Corning MobileAccess celebrated the completing integration of the two companies this month at the International CTIA Wireless 2012 in New Orleans.
It has been about a year since Corning bought MobileAccess, combining the cabling infrastructure giant with the small-cell wireless solutions of MobileAccess.
“Corning’s fiber solutions have changed the way systems get deployed, sped up deployment, improved the reliability. We are now applying that to the DAS space,” Bill Cune, Corning MobileAccess vice president, strategy & business development, told DAS Bulletin.
With the companies now fully assimilated, the new entity is ready to move forward with marketing of its product line. Corning MobileAccess chose the CTIA conference to introduce its new slogan “Total DAS: Where Cutting-edge DAS Design Meets Cabling Innovation.”
“With the active electronics, to be ‘Total DAS,’ you need both indoor and outdoor solutions. You need low, medium and high power solutions,” Cune said. “You must also be able to leverage existing cabling, whether it is all fiber, hybrid fiber/coax and hybrid fiber/CAT 5.”
Accordingly, Corning MobileAccess announced a high-power node to its portfolio, the MobileAccessGX, which provides 40 Watts (46 dBm) high-power remote outdoor coverage. The fiber-fed, multi-frequency, multi-operator remote is designed to complement the company’s lower power solutions, the MobileAccess1000 and MobileAccess2000.
“It provides a good package for the carriers to deploy on all their bands. It rounds out our solution set,” Cune said. “We believe that you need all of these solutions in your toolbox. Carriers and integrators need to be able to look at a situation and pull out the right tool. What we are talking about with ‘Total DAS’ is that we have all the tools now.”
Corning MobileAccess received a lot of interest in the MobileAccessGX at CTIA and at last week’s DAS Congress, according to a company spokesman, and has set up two trials, in a baseball stadium and the other on a higher education campus, so far.
While other DAS systems have been designed for outdoor spaces, Solid Technologies’ wireless systems have been hard at work in buildings serving verticals, such as the health care and hospitality industries and serving public safety in large venues. But that is changing. The line dividing in-building wireless and outdoor DAS is blurring, and that calls for higher power DAS units that integrate with in-building systems.
“In the past there has been this premise that you can build an outdoor DAS and blast the signal inside of buildings and then augment the areas that appear to be underserved among third-party DAS owner or operators,” Seth Buechley told DAS Bulletin at the International Wireless CTIA 2012. “The outdoor-in philosophy, I think, is proving thin.”
To wit, Solid has introduced the Titan 5 watt and 20 watt remote DAS units to provide expanded coverage area and capacity both inside and outside of buildings. Titan integrates with the Solid Alliance multi-operator and Express single-operator head-ends.
“What we find is that the end users themselves have an immediate in-building need that often drives the whole discussion,” Buechley said. “If there is a way to solve their in-building need and then leverage that investment toward covering some of their outdoor challenges, that is a win.”
Titan allows Solid to play in the expanded outdoor coverage space, parking lots, stadiums and subways, Buechley said. “Throughout a campus where you can have a common head end that serves both the indoor and outdoor nodes under a common management system,” he said.
Buechley said Titan serves as an intermediate step toward the goal of heterogeneous networks.
“Macro cellular networks, indoor wireless networks and everything in between — eventually they all need to be using the same network intelligence,” Buechley said. The industry is waiting for the Ericssons, Alcatels the NSNs of the world to a leadership role before it will happen. The gap between indoor wireless and macrocellular needs to be bridged through heterogeneous networks.”
The Titan product line closes that gap a little bit, because it employs outdoor nodes that are part of the same network management platform as Solid’s indoor multi-carrier products. Operators will be able to deploy an indoor system that will be able to drive elements that are located outside, allowing greater QOS management insight.
“Everything has to be one system, eventually,” Buechley said. “Between now and the time when small cell heterogeneous architecture become a reality, we will have iterative steps. Our Titan product line is one of those iterative steps.”
ExteNet Systems has won the contract to design, install, manage and maintain a DAS network in the currently being constructed Barclays Center, the 675,000-square foot, 19,000-seat home of the Brooklyn Nets, in Brooklyn, N.Y.
What audiences at concerts, sports and family shows will see as interactive multimedia mobile network ExteNet sees as just the beginning of an expansive system that will connect the new Atlantic Yards mixed-use commercial and residential development project that includes 16 high-rise buildings.
“The fundamental thing for us is that [the Barclay Center] system gives us a great anchor location in Brooklyn and for the development of that whole Atlantic Yards area — to provide a base station hub, if you will, for other network deployments in that area,” Ross Manire, president and CEO at ExteNet Systems, told DAS Bulletin. “This is a strategy that we are starting to deploy in more cities. Instead of calling it DAS, we now call it distributed network architecture (DNA).”
DNA is another way of saying that ExteNet plans on distributing more than just antennas. In order keep up with wireless technology developments, the company is going beyond DAS to incorporate other network components, such as Wi-Fi and remote radio heads, as well as picocells.
“We have to change the language of narrowly defining what we do as DAS,”Manire said. “We are seeing a multitude of different types of equipment being deployed in the context of the architectures. It is a natural fit for us, providing access points and backhaul.
Enhanced Capacity for the Enhanced Apps
App development will continue to push the envelope of wireless system capacity in stadiums, according to Manire.
“We are in the early stages of app development particularly targeted at the sports and entertainment market. There will be apps for ordering concessions, buying jerseys or tickets to the next game, or to access instant replay. This will drive the need for additional capacity within the stadium,” he said.
As a matter of course, in the last 18 months, Manire has seen an increased focus on providing in-building coverage. “In the past, carriers would try to blast their signal into the building with their macro-sites to provide coverage, which was okay to make a phone call but not with today’s data applications and with the macro sites being oversubscribed.”
The increased in-building focus has led to DAS systems being deployed from the inside out,” Manire said. “You need to have greater and more efficient coverage indoors, and then, as we did with the University of Michigan, the plan is to build out and provide additional outdoor coverage, depending on the nature of the outdoor network.”