LTE Technologies and Trends in APAC
In an Interview with LteWorld, Navin Vohra, Vice President, Wireless Sales, Asia Pacific, CommScope, explained CommScope's role and offerings in LTE technology domain. Here’s what he had to say on LTE technologies and trends in APAC:
What is CommScope's role and offerings in LTE technology domain?
CommScope is a leading global provider of connectivity and essential infrastructure solutions for communications networks. Our network infrastructure solutions help customers increase bandwidth; maximize existing capacity; improve network performance and availability; increase energy efficiency; and simplify technology migration. You will find our solutions in the largest buildings, venues and outdoor spaces; in data centers and buildings of all shapes, sizes and complexity; at wireless cell sites and in cable headends; and in airports, trains, and tunnels. Vital networks around the world run on CommScope solutions.
Our wireless products, solutions and services are tailored to increase network speed, flexibility and reliability. We are the leading wireless infrastructure provider to the most advanced LTE networks, building upon more than 75 years of involvement in every evolution of wireless communication.
Can you tell us about demand for bandwidth, capacity and “Network Modernization” in APAC?
APAC is the world leader in bandwith and mobile traffic consumption, as well as the fastest-growing in terms of demand. It is also a region with varied levels of LTE deployment. Some countries are already looking towards 5G while others are just embarking on their LTE journey.
Regardless of the status of LTE deployment, operators share common challenges to meet increasing capacity demands, site acquisition in dense urban areas and also issues like speed of deployment and maintaining a high level of network performance to keep their customers satisfied.
Tackling these challenges and also the implementation of new technologies like LTE and 5G often require networks to be modernized. While there is much to consider in network modernization, the 3 most important ones are:
• PIM matters: Passive Intermodulation (PIM) can affect sensitive LTE networks, causing a drop in network performance and throughput. A 1dB drop in uplink sensitivity due to PIM reduces coverage by 11 percent.
• Maximizing capacity in existing cell sites: With new cell sites increasingly difficult to secure due to regulations and just a lack of space, operators need to actively use techniques like sector sculpting that allows cell sectors to be crafted precisely to avoid cell overlaps that affect network capacity. Another way to maximize capacity at existing sites is to replace single beam antennas with multi-beam ones since that means capacity is multiplied without taking up extra space on the cell tower.
• Speed to market: Speed to market is important to operators as it becomes a competitive advantage. However networks are increasingly complex so having a strategy for this is very important. CommScope works closely with operators on this and one of the results is the SiteRise solution, the world’s first pre-assembled tower tops. Since assembly and testing is done at the factory, it simplifies tower assembly and cuts out costly installation errors. This approach also standardizes infrastructure and really helps in improving speed of deployment and helps operators go to market much faster.
What are key differentiators of CommScope's LTE offerings?
CommScope has a history that includes more than 75 years of involvement in the evolution of wireless communication. Organic growth and strategic collaboration and acquisitions gave the company access to the innovative ideas and technology it needed to become the global RF industry leader that it is today. As the demands on the industry evolve, CommScope continues to drive the innovation that will help customers create, innovate, design and build faster and better networks.
We are always working very closely with operators all over the world and are also actively involved in industry standardization groups. This helps us to come up with solutions that truly meet operators’ needs.
What is CommScope’s current LTE market reach and growth plans?
CommScope has been intimately involved in nearly every major LTE roll-out across the globe. In the Asian markets, LTE is still being deployed in many countries and we see an opportunity to provide solutions to operators in the region to help them with their initial LTE deployments and also to optimize their networks even as they mature.
What are best practices in LTE implementation and how CommScope's solution helps network operators?
From our extensive involvement in LTE networks globally, we found quite a few areas that operators need to pay attention to and consider in their LTE rollouts.
• Co-Siting: Multiple operators, technologies and channel elements will need to exist in the same sites. This introduces the possibility of interference so operators need to be thorough with PIM testing and use combining and filtering solutions. There is also a need for operators to future-proof and the use of multiband antennas can help them prepare for additional spectrum that could be used in the same site in the future.
• FTTA Implementation: Fiber to the antenna (FTTA) architecture increases efﬁciency especially at higher frequencies. Hybrid cable—a combination of ﬁber and power cable in a single run—can greatly streamline installation and simplify site infrastructure. Since a hybrid cable typically contains many ﬁbers, one run can support multiple RRUs and even include extra ﬁbers for future expansion.
• Antenna Selection: Antennas need to support higher modulation schemes than were required for 2G/3G networks. LTE also requires antennas with optimal RF containment to prevent sector overlap. There are also considerations around MIMO and electrical tilt.
• Small Cells: Small cells allow the addition of capacity without building new macro infrastructure to meet growing demand. Again, there are considerations around sector overlaps and interference.
Our solutions were created with these considerations in mind. For example, we have recently come up with an optical PIM tester that simplifies the task of testing for PIM. Another example is that we also provide concealment solutions that not only help operators densify their networks but also conceal the antennas with minimal effects on the RF patterns. This allows operators to get around site acquisition challenges while increasing network capacity.
We’ve compiled these best practices and more in an LTE Best Practices e-book that can be downloaded for free at our website.
What is your view on 5G and its availability?
5G is increasingly being talked about in much the same way that 4G was in the second part of the 2000s. Fundamental technical definitions of 5G are emerging amidst thoughts about what 5G will need to deliver. CommScope’s fundamental viewpoint in regards to 5G is that it truly will be a “network of networks.” The ongoing cell densification involving macro sites, indoor areas, metro cells and small cells must continue in order to deliver 5G speeds and capacity. 5G will require adding more spectrum which must be accounted for in the network equipment that will also support existing 3G and 4G networks.
As with each of the G’s before it, no one can say with certainty what 5G will be until it is defined and standardized by the ITU-Telecommunication Standardization Sector. One thing is for certain and has also been proven by cellular history – when it is established as a standard we will be ready to exploit whatever it enables us to produce, deliver and consume. We’re excited by the possibilities of what this could entail.
About Mr. Navin Vohra, Vice-President - Wireless Sales, Asia Pacific at CommScope
Navin Vohra is the Vice President of Wireless Sales for APAC at CommScope and is responsible for leading all of wireless sales activities in the Asia Pacific region excluding China. A 27 year veteran in the telecommunications industry, Vohra previously served as vice president of sales for India and South Asia region for CommScope. Vohra holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering, electronics and communication from Delhi Institute of Technology and a master’s degree in business administration from Institute of Management Technology, Ghaziabad.