Connect (X)

Tag Archives: DAS

July/August 2012: Tower Market Report

Thanks to Small Cells, Coverage Coming to Rural Vermont

The Vermont Telecommunications Authority (VTA) has signed a contract with CoverageCo to provide cellular coverage in parts of northern Vermont previously unserved by carriers. CoverageCo will start deploying the small cells this summer, and commercial service is expected to begin by the end of the year.

“CoverageCo’s small-cell approach allows it to provide service where it was previously not economically feasible,” said Richard P. Biby, CoverageCo CEO. “Because the sites are small and completely IP-based, a standard Internet service over a virtual private network can be used to connect to the core network.”

The multi-standard network technology will allow CoverageCo to enter into agreements with virtually any retail cellular carrier so that subscribers in Vermont may use their existing phones and calling plans in more areas throughout the state. The deployment strategy is to mount the base station on utility poles or on other existing structures along the roadways or other high-use areas.

“Offering our services to existing cellular carriers through roaming agreements allows subscribers to roam onto our network with their existing handsets,” Biby said.

The project will give Connect VT — the governor’s broadband and cellular initiative — and the VTA a demonstration project to assess the ability of CoverageCo’s proposed solution to deliver coverage in rural Vermont. CoverageCo, which is using additional funding outside the government subsidy, may expand the coverage area on its own or it may be furthered by the VTA.

“With this deployment of small-cell technology, we will undertake a demonstration project to expand cellular coverage in target corridors. We are funding and judiciously testing a leading edge technology for its ability to achieve coverage in hard-to-reach places,” said Karen Marshall, chief, Connect VT.

The VTA, which has budgeted $500,000 for the initial build, will purchase equipment to serve nearly 90 miles of unserved roadway in three sections of the state. CoverageCo will lease the equipment from the VTA and operate it as part of its overall network. In addition to the sections sponsored by the VTA, CoverageCo will cover another 125 road miles throughout the state as part of its initial build, funded through private capital investment.

“In order to make deployment of cellular service economical in rural areas, it is important that we do everything we can to lower the cost of the infrastructure,” said Christopher Campbell, executive director of the VTA. “The small-cell solution proposed to the VTA by CoverageCo has the potential to provide service to unserved corridors at a lower cost than conventional cell tower sites.”

CoverageCo is using CompactRAN, the latest generation of small-cell technology from Vanu, where each site is a complete cellular base station in a sealed all-weather outdoor enclosure the size of a ream of paper. The energy-efficient units use software-defined radios and Internet protocol to support both CDMA and GSM technologies and backhaul the signal using an Internet connection.

Beating Deadline, Rizzo Delivers DAS Before NATO Summit

In preparation for the 2012 NATO Summit in Chicago, which brought 10,000 people from 28 countries to Chicago last month, Rizzo Consulting was hired to deploy two DASs at the McCormick Place Convention Center, which spreads out across 2.6 million square feet of convention halls and more than 600,000 square feet of meeting room space. It was a project that required background checks and a high-stress, tight deadline for the integrator.

“They weren’t going to move the date of the NATO Summit for us, so time was of the essence,” Joseph Rizzo, company president, told DAS Bulletin. “The project began in January and was completed a week before the NATO Summit, held May 18-21.”

Adding to an existing TE Connectivity DAS, Rizzo Consulting deployed discrete systems for Sprint Nextel and AT&T, which significantly increased capacity. Only cellular frequencies were included. The AT&T system was designed by the carrier and installed by Rizzo, and the Sprint Nextel system was designed, installed and commissioned by Rizzo.

“The previous system was very small. We added fiber and added higher-capacity equipment and more of it. It is very robust now,” said Rizzo. “It’s a challenge having one system designed for us versus performing a turnkey deployment. One way usually works better than the other.”

Rizzo provided all construction, project management and RF engineering services. As part of the integration process, Rizzo performed on-site engineering, optimization and tuning of the DAS network.

Partnership Opens NEC’s Universe to SpiderCloud Technology

NEC is partnering with SpiderCloud Wireless to provide the SmartCloud system to its existing and new customers as part of an end-to-end small-cell solution, the companies announced at the Small Cells World Summit 2012, held June 26-28, in London.

“With NEC we have an established player in the small cell/femto cell market that has already been deploying solutions from other vendors in this space and are engaged with 20 major operators worldwide,” Ronny Haraldsvik, SpiderCloud spokesman, told DAS Bulletin. “It gives us a tremendous amount of go-to-market strength with a proven partner in this space.”

SpiderCloud’s emphasis on medium to large size enterprise deployments, which demand hundreds of radio nodes serving thousands of users, complements NEC’s current smaller scale approach, deploying femtocells in the residential small office market.

The relationship will accelerate indoor deployments of SpiderCloud’s Enterprise Radio Access Network (E-RAN) small cells at medium to large enterprise customers of mobile operators.

“With NEC’s small-cell footprint covering more than 20 carriers worldwide, we can accelerate the deployment of E-RANs to help our customers serve their client bases with a premium mobile services platform that is free from the capacity, time-to-market and cost limitations of DAS,” said Anil Kohli, General Manager at NEC Europe, in a prepared release.

The relationship between NEC and SpiderCloud appears to have a research and development component, as the two companies said they will continue to innovate with an integrated 3G and Wi-Fi SmartCloud system moving toward what sounds like a more heterogeneous ecosystem.

The companies said the new system will provide carriers with a consistent management interface, automated RF planning, inter-small-cell mobility, quality of service, wireless intrusion detection and prevention, 802.1x based authentication and 802.11u. Additionally, NEC has plans to support LTE in future releases of the E-RAN system.

Also at the Small Cells World Summit 2012, NEC launched a plug-and-play indoor small-cell, FP1624 for offices with 16,404 square feet and several stories. NEC’s latest outdoor small cell, the FMA1630, provides mobile operators with a cost-effective way of increasing the network coverage and capacity in outdoor environments.

“NEC’s vision of the LTE roll out in future mobile networks is based on the assumption that services and applications will demand higher throughput in both uplink and downlink,” NEC said on its website. “The conventional macro solutions that would have been supported by a few infill micro layers now require a higher number of supporting picocells to provide the rapid growth in the traffic demand. For this reason NEC’s product portfolio, while offering a macro eNodeB solution of lowest possible footprint, is also optimized for small-cell deployment by offering a highly compact Omni eNodeB solution all in one.”

AGL Interview: Jake MacLeod