision and the role of small cells in that. During the last three years, they’ve been talking about the journey of transformation that they have called T22. T22 was a strategy of necessity – a strategy designed to transform every aspect of Telstra. The new T25 strategy is being billed as a strategy for growth, which they have broken down into four pillars:

  • Provide an exceptional customer experience you can count on
  • Provide leading network and technology solutions that deliver your future
  • Create sustained growth and value for our shareholders
  • Be the place you want to work

As you can see in the slide above, Pillar 2 of their T25 strategy is focused on leading network and technology solutions that deliver the future. As they describe in their analyst day notes:

There is no doubt we are continuing to see rapid technology adoption and innovation. This is manifesting as a convergence between core telecommunications technology and software-based technology solutions.

What this means is that Telstra not only needs to continue to lead in telecommunications technology with the best networks, but also increasingly lead in the role that software plays in orchestrating and managing the network and integrating applications and services for customer solutions. 

Under T25 we will continue to invest in our network leadership in 5G with 95% population coverage and 80% of all mobile network traffic being on 5G by FY25. We also plan to double the number of metro sites leveraging small cell technologies to further densify and add capacity to the network and we will add at least another 100,000 square kilometres of mobile coverage to our national footprint to support regional and remote customers.

By FY24 we will have extended our 4G coverage to 100% of our network enabling us to continue to lead in composite coverage, speed and performance for 4G and 5G as we close 3G. This will set us up well for the early planning on 6G which will clearly be on the agenda by the end of our T25 program.

We will be a vastly different company because of our network leadership with 95% 5G population coverage, a densified small cell network and expanded regional coverage.

Hopefully, the end users will be the real winners with these network upgrades.

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Friday, 17 September 2021

Bigbelly's Telebelly Small Cells to Connect Rural and Urban Users


Bigbelly claims to be the world leader of smart waste and recycling solutions for public spaces. According to their website, they have a proven solution that has been deployed in 50 countries around the globe. When the company started back in 2003, the mission was to transform one of the least efficient and resource heavy operations - waste operations. Today, Bigbelly provides a public right-of-way platform to deliver smart solutions and host communications infrastructure.

Earlier this year, they announced that Telebelly, an integrated pole and antenna solution that expands the Bigbelly station’s service by offering enhanced wireless services to the communities it serves, is set to boost connectivity across UK cities following its decision to launch. The press release said:

The move is expected to accelerate growth of the UK’s small cell network, which is a series of small antennas attached to existing urban infrastructure within densely populated areas. It will also pave the way for 5G by making it easier for telecommunication companies to deploy a faster and more reliable service without relying on large-scale mast installations.

Telebelly, which is 4G and 5G capable, will also reduce visual clutter associated with the growing number of small cells currently secured externally to fixed structures such as streetlights, as it is securely and internally housed.

Bigbelly anticipates interest in Telebelly from UK local authorities, which are seeking solutions for their public spaces that utliise, wherever possible, existing or multi-purpose infrastructure.

Councils, mobile network operators and other third parties are now able to consider the existing 2,500 Bigbelly units in operation across the UK, as well as new locations, for potential Telebelly sites. Wherever a public waste bin is appropriate, a Telebelly may be the solution to hide small cells in plain sight.

Meanwhile their press release in Australia announced:

Today Bigbelly Solar, Cellular Asset Management Services, and Smartsensor Technologies, Bigbelly distributor in Australia, announce they have deployed a number of Telebelly Wireless cabinets, a hybrid telecom and waste management cabinet to benefit the community providing waste services and wireless coverage.

Bigbelly Solar says this is a global first, with Blackman Park in the municipality of Lane Cove being the first one in the world to go live.

The Lane Cove council commented: “Lane Cove has been using Bigbelly compacting waste bins successfully in the community to help provide more capacity and a cleaner environment compared to conventional litter bins. The integration of this solution with mobile connectivity allows us to additionally provide much needed mobile service in currently underserved locations.”

Bigbelly Solar says the benefit of these units is that they blend in with the surrounding environment and matches the recognisable form of an adjacent big belly waste bin.

Not only does the community benefit from the increased mobile coverage footprint, each new Telebelly station now features a Bigbelly high capacity solar-powered waste compactor, complete with hands-free capabilities.

In addition to providing 4G voice and data services, the Telebelly could also be configured to provide Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity and Wi-Fi. A strong and reliable wireless connectivity not only provides a telecom advantage; such a service improves safety and security around public spaces.

Telecommunications have played an integral part during the recent Covid-19 crisis, allowing Australians to continue to work from home and stay connected with friends and family.

For those living in areas with limited coverage due to topography, small infrastructure solutions allow mobile operators to utilise public spaces such as parks and community ovals with coverage while also providing waste solution for the community’s benefit. Bigbelly Solar says these smaller solutions will reduce congestion on the network thus allowing mobile operators to provide mobile coverage in homes and businesses.

Meanwhile in the USA, where their Smart Waste & Recycling solution has been deployed in all 50 states, they deployed Telebelly small solutions in Milwaukee last year. Their blog post says:

The City of Milwaukee first connected with Bigbelly when a major wireless carrier reached out regarding siting challenges ahead of a significant event in the area. The event was fast approaching, and the city required a solution to host small cell in those central, inevitably high-traffic locations. The City looked to solve the all-too-common problem of hiding small cell infrastructure in a manner with the least visual impact. In other words: their complex technology needed to hide in plain sight.

Like many central locations, these high-traffic downtown areas were deemed to be “aesthetically sensitive.” Project approval was fully contingent on the Telebelly’s concealment solution: its ability to be compact, efficient, safe, and self-effacing.

The City was excited about the Telebelly’s multipurpose capabilities, such as small cell hosting, smart waste, IT hosting and more. But most importantly, Milwaukee was intrigued by the Telebelly’s ubiquitous form factor; its simple & understated aesthetic is inherently non-intrusive. This was essential to their form factor challenge.

Within six months of the initial conversation with the wireless carrier, the Telebellies were installed and ready to go! Already, both wireless carriers and the City are thrilled with the installation & performance of their new fleet, and assert that the Telebelly units are an excellent solution for areas which are traditionally difficult to permit.

Readers of this blog will no doubt be aware of many different solutions for both the scenarios listed above, coverage and capacity, that I have covered over the years with similar solutions. It remains to be seen how operators and councils embrace it. 

Embedded below is a detailed video from them from Smart Cities Week 2020, discussing "Smart Alternatives to Small Cell Deployment":

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Friday, 10 September 2021

Ericsson's Street Solutions

Ericsson’s announced that their Street portfolio offers operators and other service providers an opportunity to seamlessly bring connectivity to where it is needed. Part of the Ericsson Radio System, the street solutions are an integrated part of the network, with feature parity and end-to-end performance. 


In a recent press release they announced:

5G deployments are accelerating across the country at a faster rate than expected. According to Ericsson’s annual mobility report, by the end of 2021, 25 percent of the global population will have 5G coverage. In North America, more than 360 million 5G subscriptions are anticipated in the region by 2026, accounting for 84 percent of mobile subscriptions.

However, connectivity can suffer in dense urban environments, and as 5G comes to U.S. cities, urban rollouts are grappling with challenges like how to deploy non-intrusive sites, how best to utilize all frequency layers, and how to streamline site permitting and installation. Many sites need to expand 5G capacity, and hotspots and streets need strengthened capacity in both low, mid and high-band to build a complete 5G network as traffic grows.

Powered by Ericsson Silicon, these new solutions are:

  • Street Radio 4402: Designed to turn a streetlight into a low- or mid-band 5G site in 15 minutes, these compact radios are an industry-unique collaboration with Ubicquia, boosting 4G and 5G experience with zero footprint;
  • AIR 4435: The world’s smallest 4T4R street antenna-integrated radio is designed for minimum footprint and easy installations, adding excellent mid-band capacity to macro coverage gaps;
  • Street Macro 6705: A complete mmWave base station with integrated RAN Compute is an industry-leading end-to-end solution with low visual impact.

Ericsson Street Solutions also include transport solutions for any 5G street site, with wired and wireless backhaul and fronthaul solutions. And zero footprint power systems for street and hotspot sites are 100 percent carry to site, with low maintenance and operations costs.

A brochure with all the necessary details is available here.

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Saturday, 28 August 2021

Samsung's 3GPP-Compliant PS-LTE Network

After having been discussed for years by others, Samsung finally announced back in April that they are powering the world’s first 3GPP-compliant nationwide public safety LTE (PS-LTE) network in Korea, in collaboration with leading mobile operators.

A press release from them said:

This PS-LTE network, operating in the 700MHz spectrum, offers fast and reliable connectivity to first responders in over 330 public safety organizations and agencies, including police, firefighters, emergency medical services and the military.

The deployment includes Samsung’s Mission-Critical Push-to-Talk (MCPTT) with multimedia broadcast capabilities, known as evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service (eMBMS). This enables simultaneous transmission to up to 2,500 user devices per cell, which is more than twice the volume of devices supported by previous generation technologies.

In this buildout, the PS-LTE network was also interconnected with the existing LTE-Maritime (LTE-M) and LTE-Railway (LTE-R) networks that were already operating in the 700MHz spectrum.

With nationwide coverage, the network serves as a unified platform that helps ensure interoperability among various public safety institutions. This delivers real-time accessibility and enhanced communications capabilities among public safety agencies and personnel in emergency situations.

They also released an Infographic and a Whitepaper.

In a recent Networks Techtalk, Timothy Paul discussed Samsung’s latest end-to-end MCPTX solutions that provide powerful data and video communications capabilities designed for first responders and public safety officials. The video of that is embedded below:

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Friday, 13 August 2021

MatSing's High-Capacity RF Lens Antennas

We have looked at the Lens antennas in a few blog posts indirectly. The most recent being Facebook's SuperCell while others being Altaeros’ Autonomous Tethered Aerial Cell Tower and Verizon's U.S. Bank Stadium

In a recent press release, MatSing announced that it has been selected by the Dallas Cowboys and its network provider AT&T, along with ExteNet Systems, to provide mobile capacity antenna coverage for AT&T Stadium for the upcoming NFL season. Selected extract as follows:

These antenna upgrades will further enhance the exceptional experience provided by AT&T for fans in AT&T Stadium. This deployment follows a test run with reduced crowds during last season. This selection was made due to the capacity of MatSing technology to work with the AT&T systems at the stadium.

Following the installation of 20 MatSing lens antenna by ExteNet covering the Stadium’s entire seating bowl and field with 4G and 5G broadband mobile coverage, the fans and patrons will now experience never seen before performance with their smart devices in the stadium.

“With data demands of cell phones continuing to grow exponentially, driven by new apps and technology, our legacy DAS infrastructure could not keep up with those demands,” explained Cowboys CIO Matthew Messick. “AT&T introduced us to MatSing’s antenna technology, and immediately knew their technology would give us the necessary capabilities with room to grow.”

“Operating the largest indoor DAS network in the United States at AT&T Stadium provides us a unique opportunity to enable the best possible fan experience at one of the NFL’s most iconic venues,” added Rich Coyle, President & Interim CEO, ExteNet Systems. “We thank the Dallas Cowboys for trusting us with this opportunity, and MatSing for providing the clear winning technology for our mobile broadband needs.”

MatSing's spherical lens antennas are based on a unique patented technology that allows a single antenna to provide up to 48 high-capacity coverage sectors, replacing up to 48 traditional antennas with a single lens. Unlike other current solutions, like under-seat antennas, the MatSing lens antennas installed in the roofing structure typically have a clear line-of-sight path to potential users. This significantly reduces the number of antenna locations, as lens antennas can also reach farther than traditional antennas, providing better AT&T coverage and less interference at a lower cost and complexity for the team.

“A smoother Internet experience able to handle modern-day demands of streaming and social media sharing awaits Cowboys fans when they return to AT&T stadium,” added Michael Matytsine, MatSing co-founder and EVP of Operations. “Even when the stadium is at full capacity, lens antennas will provide a smoother data experience with fewer interruptions for fans who have embraced streaming and sharing as an intrinsic part of their stadium experience.”

AT&T, ExteNet and MatSing will continue to work with the Cowboys to maintain and test the lens equipment ahead of the season, ensuring its readiness for wider use by fans in AT&T Stadium.

MatSing lens antennas have also been present in the inauguration's of US presidents. The one from this year is in the Tweet above while the one from last election in 2016 is available here.

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Friday, 6 August 2021

Panorama's ESN Antennas

It feels like last year when I was involved in testing some emergency networks but it was a long while back.

Believe it or not, your mobile network is only as good as the antennas. How often have I come across networks that try and add some cheaper antennas to cut down the costs but the loss of coverage, especially on the edges is a far bigger loss than saving some money on the antennas. 

The UK's Emergency Services Network (ESN) is moving along nicely, though far slower than most people expected it to. One of the important pieces of the puzzle is different types of antennas that are needed on the blue light vehicles. The image on the top nicely summarises these antennas and a brochure with details is available from Panorama here. In fact you can check out all different types of antennas here.

The following videos provide an idea on how these antennas look and work

Do check out other posts below related to ESN on our blogs.

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Friday, 30 July 2021

Nokia's FastMile for 5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA)

Fixed Wireless is a hot topic, especially with 5G. We made a tutorial on that back in 2018, available here. While there are many different CPEs (Customer Premises Equipments) available, for the big players as well as the smaller ones, Nokia's FastMile caught my attention.

The Australian operator Optus has been selling and promoting the FastMile solution for FWA in Aus. You can see a lot of unboxing videos on YouTube, one nice one here.

There are couple of solutions available. In our tutorial, we talk about a combined CPE + router in a box and a separate CPE whose output is connected to a router. Nokia has a solution for both of these. 

The FastMile 5G Gateways (link) is the combined CPE + router. The video below shows how it works.

The FastMile 5G Receiver on the other hand is just a 5G CPE whose output is then connected to a router to create a hotspot. The video below sort of explains it:

Nokia is enjoying reasonable success with FastMile which can be seen from some of their announcements on the web. One such embedded as Tweet below:

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Wednesday, 21 July 2021

ZTE explains 5G CDN in a new White Paper

ZTE recently released a new whitepaper analyzing in detail the challenges confronted by content delivery network (CDN) in the 5G era. it also proposes architecture and technology trends suitable for the evolution of CDN to content edge clouds. Finally, the WP shares deployment cases of actual applications.

The announcement states:

With 5G entering into an era where video "reigns supreme", the video demand of individual users continues to rise, and that of businesses has also shown explosive growth in the context of the pandemic, such as interactive live broadcasting, online education, and cloud gaming. Immersive experiences including high-definition channels, VR/AR and 8K+ ultra-high-definition services have witnessed rapid development. Enterprise users are accelerating their digital transformation, and video digital applications like video conferencing, video surveillance, live broadcast of venues and telemedicine are becoming increasingly popular. Various video services require the networks to have stronger distribution timeliness, lower service delay and greater bandwidth.

Based on a lightweight vCDN, ZTE's 5G CDN solution provides nearby access, automatic scaling and rapid deployment while realizing resource sharing and reducing backbone network traffic. Relying on the cloud platform, the solution enhances the video processing capabilities with the cloud transcoding function. It also enriches the video PaaS capability components, providing a foundation for the opening of platform capabilities.

With security being as fundamental guarantee, the 5G CDN solution constructs a dynamic security protection system with infrastructure security, content security, service security and data security as the core to ensure the efficient and safe operation of CDN.

ZTE has utilized the 5G CDN solution in various industries including entertainment, culture, education, games, sports and more. In the entertainment field, ZTE and China Mobile have completed the trial commercial use of 5G MEC-based 8K VR services, bringing users a brand-new immersive audio-visual experience. 

In the education field, through the integration of interactive live broadcast, business management and other video platform capabilities, ZTE has created for customers the Online education SaaS business featuring multiple teaching scenarios and terminals under the condition of different types and multiple networks, while employing ZTE Wi-Fi6 routers, smart education set-top boxes, smart screen speakers, 5G mobile phones and other terminals to carry the online education services. 

In the gaming field, ZTE 5G CDN provides efficient and secure transmission guarantee for cloud gaming services, and it has been commercialized in China Telecom’s networks. In the field of cultural tourism, relying on its powerful media processing capabilities, ZTE’s 5G CDN is able to help present high-definition live content of scenic spots, thereby allowing China Mobile's customers to enjoy the scenic spots in Shaanxi on the cloud. 

In the sports industry, by virtue of the powerful rendering and distribution capabilities, with 5G CDN, ZTE and China Unicom have jointly realized free viewpoint 4K live broadcast service featuring the industry's lowest latency in the "Meeting Beijing" ice event speed skating test competition in April 2021. The measured end-to-end delay is as low as 0.3 seconds, delivering the ultimate smart game watching experience to the audience.

As one of the largest CDN network solution providers, ZTE, backed up with its profound accumulation of ultra-high-definition video technology and 5G communication technology, will keep focusing on customer demand, innovative technologies and optimizing experience, so as to provide a better video service experience and assist operators in laying out 5G vertical industry applications.

The whitepaper is available here.

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Friday, 9 July 2021

NEC's O-RAN Compliant Massive MIMO Radios


NEC has recently started receiving recognition and the attention is deserves for its massive MIMO radio units and other 5G infrastructure. Back at MWC 2019, they was already showing showing their O-RAN compliant Open RAN radio units (see tweet below)

Just in time for MWC 2021, NEC announced the launch of new radio units (RU) for 5G base stations that are geared for global markets and are scheduled to be available in 2022. Their press release said:

In terms of functionality, the new RUs will be compatible with the n77, n78 and C-Band 3.7GHz frequency band (3.3-4.2GHz), which is globally used as a 5G frequency. In addition, ultra-multi-element antennas utilizing Massive MIMO (*) and digital beamforming for high-precision beams will help to provide high-speed, high-capacity communications between a wider range of terminals. Also, the new RUs will feature higher output and wider bandwidth when compared to conventional products, thereby expanding the communications area and providing high-speed transmission. NEC's proprietary high-density mounting technology, power saving technology, and fanless design will also enable a compact format that is lightweight and power efficient.

The RUs will conform to O-RAN fronthaul interface specifications defined by the O-RAN Alliance and will be compatible with base station equipment from different vendors, making it possible to realize open, flexible and optimized networks according to a wide range of use cases.

At the MWC 2021 Virtual Stand, NEC was boldly showing off their O-RAN Compliant 5G Radio Units. Their product features include:


  • Full Digital Beamforming to Improve Customer Experience: AAS(Active Antenna System) improves the radio quality and realizes stable quality of service by Full Digital Beamforming
  • Sub6GHz Massive MIMO AAS for Macro Cells: Best suited for optimizing coverage and capacity in dense population areas. Can also be utilized as an “in-building” solution by horizontally penetrating the beam into buildings.
  • mmWave Massive MIMO AAS for Small Cells: Designed to be compact and light weight easing installation and expanding site options, and also reducing operational cost with its low power consumption feature.

With so many new hardware players emerging as a result of Open Networks, it remains to be seen if NEC is able to make most of its Massive MIMO leadership.

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Thursday, 1 July 2021

Bringing Connectivity to Underground Rail Network

It's always been a challenge to bring mobile connectivity to commuters in the underground rail network. The same challenges extend to mines and other facilities under the ground. One solution that has been widely adopted is the use of leaky feeders as antennas.

This solution is also used to compliment the existing terrestrial network in case of tunnels. We made a small tutorial looking at this from metro point of view but the same solution is applicable in many different scenarios. 

The video and slides are embedded below


5G presents a small challenge for this as it is tricky to go beyond 4T4R easily. Each T/R requires a leaky feeder which makes it expensive as well as challenging in other scenarios.

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Saturday, 26 June 2021

Vodafone UK's 5G Infrastructure


Ker Anderson, Head of Radio and Performance, Vodafone UK did an IET presentation looking at Vodafone's infrastructure, especially 5G infrastructure. The video from that has been publicly shared so it is embedded below.

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Friday, 18 June 2021

Cell-Site Construction And Evolution Strategies


We all agree that cell sites are complex beasts. The diagram above shows in a simple way all the tasks that may be necessary for cell site deployment. Late last year, ABI Research produced a whitepaper on "Global Cell-Site Construction And Evolution Strategies" that they made freely available here. Quoting the executive summary below:

5G networks are being rapidly deployed around the world with many of these networks working in parallel to existing legacy cellular technologies, such as 2G/3G and 4G, to provide higher data connections of 10X more throughput than 4G. 5G networks typically use high-frequency spectral resources (C-band and mmWave) and, according to the International Mobile Telecommunications 2020 (IMT-2020), the downlink and uplink peak data rate of a 5G network should be 20 Gigabits per Second (Gbps) and 10 Gbps, respectively, with downlink and uplink peak cell spectral efficiency of 30 bit/Second (s)/Hertz (Hz) and 15 bit/s/Hz, respectively. The use of higher frequency bands, which suffer from higher penetration loss and the continuous increase in requested data rates for end users, dictate the necessity of higher network availability and network capacity, which could be achieved through additional spectral resources and network densification. Many MNOs have already bought at auction spectrum for 5G deployment, but the network capacity can be maximized through network densification. Thus, the acquisition of cell site assets is critical for Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) for the effective performance of 5G networks.

These network requirements have brought huge challenges to MNOs, local governments, vendors, and System Integrators (SI), as some of those challenges are well-known unsolved issues evidenced by the deployment of legacy generations of cellular technologies and have become even more relevant now with the advent of 5G and the expected large-scale cell site densification.

These challenges range from the high cost associated with deploying network infrastructure at street level, to complex approval processes from local government, including lengthy and expensive site acquisition processes; lack of power availability; limited backhaul availability; lengthy planning application processes for street works or build works; limited space availability on premises and within street furniture; size and flexibility of existing cellular equipment that can fit the different rollout scenarios (e.g., smaller antennas to fit within wall-mounted small cell enclosures); lack of availability of underground space for the deployment of a new chamber and ducts; decluttering policies from local governments that can largely impact the deployment of 5G networks; and increasing tenancy fees for additional 5G equipment and increased power supply.

In response to this situation, there is some pressure on telecom equipment vendors to come forward with solutions that suit each rollout scenario. Improved physical features, such as smaller form factor antennas similar to the Wi-Fi Access Points (APs), lighter-weight and smaller Massive Multiple Input, Multiple Output (mMIMO) antennas, and an innovative variety of vendor equipment, backhaul, and reduced power consumption solutions will help MNOs address these challenges and stay ahead of the competition.

Finally, unlike previous generations of cellular technologies, policymakers, urban planners, and local governments have an important role to play, providing more flexible legislation that enable the rollout of network infrastructure at a faster speed by providing clear guidelines for easy access to the assets for the deployment of cellular infrastructure.

While many topics have been covered in the whitepaper, one of the issues I have closely experiences is the insufficient power for the new upgrades. Again, quoting from the whitepaper:

ENERGY

When deploying a cell site, the power requirement can typically be categorized as: 1) static power consumption, which is associated with the support system of a base station, and 2) dynamic power consumption, which is associated with the data traffic load. For a cell site, the amount of energy consumption varies depending on the amount of equipment and the number of frequency bands supported. Optimizing energy consumption can help operators lower their OPEX and achieve environmental goals.

CHALLENGES

Insufficient DC power capacity. Energy consumption is expected to increase with 5G deployments. New frequency bands and an increased number of equipment contribute to the this. Research on developed markets indicates that the maximum power consumption of a typical site supporting five bands could exceed 10 Kilowatts (kW). However, the reality is that about 30% of macrocell sites do not have a power supply that could support such power requirements. The common solution for energy expansion is adding more rectifiers or more energy cabinets. However, the equipment room or cabinet do not always have sufficient space for additional equipment. To cater to the increasing demand for energy, operators need to either find solutions that improve the existing equipment’s efficiency or construct new cabinets at sites. However, newly constructed cabinets also entail increased civil work and rental costs for operators.

Grid reconstruction. Grid power for the existing sites may be insufficient, especially due to the increase in power consumption with a 5G deployment. Such sites need grid modernization, which can be expensive and can greatly slow down the pace of a 5G deployment. Due to the process and construction requirements, the time to modernize the grid could be up to a year for each site.

Insufficient power backup. Operators need to meet the strict five nines or high availability of services. Ensuring business continuity is crucial for any operator. In times of prolonged bad weather or a power outage, grid and solar energy might not be available to power the cell site. Energy storage systems with lead-acid or lithium-ion batteries, for example, are required to mitigate the risk of a power outage. Most existing networks are still using lead-acid batteries, while the low-energy density, heavy weight, and big volume of a lead-acid battery make it difficult to do an expansion when deploying 5G.

High electricity cost. Another key challenge for operators is how to optimize energy efficiency, translating into good investments by operators. Relying solely on the electric grid could result in high energy expenditure, and the need to consider multiple energy resources. Traffic usage is also not constant throughout the day and varies depending on the location (e.g., city centers versus suburbs). How operators can manage the energy system intelligently and efficiently to reduce unnecessary waste becomes a core consideration.

Given the rapid development of 5G technology and an increasing host of service applications, computing is getting closer to users, with communication technologies and information technologies evolving toward converged Information and Communications Technology (ICT) architecture at an ever-faster pace. The increasing applications and computing required at the edge means that the power supply demand is expected to increase. Therefore, it is necessary to consider the amount of Alternating Current (AC)/Direct Current (DC) power supply needed at the cell site, as well as the number of equipment rooms that are required.

The paper goes on to describe the solutions. You can download the paper here.

If you have a favourite cell site issue do let us know in the comments.

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Friday, 11 June 2021

AWS for Public and Private 5G Networks

wrote about AWS Edge being used to power Private Networks and Industry 4.0 back in March. Since then we had this big announcement from DISH and AWS about formation of 'Strategic Collaboration to Reinvent 5G Connectivity and Innovation'.

It talks about how the new US operator, DISH, will leverage AWS infrastructure and services to build a cloud-based, 5G Open Radio Access Network (O-RAN) that delivers consistent, cost-effective performance from core to the edge. 

Netmanias has done an awesome job of explaining how AWS will be used in the Dish network and compares it with the Rakuten Virtualised network. Reproducing the original from them below.


In addition, they have also done a fantastic job of explaining how different operators are planning to use AWS in their Networks. 


You can read more details for each of the operators below:

  • AWS and Verizon Expand 5G Collaboration with Private MEC Solution
  • AWS and Vodafone Business Bring Edge Computing Closer to Organizations in Europe
  • Announcing the first AWS Wavelength Zone in South Korea on SK Telecom (SKT)’s 5G network
  • KDDI To Launch "AWS Wavelength" On December 16, Offering Ultra Low Latency on the 5G Network Edge
  • Singtel and Optus expand 5G ecosystems with AWS for 5G edge computing
  • Telefónica Germany / O2 builds new 5G core network in the cloud
  • DISH and AWS Form Strategic Collaboration to Reinvent 5G Connectivity and Innovation
  • Bell Canada teams up with AWS for edge computing

Let us know what you think about the operator strategy of moving to AWS for something or other.

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Friday, 4 June 2021

Three UK's Gigabit 5G Poles Explained


Peter Clarke does a great service to the mobile industry, especially in UK, with his detailed look at the mobile network's infrastructure. 

Three UK was Huawei shop but after the limitations imposed on them, they moved to Ericsson and announced with a big bang.

When they said in December that they will have 1000 5G sites, many were left wondering how many of those would be Huawei and Ericsson

But they did make a fantastic progress transitioning to E///

Now Peter has made a video detailing the Ericsson Three UK sites. It has a lot of useful information and is embedded below.

Let us know what do you think.

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Friday, 28 May 2021

Nokia Smart Node Modular 4G/5G Femtocell

We wrote about Nokia's 5G Small Cells late last year and about AirScale indoor Radio (ASiR) Small Cells back in July. Now they have just announced the launch of the Nokia Smart Node, a unique indoor mobile module solution delivering high-quality 4G and 5G indoor mobile coverage for residential and small-medium enterprise use. In simple words, a modular 4G/5G femtocell.

The press release said:

The compact, ‘plug and play’ modular design can be deployed readily in any environment to support evolving consumer applications. It is future-proofed to support 4G now and 5G networks when required and both non-stand-alone and stand-alone 5G applications through a software upgrade. Nokia Smart Node is available from Q4 2021.

Stylish, durable and smart, Nokia Smart Node is a dedicated indoor mobile solution with superior coverage and capacity and can be easily scaled from single to multiple units to meet total indoor coverage requirements. Its high-quality coverage, latency and reliability delivers ubiquitous 5G connectivity for specific use cases such as immersive entertainment. The ‘plug and play’ capabilities also make it easy to set up, which keeps installation costs to a minimum. It can be wall, ceiling or desktop mounted.

Nokia Smart Node supports traffic management by reducing core network load and optimizing macro resource allocation. It delivers uncongested high throughput network performance with existing secure authentication and provides a secure connection and SIM-based authentication to assure the quality required in mobile networks.

Mobile World Live added:

Nokia is marketing the solution to both enterprises and carrier customers. For enterprise customers, the vendor promotes the femto as part of a mobile network that can offer “hack proof” security, without requiring IT managers to understand and install complex security solutions. The Smart Node security solutions include digital certificates, IPSec for encryption with IKEv2, and firewall and tamper alarms.

For network operators, a 5G femto can provide local breakout and reduce operating costs, according to Nokia.  Whereas an outdoor small cell near an enterprise will require power, backhaul and real estate, an indoor solution lets the enterprise itself cover these expenses. The downside, of course, is that indoor solutions typically support just one enterprise customer while outdoor small cells could support several.

More information on Nokia Smart Node Femtocells is available here.

It is worth pointing out that many operators are choosing to phase out their indoor femtocell offerings in favour of Wi-Fi calling (VoWiFi). One such example is Vodafone UK who have announced that their Sure Signal femtocells will be switched off by September 2021

In addition, Wireless Wireline Convergence (WWC) in 5G is also expected to make access connectivity independent of the core services by allowing connectivity over Wi-Fi. This will accelerate phasing out of femtocells in future.

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