CommScope initiates a new ‘Era’ for in-building wireless

The vision for future wireless network architectures is built on centralised baseband processing and virtualised network functions for more efficient and flexible operation. CommScope is making that future vision a reality for in-building wireless by introducing a next generation platform, CommScope Era.

CommScope Era is an all-digital C-RAN antenna system that leverages wireless operators’ initiatives to centralise and virtualise baseband radio assets, a foundational design concept for 5G networks.

Era enables operators to deploy a centralised headend that serves multiple buildings, or even to tap capacity from the operator’s existing centralised radio access network (C-RAN) hubs. Era’s innovative Wide-area Integration Node (WIN) resides in the C-RAN hub and routes baseband capacity to a distribution point within the served building or campus. Era allocates baseband capacity where it is needed while reducing the amount of onsite head-end equipment and the amount of fibre needed for signal transport by up to 90 per cent.

“We have invested heavily to create an all-digital platform architecture that upends the economics of in-building wireless and ushers in a new era and standard for distributed antenna systems,” said Matt Melester, senior vice president, Distributed Coverage and Capacity Solutions, CommScope. “CommScope Era will be a key enabler for network densification in LTE Advanced, Gigabit LTE and 5G.”

CommScope holds 164 patent families for the technological innovations incorporated in Era. CommScope Era’s all-digital architecture enables capabilities that analog DAS simply cannot. Capacity re-allocation, soft re-sectorisation, system setup and diagnostics are all software functions in Era, capable of being changed with a few clicks of a mouse. Era also transports Gigabit Ethernet backhaul to each remote node, which can be used for separate Wi-Fi networks, IP security systems or to support a small cell overlay needed for future network expansion.

Era features a new family of access points that are available in a range of power levels, with copper and fibre connectivity and outdoor and plenum ratings, to serve a wide variety of venue types. It supports interleaved MIMO (multiple input/multiple output) using patented technology that can offer up to 80 per cent of collocated MIMO speeds over a SISO (single input/single output) infrastructure. Era uses IT-standard copper and fibre-optic infrastructure and allows for the sharing of existing fibre networks, significantly reducing fibre costs.

“New systems like CommScope Era respond to operators’ needs for options that will make in-building wireless more affordable for building owners and commercial real estate companies,” said Kyung Mun, principal analyst, Mobile Experts. “Driving down costs and barriers to in-building wireless implementation will be critical for supporting the emerging demand for connected smart buildings.”

CommScope Era is built on the all-digital architecture pioneered and proven in the company’s ION-E distributed antenna system. ION-E is CommScope’s IT-friendly enterprise mobility solution that is still an exceptional choice for many enterprise deployments. Existing ION-E systems can be software-upgraded to be interoperable with Era.

CommScope will show the new CommScope Era C-RAN antenna system in its stand 2J30 at Mobile World Congress 2018 in Hall 2.

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