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.