CommScope goals for straightforward C-band upgrades with new antennas
CommScope introduced new antenna solutions this week to make C-band upgrades easier for operators.
CommScope says three main upgrade paths can be supported for C-band antennas, two of which allow the operator to replace an existing multiband antenna with one that also includes C-band support. The additional C-band functionality does not change the size of the antenna, which the manufacturer says will avoid structural relocation changes that can be expensive or lead to higher site leasing fees.
In particular, it offers a passive multiband antenna that supports low, mid and C-band in a single housing. and a modular antenna configuration option that includes full-length mid-band, low-band arrays and a replaceable module with C-band support via an active 64T64R antenna unit or a passive 8T8R antenna.
RELATED: Condensing the C-Band Focus
In the announcement, Mobile Experts’ Joe Madden noted the importance of antenna size for C-band upgrades.
“The industry is facing a major challenge in deploying C-bands because of the huge size of multiband antennas covering existing LTE bands and new 5G bands,” said Madden, founder and chief analyst for Mobile Experts, in an explanation. “Operators are looking for solutions that will reduce the size of a multiband antenna for C-band site upgrades.”
CommScope’s new products also support a stand-alone passive or active C-band antenna setup.
Johanna Alvarado, Senior Analyst at ABI Research, also commented on modular antennas in the press release.
“Modular antennas for 5G in the C-band are undoubtedly a way for operators to deploy 5G faster, especially if they enable new frequencies and can also support older technologies,” explained Alvarado. “The new CommScope modular antenna will help operators reduce clutter at the cell site and simplify the planning of application processes that are arguably major challenges in deploying nationwide 5G networks.”
In the US, the first tranche of the C-band spectrum for 5G is expected to be released in late 2021, and AT&T and Verizon each have deployment plans when the first batch becomes available. This includes first of all overlaying the C-band with existing macro sites.
AT&T last week announced plans to leverage Nokia’s C-band portfolio, including Massive MIMO antenna solutions, MacH Remote Radio Heads (RRH) and AirScale baseband devices.
In addition to C-band, CommScope also offers new antenna products for CBRS with support for sub-6 GHz bands. The CBRS antenna portfolio featured optimized pattern options and dual beam technology that effectively doubled the capacity of the cell site and enabled use in six sectors at a lower cost.
Some of the products are available in stores now, while others are slated to appear in the coming months.
To reduce wind load, CommScope added a 360 degree design to optimize wind flow around the antennas and reduce costs and negative effects of wind load. This design will be part of the supplier’s global antenna portfolio.
CommScope also introduced customizable low-band RF combiners for the 700 MHz band. Aimed at operators in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, they support new bands without the need for additional base station antennas or heavier tower weight.
After a three-day auction, the British operators have just got their hands on the new 700 MHz spectrum and the spectrum in the 3.6 GHz band.
“Operators will continue to accelerate their adoption of 5G networks in 2021 as governments around the world free up additional spectrum to accommodate more mobile users and data,” said Farid Firouzbakht, senior vice president of Outdoor Wireless Networks, CommScope in an explanation. “Our new antenna solutions make it easier, faster and cheaper for mobile network operators to set up their 5G networks across the entire spectrum.”