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July 2021

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In This Issue

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From The Editor

Wireless Infrastructure Comes out Ahead With the U.S. Supreme Court

In 2018, the FCC issued orders intended to encourage expansion of wireless communications....
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5G China

We Must Win the Race to 5G

China’s acts... threaten not only the U.S. economy, but also the global innovation system ...
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Concealment

5G Deployments Demand Improved Small Cell Camouflage

5G small cell sites are already appearing on busy city streets, historic sites and neighbo...
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Concealment

A New Approach to Rooftop Concealments

Building owners welcome the rent wireless communications carriers pay for placing cellular...
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Power Systems

Making the Case for Hybrid Power Systems in the United States

We are moving closer and closer to a world with 100 percent access to mobile cellular netw...
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Small Cells

Sponsored Article

5G: Redefining the Requirements for Small Cell Coaxial Cables and Connectors The race is o...
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Site and Tower Technology

Offsetting Wind Loading for 5G MIMO Antennas

Whether telecommunications towers and other wireless communications access infrastructure ...
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Site and Tower Technology

The Importance of Timing at 5G Cell Sites

The nature of 5G wireless communications infrastructure means that mobile network operator...
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Infrastructure Opportunities

Shared Spectrum to Multiply Opportunities for Infrastructure Providers

Ray LaChance, CEO of ZenFi Networks The architecture for 5G wireless communications ...
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Small Cells

Municipalities and Carriers: Are We Getting Along Yet?

Sometimes, tension marks the relationship between wireless communications carriers and mun...
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5G

Looming Threats Imperil 5G Standalone Security

Despite a global pandemic, the evolution to full 5G wireless communications has moved on, ...
In-building wireless systems. -
IBW

In-building Wireless Report

Wireless connectivity has never been as crucial to as many people as it is today. In a new...
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Field Talk

How the Wireless Industry Wins in the Field

As Mike Tyson said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.” And so it go...
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From The Editor

Wireless Infrastructure Comes out Ahead With the U.S. Supreme Court

In 2018, the FCC issued orders intended to encourage expansion of wireless communications. “That expansion has been met with some resistance where 5G is concerned, however, particularly from local governments unhappy with the proliferation of cell towers and other 5G transmission facilities dotting our urban landscapes,” said Mary Murphy Schroeder, a senior U.S. circuit judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. She said so on Aug. 12, 2020, in writing the majority opinion in which
the court denied most of the challenges to the FCC orders in a lawsuit brought by the City of Portland, Oregon.

On June 28, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision not to hear an appeal of the circuit court’s decision.

“I am very pleased with the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the case regarding the FCC’s Small Cell and Moratoria Orders,” said Steven K. Berry, president and CEO of the Competitive Carriers Association. “These orders will clarify the legal situation and help promote 5G deployment around the country, which certainly will benefit consumers and the economy.”

The Small Cell Order and the Moratoria Order spell out the limits on local governments’ authority to regulate telecommunications providers. A third, the One Touch Make-Ready Order, was intended to prevent owners and operators of utility poles from discriminatorily denying or delaying 5G and broadband service providers access to the poles.

One reason the Small Cell Order brought objections was that it broadened the application of shot clocks. Nearly a decade earlier, the FCC adopted the first shot clock rules, requiring zoning authorities to decide applications for wireless facility deployment on existing structures within 90 days, and all other applications for zoning permits within 150 days. The Small Cell Order extended shot clocks to include all telecommunications permits, not just zoning permits, and it shortened the shot clocks. State and local governments now have 60 days to decide applications for installations on existing infrastructure and 90 days for all other applications.

Another objection involved a limitation the Small Cell Order placed on fees charged for small cells. The FCC based its order on a finding that above-cost fees, in the aggregate, were having a prohibitive effect on a national basis. The circuit court said that an alternative approach that it concluded local governments seemed to want would require an examination of the prohibitive effect of fees in each of the 89,000 state and local governments under the FCC’s jurisdiction, a nearly impossible administrative undertaking. So, no, to overturning the FCC’s limit on fees.

The third objection to the Small Cell Order involved aesthetics. “Local governments have always been concerned about where utilities’ infrastructure is placed and what it looks like,” Schroeder wrote. “When Congress enacted the 1996 Telecommunications Act, it wanted to ensure state and local governments grant fair access to new technologies, and not prefer incumbent service providers over new entrants.”

The circuit court vacated a few provisions of the Small Cell Order having to do with aesthetics, finding that the order preempted local authority too broadly. Thus, local jurisdictions retained some authority over small cell aesthetics as long as the requirements are technically feasible. The requirements need not be no more burdensome than those imposed on other technologies, as the FCC had ordered.

With the Supreme Court letting stand the circuit court decision, many obstacles that otherwise might have slowed or restricted 5G wireless communications service deployment remain cleared from the field of local regulation. This choice by the Supreme Court will not please the long list of city governments, utilities and membership organizations that petitioned the circuit court in support of Portland’s lawsuit.

Celebrations could be taking place, however, at offices of companies and membership organizations that responded in support of the FCC, including Verizon, AT&T, Sprint (pre-merger with T-Mobile) CTIA, WIA, CCA and U.S. Telecom.

The wireless infrastructure industry came out ahead in a big way with the U.S. Supreme Court.

Don Bishop is executive editor and associate publisher of AGL Magazine.

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5G China

We Must Win the Race to 5G

Protecting domestic innovators from overseas antitrust harassment is vital to ensure that innovation triumphs over theft and abusive legal practices.

Kristen OsengaChina’s acts... threaten not only the U.S. economy, but also the global innovation system as a whole.— Kristen Osenga, Austin E. Owen Research Scholar & Professor of Law at the University of Richmond School of Law

Most Americans associate 5G technology with self-driving cars, virtual reality headsets or super-fast internet. Although all of these applications are exciting, they aren’t as critical to America as the national security implications of 5G. Winning the race to 5G will help to ensure that our military communications are secure and that bad actors can’t hack or manipulate these communications.

The Chinese Communist Party understands very well the importance of 5G and is working hard to develop 5G technology before us to gain control of the market. A recent report by the White House Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy bluntly summarizes the threat the CCP poses.

“Given the size of China’s economy, the demonstrable extent of its market-distorting policies and China’s stated intent to dominate the industries of the future, China’s acts, policies and practices of economic aggression now targeting the technologies and IP of the world threaten not only the U.S. economy, but also the global innovation system as a whole,” the report reads.

America must swiftly act to ensure we win the race to 5G. One of the biggest barriers to American development of 5G is antitrust law and enforcement, both domestically and internationally. A combination of domestic rulings and efforts by foreign governments have left many of our most innovative companies dangerously exposed. We need to respond to these anti-competitive measures to ensure American companies are competing on a level playing field.

Aggressive antitrust enforcement by both foreign and domestic forces threatens innovation by forcing American companies to engage in expensive litigation. The lawsuits often result in these companies being unable to exercise their legally granted intellectual property rights. Qualcomm — one of the most active companies in the 5G space — is embroiled in a years-long legal battle that jeopardizes its business model and could force it to sell its groundbreaking wireless chips at a steep discount. The problems American technology companies face overseas are even more extensive, as foreign governments like China prioritize technological supremacy over the rule of law.

China’s government and courts regularly disregard due process guidelines. American companies often face pressure to settle out of court because they know the process is rigged. In some instances, American companies weren’t allowed to view all the evidence against them or retain appropriate legal counsel. Without legal baselines, American companies are powerless to resist theft and wrongdoing by the CCP.

Another example of these manipulative legal maneuvers against U.S. companies by China occurred when the American company InterDigitial filed a suit in India alleging that Xiaomi, a Chinese tech giant, was infringing its patents. The Chinese Wuhan Intermediate Court stepped in and demanded InterDigital drop its case and not sue Xiaomi in any jurisdiction or face a hefty fine. Clearly, the CCP was putting its hand on the scales of justice to protect a domestic company.

Research by the Office of the United States Representative has found the laws that China chooses to enforce are often overly broad and essentially allow Chinese companies to seize intellectual property if American companies won’t hand it over at a steep discount.

These actions, in the United States and especially in China, can have devastating impacts on America’s role in 5G development. Historically, American companies have been the forerunners of innovation, and America has reaped the benefits. This process may not occur with 5G because only a handful of American companies, like Qualcomm, are heavily investing in 5G. These companies may be forced out of the market by expensive litigation costs or the outright theft of their products.

The American government must utilize existing mechanisms and diplomatic solutions to thwart rogue actors, including China and nations like South Korea, who abuse antitrust laws. The CCP and other countries are taking advantage of America’s support of free trade and innovation to steal our technology.

One promising model is the proposed legislation, The Protecting American Innovation, and Development Act of 2020. PAID authorizes the secretary of commerce to create and curate a list of foreign bad actors who are engaging in patent infringement of a standard-essential patent in wireless communication technologies like 5G. If an American company can show a foreign company is illegally using its patent, that foreign company will be moved to the list for one year and will have to negotiate with the U.S. patent owner.

The race to 5G is too vital for America to be caught sleeping. We need to protect our domestic innovators from overseas antitrust harassment and ensure that innovation triumphs over theft and abusive legal practices.

Kristen Osenga is the Austin E. Owen Research Scholar & Professor of Law at the University of Richmond School of Law. She wrote this for InsideSources.com. Republished with permission.
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Concealment

5G Deployments Demand Improved Small Cell Camouflage

Operators can seamlessly and cost-effectively bring 5G to communities by simply retrofitting existing 4G installations.

5G small cell sites are already appearing on busy city streets, historic sites and neighborhoods, co-existing on lighting poles and within other forms of street furniture on rights of ways to maximize coverage.

“Typical small cell sites mount the 4G/5G antennas or radios at the top of the pole to optimize performance, often using concealment,” said Apostolis Sotiriou, assistant vice president of sales at Raycap. “The challenge is to maximize the antenna performance, while ensuring it is not visually disruptive.”

With one or more small cell sites destined for virtually every block, how can antennas hide in plain sight, without blocking the crucial radio waves? Fortunately, a new concealment material called InvisiWave is now available that can completely conceal 5G radios with minimal signal loss.

“We create concealment solutions designed and manufactured for either microsites or for small cell sites, where the material in front of the new antennas is friendly enough to RF propagation that it doesn’t introduce losses,” Sotiriou said. “You need to make sure that those antennas are properly hidden behind some type of construction, which might be a radome or a shroud. We can also create pretty nice screen walls, which can be painted, on the corner of the building.”

  The pole topper should have a uniform form factor that can host different brands of 5G mmWave radios. An octagonal (clamshell) enclosure can be installed around the base to hold the electronics. The electronics can be hidden in an enclosure, up to 20 feet away, engineered to look nearly identical to other trash cans in the vicinity.

The pole topper should have a uniform form factor that can host different brands of 5G mmWave radios, as well as be backwards compatible with lower frequency band, he added.

Raycap has also introduced a drop-in 5G small cell panel upgrade for concealed 4G deployments that uses the InvisiWave technology. The panel replacement allows existing concealed wireless sites to be upgraded for 5G, by replacing a small portion of the existing wall structure (an aperture) with a camouflaged screen panel to conceal 5G mmWave equipment.

“Carriers across the United States operate thousands of 4G sites on rooftops and in other concealed areas which, until now, were prohibitively expensive or technologically infeasible to upgrade for 5G while meeting strict aesthetic and electronic regulations,” said Raycap senior vice president of telecom sales Kelly Richards. “For the first time, operators can seamlessly and cost-effectively bring 5G to communities, by simply retrofitting these types of existing installations.”

With propagation distances in the hundreds of feet, mmWave antennas are being deployed in hotspots, city centers, airports and around stadiums, among other places where large numbers of people are expected to be walking around.

The electronics that support the radios, including AC power and disconnect, fiber management, and cooling equipment, are located below the top of the pole, most often in side-mounted enclosures. However, some municipalities may not like the effect on aesthetics, and it can present wind load problems. In that case, the equipment can be moved to an enclosure at the base of the pole.

An octagonal (clamshell) enclosure can be installed around the base to hold the electronics, which is consistent with the pole design and minimizes the effect on the right of way.

“For this reason, Raycap manufactures clamshell enclosures to the pole’s specific dimensions, with specified finish and color to match the pole and be consistent with aesthetic regulations,” Richards said.

Or, the electronics can be hidden in an enclosure, up to 20 feet away, engineered to look nearly identical to other trash cans in the vicinity, such as the ones Raycap has manufactured for various park sites. The enclosure, measuring 46-inches tall and 28-inches in diameter, inhabits the bottom, while the top section can be used for trash.

“This wide range of form factor options – integrated pole, clamshell, cylindrical cabinet, trash receptacle and others — gives carriers and tower companies great flexibility in siting small cells anywhere they are needed for expanding mid-band 5G services. While poles are ideal, they are not the only possible locations,” Richards said.

At the time of this writing, J. Sharpe Smith was senior editor of the AGL eDigest.

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Concealment

A New Approach to Rooftop Concealments

An RF-transparent panel system offers structural rigidity and accommodates most rooftops and antenna configurations.

Building owners welcome the rent wireless communications carriers pay for placing cellular antennas on the rooftops and the sides of their buildings. Each building’s particular circumstances have to do with whether the owners want the antennas to be concealed or camouflaged, and if so, to what extent.

Concealment materials have to satisfy the building owners, the building construction requirements of local authorities and the cellular network engineering requirements of the carriers. For the network, engineers require materials that neither weaken nor redirect the radio-frequency (RF) signals that carry the wireless communications. Such materials are referred to as being RF-transparent. Otherwise, the performance of the antenna site might not match the expectations of the network engineers, and the intended coverage and capacity for the antenna site could suffer.

The appeal of the use of rooftops and the sides of buildings as antenna sites only increases as carriers put to use ever-higher frequencies that cover shorter distances and, therefore, require more sites placed closer to one another.

As the new wave of radio-frequency (RF) spectrum made available by the FCC for carriers and others to use enters the wireless space, the race to innovate antenna concealment products for wireless communications carriers to use intensifies. The demand for breakthrough advances in various methods of concealment continues to grow. It falls to manufacturers to supply concealment materials that meet aesthetic expectations of building owners, building code requirements of local authorities and network performance objectives of mobile system operators.

ConcealFab supplies RF-transparent screenwalls that meet the latest technological standards. Ranging from commercial systems to rooftop screenwalls supporting U.S government services, the versatile, customized modular RF screenwalls meet unique specifications.

Made of a foamed thermoplastic material sold under the trademark clearWave, the concealment panels undergo extensive testing to validate loss versus frequency at millimeter-wave (mmWave) and C-band (LS6) frequencies.

In this frequency range, screening materials are electrically thick and, thus, could have a significant effect on wireless communications system performance. Tests measure the effect a screen would have on signals at 0-, 30- and 60-degree angles of incidence for antennas with both parallel and perpendicular polarizations. Test measurements show how much wireless energy is lost because of reflection and absorption as the wave passes through the screen material at different angles of incidence. Minimum reflection occurs when the path through the material is multiples of a half-wavelength and when the electric field is parallel to the plane of incidence.

Screenwall Concealment InteriorNote the screenwall antenna placement, with antennas positioned at a distance from and an angle to the screen to minimize reflection and absorption. Also the frame holding the screen has many of its members behind the antennas to reduce interference with the antennas’ main lobes.

For typical mmWave deployments, installers place the screening material in the near field of the antenna, not the far field. This near-field placement can cause a lensing effect that greatly affects performance. A loss-versus-distance test, which produces results displayed as a Cyclone chart, shows how sensitive a material is to placement in front of the antenna. At frequencies with high variation in loss, designers must take more care to optimize screen location. At frequencies with low variation, screen placement has less of an effect on overall performance.

The modular screenwalls offer attractive aesthetics, structural strength, and color and pattern matching to existing roofscapes. The material’s matte finish readily accepts paints and vinyl film, and the material bonds easily using PVC adhesives.

Two or more strong signals from nearby wireless communications system transmitters that encounter nonlinear electrical junctions or RF materials can mix together. When they do, they have the potential to generate signals at new and unwanted frequencies that might be a source of electromagnetic interference. These unwanted signals are known as passive intermodulation (PIM) interference. With the selection of suitable materials and with appropriate construction design, the generation of these interfering signals can be avoided. Fabricators design the framing for screenwall panels with external PIM interference in mind and take steps to minimize the common sources of PIM interference.

Integrating antenna and radio masts offers the advantage of placing antenna apertures as close to the screenwall material as possible , a step that minimizes reflected signal losses. The integration also reduces the possibility that the main RF emission lobe of the antenna would face structural members. When the antenna’s main lobe faces a structural member, the interaction with the structural member has the potential to distort the antenna pattern, possibly causing the antenna to fail to deliver the coverage that the engineer who designed the antenna site intended it to provide.

Screenwall Concealment ExteriorThe screenwall is available in 1-foot- wide increments x 6-foot to 10-foot heights, expandable in all directions. It can accommodate corner shots, if needed. The structural supports can also mount antennas and radios. One-, two-, three- or four-sided options are available.

The panel system’s use of fixed-width sections with standard attachment points helps antenna site designers solve the problem of fitting concealments into defined spaces. Avoiding the use of rooftop mounting sleds that must be purchased separately from screenwall systems makes designing concealment installations easier, too. Integrating into the screenwall framing system the mounting posts for antennas, radios and ancillary equipment eliminates the need for such sleds.

The modular system enables designers to use the same materials and construction methods to build a two-, three- and four-wall screen systems, with an optional man door for four-wall systems. Antenna concealment products contribute to the roll-out of next-generation systems, including 5G wireless communications. By making it possible for mobile network operators to use more rooftops and sides of buildings, RF-transparent screenwall panels extend the advantages of wireless communications to an ever-increasing number of users.

Wayne Strishock is executive vice president of government and macro concealment products at ConcealFab. Visit www.concealfab.com.

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Power Systems

Making the Case for Hybrid Power Systems in the United States

Telecommunications operators in the United States have lacked real motivation to deploy hybrid power systems in the past, but multiple factors are coalescing to push those operators to reconsider.

We are moving closer and closer to a world with 100 percent access to mobile cellular networks. From 2015 to 2018, global 3G coverage increased from 81 percent to 90 percent — adding about 900 million people — while 4G coverage went from 53 percent to almost 80 percent, — about 2 billion people. Much of this expansion can be attributed to network growth in rural areas and regions with bad electric grids or no grid service at all.

That grid unreliability has been managed in various ways, including diesel generators, batteries and, in many parts of the world, with hybrid power systems that make use of alternative energy sources. In this context, a hybrid system is a DC power system that can manage multiple energy sources intelligently, including grid power, diesel generator, fuel cells or a combination of them; solar or other alternate energy sources; and batteries for high-frequency cyclic storage.

The most common hybrid system makes use of solar power. These systems originally were most popular in Africa and parts of the Middle East and some other developing parts of the world with limited or unreliable utility power and have been deployed in these locations for decades.

These same systems have become increasingly popular in Europe and Asia over the past decade as operators seek solutions to rising energy costs and increased awareness of their networks’ carbon footprints. Even in regions with reliable grids, hybrid systems have become a popular tool to enable peak-shaving at tower sites, using alternative energy to power equipment during peak hours before shifting back to the grid overnight or to minimize the use of diesel in remote areas.

The hybrid revolution has reached most of the world with one notable exception — the United States. The United States remains largely hybrid-free, except for remote areas not supported by the grid; however, if we look at past adoption patterns and some emerging trends in parts of the country, there are strong indications that the case for hybrid systems in the United States has never been stronger.

Hybrid Systems in the United States: Why and Why Not

Let’s start with why it hasn’t happened. The United States has a reliable electric grid that delivers mostly affordable power. Solar energy has been more expensive, and early solar panels were inefficient and required a large array to generate meaningful energy. The real estate at most tower sites is at a premium, discouraging deployment of large solar arrays. Simply put, there was no compelling case for introducing solar-backed hybrid systems into U.S. telecom networks.

Across much of the United States, many of those same conditions remain true today. Large swaths of the country still enjoy reliable, affordable utility power and have no pressing need for alternative energy sources. Even with solar becoming more affordable, the reliability of the grid and traditional architectures leads operators most often to choose the status quo.

There are exceptions, however. In California, increasing demand on an overextended electric infrastructure has resulted in blackouts and brownouts in recent years. The cost of electricity in the state has skyrocketed as the market works to balance capacity with demand. In Texas, a winter storm just a few months ago crashed that state’s privatized grid, causing dangerous, statewide outages and sending costs skyrocketing for those lucky enough to maintain utility power.

At the same time, the cost, efficiency and footprint of solar technologies have reached the point where solar has become a viable complement to an unreliable grid. In states with higher energy costs and plenty of sunlight — California, with the nation’s fourth-highest average electric rate is a prime example, but Texas and other Sun Belt states are potential fits as well — hybrid power systems with a solar add-on are starting to make sound financial and operational sense.

5G Ramps Up Energy Demand

The economics of hybrid systems are becoming compelling even considering the effect of 5G, but that effect will be significant. 5G networks will be more efficient than 4G on a per-gigabyte basis, but 5G requires far more sites, each with energy-needy IT systems and infrastructure. According to a study from 451 Research, which Vertiv sponsored, 94 percent of telecom operators anticipate an increase in energy consumption with 5G.

When you consider that 92 percent of network operating costs go to energy consumption, any increases are significant. Hybrid systems can help mitigate some of those increases by shifting loads to solar power during peak hours, reducing the amount of energy each site is consuming as well as the costs. Peak-shaving using on-site batteries has been fairly common in the past, but it can shorten the lifespan of the batteries and risks leaving a site without power if the batteries fail. Hybrid systems alleviate that concern and preserve the batteries, the generator or both for emergency backup.

Other Considerations

There are other reasons to believe the time for hybrids in the United States is now. The political climate is changing, with the new administration already rejoining the Paris Agreement and pledging to work to combat climate change. Verizon is aiming for net zero emissions by 2040, and global operators such as Vodafone and Telefónica have made similar pledges. To get there, Verizon is targeting 50 percent reductions in electricity usage by 2025. Hybrid systems, of course, reduce carbon emissions along with energy consumption and costs.

Bottom line: Telecommunications operators in the United States have lacked real motivation to deploy hybrid power systems in the past, but multiple factors are coalescing to push those operators to reconsider. Rising energy costs and increasingly unreliable utility power in some parts of the country are real challenges under existing architectures. The cost of solar is dropping, while the efficiency of solar technologies is increasing. Moreover, the looming energy demands of 5G and operators’ focus on carbon emissions reductions across networks require innovative strategies for reducing energy consumption. There is no time better than the present to integrate hybrid systems into the network as part of a broader plan to address these energy challenges.

Scott Armul is global vice president of DC power and the outside plant line of business at Vertiv. The company brings together hardware, software, analytics and ongoing services to ensure its customers’ vital applications run continuously, perform optimally and grow with their business needs.

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Small Cells

Sponsored Article

Times Microwave Systems

5G: Redefining the Requirements for Small Cell Coaxial Cables and Connectors

The race is on worldwide to develop and deploy innovative new 5G products that promise to deliver increased peak data speeds, ultra-low latency, enhanced reliability, enormous network capacity, and increased availability. As a result of these requirements, antennas have become increasingly complex. At the same time, there is pressure to minimize the size of these antennas since they are often placed in areas where people will see them, unlike the macro antennas used on traditional cell sites.

These trends will continue to drive the growth of small cells to provide expanded 5G network coverage; in fact, the Small Cell Forum predicted that by 2025 the total installed base of 5G or multimode small cells would be more than one-third of the total small cells in use. 5G small cell applications use MIMO antennas to enable the delivery of high speed and latency in the millisecond range. This type of antenna has multiple in/multiple out feeds, and most use RF interconnect feeds.

This creates the need for numerous feeder cable connections going up to the antenna. The combination of smaller antennas with large numbers of cable connections creates quite a challenge that results in two key issues: logistical concerns created by the sheer number of cables required, and high-density requirements as those cables need to be connected within a very small area.

The following article will discuss these concerns in more depth and provide a strategy for mitigating the challenges through the use of a bundled coaxial cable and multiport connector technology solution designed for the 5G small cell environment.

Numerous Cables Required

The majority of 5G small cell applications are outdoors—installed around lamp poles, roof tops, telephone poles, etc.—and may be 30-40 feet up or more. As a result, 5G antennas require a lot of RF cable feeds, RF jumpers, jumper cables and feeder cables, which can visually create a rat’s nest if not installed properly. All these cables must be architected to withstand the weather and other elements as well.

Furthermore, installation can be a time-consuming, labor-intensive, and logistical nightmare, creating the potential for cables to be the weakest link in the system. There are numerous variables to consider: is it the right cable or the right port? Is that connector properly terminated to that cable? Is the coupling properly torqued down? Is the whole thing properly weather sealed? Are those cables properly captivated? Are they hooked up to the right connector and port? Are they flapping around in the wind? Are they protected from the sun, or if not, do they have the proper UV resistance?

High Density

Small Cells are the most practical means of attaining the densification needed to support the speed, coverage, and latency requirements of 5G. The antennas are shrinking in size as higher frequency bands are used to accommodate larger bandwidth requirements, which translates into more antennas in a smaller space. These small cells are also packed much closer than traditional, macro-telecom towers were years ago; at times, they are only 100 yards or so apart.

The Solution: Bundled Coaxial Cable and Multiport Connectors

The Cable

One way to address this is to use a low-loss, flexible, 50-Ohm coaxial feeder cable, bundled under a common outer jacket. In some applications, a fire-retardant (FR) jacket is required as well, for example, where the cables must go on a rooftop and the installer does not want to run into any issues with building codes.

The following example will detail a cable equipped with a fireproof flexible jacket material, that also has good UV resistance, temperature range and abrasion resistance. This type of cable is well accepted in a variety of 5G, public safety, IoT, Wi-Fi, GPS, RFID, and many other general broadband applications. It is low loss, flexible, has a tight bend radius, over 90 Db shielding effectiveness, and good connector retention.

In this scenario, five individual coaxial cable runs for every single site must be hooked up. A spiral configuration of multiple cables under a common polyurethane outer jacket was created to promote ease of installation and improved operation. The individual coaxial cable runs are spun together in such a way that it easily flexes, essentially creating a bundle, which is then run through a large jacket extruder where a rip cord is placed. This enables the five individual cables to be fed into the back of a cluster connector. By using this method and creating a round cable bundle, a seal was also formed to provide extra protection, as the inner cables are protected by the outer jacket.

This innovative design acts as the perfect flexible antenna jumper for applications requiring multiple runs, such as on 5G small cells located on towers or building-top sites. The bundled cable can be used as a complete assembly with breakouts and connectors on both ends, and as a single-ended assembly (base can be trimmed and terminated after installation on tower), or as a raw cable with accessories and easy-to-use tools.

The Connectors

The increasing demand for high coverage antennas like those used in 5G applications has led to substantial growth in the number of ports on antennas and RF devices. In terms of connectors, as mentioned above, hooking up the right cables, the right ports, and torquing are all concerns in this scenario. Proper weather sealing is also a necessity; it is imperative to make sure that seal is good, but not over-torqued.

An optimal solution to reduce the number of connections is the use of a multiport connector. This type of “RF cluster connector” incorporates multiple RF ports in one connector, enabling antennas to provide more ports without the need to increase dimensions. There are standardized designs that encompass a four-contact connector and a five-contact connector. These can greatly reduce the number of cables that have to be hooked up, saving a lot of labor, and creating a more rugged solution. They also make the assembly more weatherproof and UV resistant.

Therefore, the bundled cables discussed in the previous section (five coaxial cable runs incorporated into one bundled solution) simply have to go into this multiport. By using the five-conductor solution, the need to create 10 individual weather seals is eliminated, resulting in tremendous labor savings. Furthermore, this reduces the need to worry about coupling torque. This is critical because all it takes is any kind of error on just one weather seal and a point of ingress for water is created that could create a multitude of problems and even potentially shut the system down. With this multiport connector solution, any potential system troubleshooting becomes much easier.

Finally, the possibility of hooking up the wrong cable to the wrong port is eliminated. The solution is keyed, so the cables can only be hooked up a certain way—no torque wrenches, know-how or special technique required.

Times Microwave Systems: Unique Expertise to Create the Right Solution

Times Microwave has combined two unique products to create a multi-conductor RF interconnect solution that addresses the issues outline above. This includes utilizing the MQ4 and MQ5 cluster connector concept that has been licensed from Huawei combined with Times Microwave’s rugged four and five conductor LMR®-195 bundled cables.

MQ 5port

The bundled cables are built on a planetary cabler which removes all the stress from the individual conductors and allows Times to incorporate a specific lay length into the bundle to maximize flexibility. Various size extruded polyethylene fillers are used to create a cable that is as round as possible, which is finished off with one of a number of jacket materials based on the application. The roundness of the bundled cable is of importance when it comes to weather sealing and clamping.

The most common bundled cable constructions are built with inner cables that are ¼” and smaller. This concept can be used on both non-low PIM and low PIM interconnects. Non-low PIM requirements can be addressed using an LMR® construction and there are a number of other constructions to address low PIM bundled harnesses as well, including corrugated copper outer sheaths as well as ultra-flexible flat braid constructions.

The MQ4 and MQ5 cluster connectors use a spring outer contact so that PIM performance is not tied to the how well the tip of the outer contact is making to its mate. These cluster connectors are keyed with a color code dot on the outer coupling nut to make engagement quick and easy. The connection between the male and female cluster connectors is sealed to IP-67 as is the connector bodies and the transition from the cluster connector to the bundled cable. In addition to the male-to-male bundled harness, the female bulkhead connector can also be built as a finished assembly that is ready to be installed into the box and engaged with the printed circuit board. In this application, flexible TFlex-405 pigtails of custom lengths, terminated with SMP straight and right-angle connectors were also used with a MQ5 female bulkhead assembly to make the overall system assembly quick and foolproof.

MQ wCable

This MQ4/MQ5/bundled cable RF interconnect solution checks off all the boxes in terms of antenna port densification, quick and easy fool-proof installation, IP-67 weather sealing and ruggedness. Times Microwave has also developed silicone boots to protect these cluster connectors from acid rain and salt fog over the long haul. These boots can easily be slid back or re-engaged as necessary.

Conclusion

The bundled coaxial cable and multiport connector technology solution detailed above not only looks better in terms of appearance, but it also cuts out a lot of labor cost and offers a more rugged solution with better UV resistance and weatherproofing. When it comes to the selection of RF cables and connectors, Times Microwave Systems engineers identify with the customer’s position and design an optimized solution that ultimately makes it easier to use—creating better electrical, mechanical, and environmental performance. Furthermore, Times has a long history of building quality cable and connectors, along with the skill, processes, techniques, and materials to bring custom solutions to life that solve the specific needs of customer applications.

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Site and Tower Technology

Offsetting Wind Loading for 5G MIMO Antennas

Changes and possible upgrades to tower and rooftop antenna site designs flow from building code and new American Society of Civil Engineers definitions.

Whether telecommunications towers and other wireless communications access infrastructure have room for the newest 5G wireless communications antennas received attention at a session of the
April AGL Virtual Summit. The session “5G MIMO Antennas Are Taking Off, but Is There Room on the Tower?” revealed concerns about equipment weight and wind loading in connection with the use of massive multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) antennas, also known as active antenna systems (AAS).

Panelist Trent Snarr, the south region engineering manager at Network Building + Consulting (NB+C), an engineering services and project management company, responded to questions asked by session host Earl Lum of EJL Research. Lum said that with the conclusion of the FCC C-band auction, deployments by all of the mobile carriers would follow. Will the active antennas fit on towers, rooftops and stealth structures such as flagpole concealments? Lum asked. He questioned to what extent installers must account for snow, in addition to the weight of the structures, the stealth modifications and the antennas themselves.

The biggest challenge facing installers, Snarr said, is the 2018 International Building Code, which has a 1.9 wind gust factor that must be applied to all rooftop equipment. Because of applying the wind gust factor to carriers’ equipment upgrades, he said, NB+C is seeing 70 percent of rooftop installations with ballast sleds failing to meet the code.

“When I say failing, I'm talking about the actual rooftop support structure,” Snarr said. “We're going well above 20 pounds per square foot. It is difficult to find structural detailing on the actual rooftop itself; thus, we are looking at non-destructive testing — thankfully. Sometimes, we have to get into destructive testing, which takes time, and carriers are eager to deploy this antenna technology rapidly.”

The solution NB+C has devised, especially for rooftop ballast sleds, Snarr said, is to increase the size of the ballast footprint. The common 8-foot-by-8-foot ballast sleds are being replaced with 12-foot-by-12-foot ballast sleds, to reduce the amount of ballast on the frames and spread the load onto more of the rooftop, he said.

Meanwhile, Snarr said that a preferred mounting location on a roof would be a concrete masonry unit (CMU) wall, such as a cinder block wall, a concrete wall or any steel framing that protrudes above the rooftop edges. He said NB+C prefers not to install slabs on a rooftop, because they take up square footage on the roof that otherwise could be valuable to the property owner. Any of the parapet walls to which antenna mounts can be attached generally offer a much better option, unless such a wall is merely a false wall with a façade, he said.

They're taking a deeper look into this to make sure that any engineering firm can reproduce that particular study, ...there are a lot of different variations of exactly how to interpret these studies, and the repeatability is difficult. – Trent Snarr, south region engineering manager at NB+C

Lum raised the subject of wind loading in the context of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) 7-22 Wind Loads Subcommittee’s definition of minimum design loads and associated criteria for the design of buildings and other structures. He said the ASCE 7-22 criteria could affect the way antennas are tested for wind load.

Over the last year or two in particular, Snarr said, some tower owners have been taking a close look at using wind tunnel testing and fluid dynamic testing to potentially figure out ways to reduce the actual effective projected area — the square-foot footprint. “If you think of a 3-foot by 8-foot door, the wind can protrude past that. But an antenna with rounded corners?” Snarr asked. “With wind tunnel testing and fluid dynamic testing, some tower owners have figured out that an antenna, such as a 2-foot by 8-foot antenna, actually doesn't have an effective projected area of that actual footprint. They have been able to reduce it, in some cases, up to half of that cross-sectional area with what is being modeled, insofar as a wind force to put onto that pipe mount or that tower is concerned. We've seen really great results from that.”

With respect to ASCE 7-22, Snarr questioned who is responsible for loading on all structures. “They're taking a deeper look into this to make sure that any engineering firm can reproduce that particular study, because right now there are a lot of different variations of exactly how to interpret these studies, and the repeatability is difficult,” Snarr said. “As far as this being able to be used with ASCE 7-22 down the road, that is still up in the air. We are applying some of those reduced values to the towers, and that interpretation could be eliminated, moving forward. If that is the case, then there will be more mount failures and tower failures than we're seeing today.”

Lum asked whether NB+C uses wind load data from manufacturers, such as Ericsson and CommScope, pointing out that manufacturer wind load calculations do not favor tower wireless site owners for placing more equipment on their sites. Snarr said, “Traditionally, we use the manufacturer spec sheets for wind area. What we're seeing from these tower owners is an additional supplement to that.”

Additional questions from Lum: If some of the less stringent wind loading interpretations were eliminated from possible use, would an antenna site have to be reevaluated for whatever the new spec is? In addition, if it fails, who will be responsible for bringing it back into compliance?

“I look at it as a line in the sand,” Snarr said. “Whenever structural analysis is wrong for an upgrade for Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile, they are going to have to produce a structural analysis at that point. The next time that that site is going to be evaluated is when they come back to that site again and they look to upgrade their equipment at that point. That is why you are caught up with, potentially, a code change, a change in analysis practices. Typically, it is not applied retroactively because things are moving so quickly and changes and updates to equipment on these structures are happening so quickly.”

Meanwhile, Snarr said, for towers in particular, the newest mounts are being designed to account for the newer, heavier radios and the large antennas. The mounts generally have a standoff to handle disproportionate loads, he said.

“In general, best practice is to install the antennas and the radios at the mount center line,” Snarr said. “With the radios, it is difficult to do that, based on the structural framing of the mounts.”

With many older mounts and with beamforming requiring placing two antennas side-by-side, Snarr said that it makes sense for trying to hit a certain azimuth to have the antennas out on the far right and far left sides of the mount. However, he said, that causes many mounts to fail. He said mount manufacturers have devised reinforcement kits that have been helpful.

“But in general,” he said, “if you can keep those antennas placed closer to the center of the mount, we're not looking at so many unbalanced loads and mount modifications, and mount mods come down a lot.”

Turning to the subject of electrical power, with active antenna systems consuming additional power that passive antenna systems do not, Snarr commented about potential power service upgrade requirements.

“With most carriers, the typical site has 200-amp service —45 kilowatts is the power that's at the site,” Snarr said. “If it is 100-amp service, half of that, then absolutely, we have to upgrade the power from 100 amps to 200 amps. There definitely are sites — maybe a 4-sector site — where 200 amps is not enough, and we have to upgrade the power. You are talking about running new conductors from switchgear in the basement of a building all the way to a rooftop. You can reutilize the conduit path, but you have to rip and replace a lot of that existing power infrastructure.”

Total Tech sponsors of the April AGL Virtual Summit included Raycap, Valmont Site Pro 1, Vertical Bridge and B+T Group. The Top Tech sponsor was Aurora Insight. Additional sponsors included NATE, Voltserver, WIA and Gap Wireless. The next AGL Virtual Summit is scheduled for Sept. 8 at 2 p.m. Eastern time. The Summit is free to attend; register here.

Don Bishop is executive editor and associate publisher of AGL Magazine.

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Site and Tower Technology

The Importance of Timing at 5G Cell Sites

Robust timing plays an important role in ensuring that the electronics industry is ready to deliver fast, effective, reliable 5G wireless communications networks.

The nature of 5G wireless communications infrastructure means that mobile network operators place cell sites closer together than has been common with 4G wireless communications. These denser network configurations often position radios on poles, exposing them to environmental stressors that may affect performance. The networks synchronize each radio with other radios in the same time domain. Any time difference from one tower to the next results in a dropped signal. In comparison with 4G’s time difference between radio towers of 1.5 microseconds (µs), enhanced 5G features such as multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) antenna technology, carrier aggregation and RF beam-steering have an even smaller timing error margin — just 130 nanoseconds (ns).

Manufacturers use newer technologies to address the environmental challenges in the 5G infrastructure. An example is micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) for timing. First introduced 15 years ago, these devices have many characteristics that make them ideally suited to handling environmental stressors. They measure as much as 3,000 times smaller and weigh less than conventional timing technologies, making them less susceptible to mechanical forces such as shock and vibration. For example, they demonstrate 40 times better vibration resistance than quartz components and 20 times better resistance to temperature and airflow changes.

Electronic Heartbeat

The use of MEMS and other technologies reflects the importance of timing. It is the heartbeat of an electronics system, because the vibrating, mechanical element must provide a precision reference even if used in an uncontrolled or harsh environment. Consequently, a timing component has to be rugged and reliable to withstand mechanical forces and environmental stressors.

Although electronic components make up most of a mobile network system, the exceptions are sensors and timing devices, which are both mechanical and electronic. This is why outdoor locations can present design dilemmas. Nature springs from a mix of mechanical and electrical forces, leading designers to select the most suitable components that may lie on the critical path to achieving the system’s reliable operation in these conditions.

5G Expectations

Both consumers and industrial customers will benefit from 5G’s high-throughput, low-latency operation. Compared with 4G communications, 5G carries expectations of increasing the bandwidth 10-fold and of having 50 times lower latency. This leap in performance means that data and video will download as much as 10 times faster, using 10 times more bandwidth. The lower latency— just 1 to 10 milliseconds (ms) — will enable prompt updates for remote monitoring in health care and rapid responses to changes in traffic conditions in advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and, later, fully autonomous vehicles. The low latency rate will enable applications that rely on time- sensitive operation, such as autonomous vehicles in smart cities, and telemedicine.

In industrial applications, machine-to-machine (M2M) connectivity will advance smart factory, machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI) or Industry 4.0 systems to reduce downtime and improve productivity via intelligent networks.

The Move to Outdoors

Initially, innovators deployed precise, mission critical electronics indoors, in temperature-controlled environments. Later, the electronics moved outdoors as cell phones and wearable devices became popular, but they still were connected with a human, controlling temperature and vibration.

A new era of communications requires a new approach using newer technologies. With the advent of 5G, the 10,000-fold increase in data volume in vehicles alone will require placing more networking equipment outdoors, exposed to the environmental forces of nature, to be closer to the consumer. The proliferation of the internet of things (IoT) as part of the smart city infrastructure also increases the need for electronics sited in uncontrolled environments — electronics nevertheless expected to operate reliably and with minimal intervention.

In these locations, electronics will be subject to multiple forces of nature, but with no margin for error. Devices will be part of networks that include exposed radio and antennas or moving nodes in transport systems. They may be subjected to environmental stresses, such as shock, vibration, temperature changes, wind, lightning and high humidity. Engineers and developers are acutely aware that in safety-critical applications, such as autonomous vehicles, no one will tolerate failure in the radio-to-radio transmission of vital data between nodes on the network.

Conclusion

In order to realize a connected world, based on a fast, reliable 5G infrastructure, development of new technologies that need to exhibit environmental resilience has accelerated.

Ready and eager 5G consumer and commercial users expect the industry to ensure that it can supply effective outdoor electronics as part of the 5G infrastructure. This means that manufacturers must design all electronic equipment with environmental resilience in mind. Reliable, efficient systems increasingly will use newer, more technologically advanced components for this new wave of electronic equipment.

Only when suppliers make reliable, proven components available and ready for deployment can we capitalize on the new opportunities 5G presents.

Markus Lutz is founder and CEO of SiTime. Visit www.sitime.com. SiTime provides MEMS timing solutions for communications and enterprise.

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Infrastructure Opportunities

Shared Spectrum to Multiply Opportunities for Infrastructure Providers

Mobile virtual network operators and private LTE network users are among those to benefit when wireless infrastructure providers expand into offering shared spectrum access.

Ray LaChance, CEO of ZenFi NetworksRay LaChance, CEO of ZenFi Networks

The architecture for 5G wireless communications networks represents a vast transformation compared with 4G that opens opportunities for companies in the mobile infrastructure business, according to Ray LaChance, CEO of ZenFi Networks.

“When you look at how the 5G networks are going to be architected, where it’s delivering a lot of capacity at low latency, there’s this concept of what I call network of neighborhood networks,” he said. “To support 5G and deliver on that promise, every neighborhood has to have this center of the universe or this this edge collocation or edge data center facility. Out of that, you grow these fiber-optic networks. We call them fronthaul fiber networks, where you groom in wireless sites from all over the place. As the 4G networks become ultra-dense — more for the 5G networks — there’s going to be a lot of sites.”

ZenFi is a digital infrastructure player in the New York-New Jersey metro market, LaChance explained. The company provides what LaChance calls the three core elements of 5G infrastructure: the fiber network, wireless siting solutions and network digital location. “We have deployed hard infrastructure,” LaChance said. “There’s an opportunity for companies like us to take our fiber out to a pole or out to street furniture or out to a tower and put our own radios out there now, because there’s democratized spectrum available to us.” In saying democratized spectrum, LaChance refers to shared radio frequencies used for wireless communications that the FCC has sold or otherwise assigned to license-holders other than cellular carriers such as Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile.

“You obviously have Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) spectrum,” LaChance said. “We’re going to see more democratized spectrum that’s available to the non-big, non-national mobile operators, where companies like ours can get into the business of building public and private networks across that that spectrum and use it. We call that the virtual infrastructure play, where we will own and operate our own radios and use the shared spectrum, but now it’s shared in a way that allows quality of service and class of service. Right now in a CBRS environment, you’ll get your slices, and you get to use it and you’re the only one using it. They mitigate interference. We expect to see that in other frequency bands.”

For ZenFi and other similar mobile infrastructure companies, the addition of democratized spectrum and the sharing of radio network equipment among mobile network operators represent a great opportunity, LaChance said.

“Now we go from three potential customers to all the mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs), for instance, where they can buy slices for their networks,” he said. “Then, the next thing you can do on that is you can overlay private LTE networks. That’s where everyone’s thinking there could be private LTE overlay or a private 5G overlay on this radio network that that we will build and operate. This whole concept of going from physical network infrastructure, as we do today, evolving toward a virtual overlay network infrastructure of the future is a huge opportunity. We go from three customers to potentially hundreds.”

In a fashion similar to referring to the communications equipment as shared network infrastructure, LaChance referred to the democratized spectrum as a shared spectral infrastructure.

“Before, the spectrum was hogged up by the mobile operators,” he said. “They had proprietary spectrum. The democratized spectrum or the shared spectrum that’s coming available — even things like Wi-Fi 6 and 6e — is going to create great opportunities.” The ZenFi business plan has evolved over time, LaChance said, to reflect ZenFi becoming its own wireless network operator as an underlying infrastructure to share with others, “because others have great ideas. I’m sure they do a lot of cool things with it. We just want to create the other thing.”

LaChance elaborated on the release of CBRS frequencies through an FCC auction, saying that many view it as an experiment in democratizing the spectrum and making it available to everybody, large and small. He noted that the large players bid the most and purchased the most at the CBRS auction, but he said many intermediaries received spectrum, and he expects there to be a big resale market or a secondary market for that spectrum.

“Companies like ours could have bid directly or could take advantage of the secondary market to create these networks,” LaChance said. “CBRS was the example. We’ll see it across a lot of other bands as they start finding new spectrum to make available.”

LaChance spoke during the “Evolving Shared Wireless Infrastructure Landscape” fireside chat session during the Metro Connect USA 2021 meeting in February, where Jennifer Fritzsche, chief financial officer of Canopy Wireless, interviewed him. Fritzsche also is a managing director of communications services and digital infrastructure at Greenhill & Co.

Don Bishop is executive editor and associate publisher of AGL Magazine.

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Small Cells

Municipalities and Carriers: Are We Getting Along Yet?

It is not unusual for wireless communications carriers’ deployment strategies to shift from quarter to quarter, and such fluctuation typically runs counter to the municipalities’ penchant for long-term planning.

Sometimes, tension marks the relationship between wireless communications carriers and municipal governments; however, disagreements seldom rise to the level of litigation. According to Telecom Law Firm founder and principal Jonathan Kramer, most jurisdictions’ interactions with carriers do not produce lawsuits. “We know about these cases because they tend to be anomalies,” he said.

Along with three other panelists, Kramer spoke at the April AGL Virtual Summit in a session titled, “Microtrends for Small Cells in 2021.” Kramer’s comment came when news was fresh about AT&T suing the city of Pittsburgh over its failure to process applications for cell site construction permits and for asking for what the network operator called excessive fees.

Sonya Roshek, vice president of field services at B+T Group, said that larger cities typically are doing better than the smaller jurisdictions in handling the volume of small cell applications. She said that more of the large cities have set their small cell design criteria, in comparison with the small cities.

“Because the smaller cities are struggling, we’ve actually provided them with design criteria so that we can expedite some of their requirements,” she said. “As far as processing the number of applications is concerned, they still struggle. They begin to get a little bit better once they see several applications of the same type of small cell come through.”

According to Kramer, a continuing source of irritation for the municipalities is the FCC’s mandate to make their property available for small cells effectively at no cost.

“These are facilities that governments paid for,” Kramer said, “and the fact that we have to make our facilities available to for-profit companies at a below-market rate certainly is problematic, especially since they are not burdened with the universal service requirement.”

It is not unusual for the carriers’ deployment strategies to shift from quarter to quarter, and such fluctuation typically runs counter to the municipalities’ penchant for long-term planning. Small cell deployments currently range from three up to 30-plus sites per square mile, Kramer said, and local governments want the carriers to let them know how many total small cells they should expect.

The appearance of the small cells comes at the top of the list of items that can cause friction between municipalities and carriers. It pits the economics of a carrier’s build-out of hundreds of thousands of sites against the aesthetics of a city’s downtown areas and residential neighborhoods.

“The carrier’s duty and the builder’s duty is to maximize the revenue for their shareholders,” Kramer said. “However, we’re the ones who are stuck with the aesthetic impact of the sites. So, the number is critical. The locations are critical. The designs are critical.”

Blake Bukacek, a small cell product manager at Valmont Site Pro 1, said that some of the municipalities look to his company for guidance on how small cells can meet the current local aesthetics, concerning design and materials.

Different parts of the United State are more accustomed to certain pole materials, Bukacek said. For example, concrete is common in the Southeast. A lot of aluminum poles can be found in the Northeast. Steel is prevalent throughout the nation. In rip-and-replace situations, municipal decision-makers are more likely to require new poles’ materials to match that of the existing poles, which can cause a problem.

“It is a process of educating the jurisdictions on the limitations of certain materials,” Bukacek said. “If you can convince them that the steel, in most cases, can look and feel just like the composite or concrete pole that was previously there, the municipality is generally open to doing so. You certainly will get pushback in some markets where they absolutely want like-for-like replacements, and then, in that case, we certainly educate them on the fact that cables cannot be concealed inside a concrete pole.

“In terms of limitations on height, shapes, sizes and finishes, we try to educate the jurisdiction on how they may limit what the carriers can do down the road,” Bukacek said.

Total Tech sponsors of the April AGL Virtual Summit included Raycap, Valmont Site Pro 1, Vertical Bridge and B+T Group. The Top Tech sponsor was Aurora Insight. Additional sponsors included NATE, Voltserver, WIA and Gap Wireless. The next AGL Virtual Summit is scheduled for Sept. 8 at 2 p.m. Eastern time. The Summit is free to attend; register here.

At the time this was written, J. Sharpe Smith was senior editor of the AGL eDigest email newsletter and a contributing editor to AGL Magazine.

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5G

Looming Threats Imperil 5G Standalone Security

When 5G wireless communications becomes secure, it undeniably can bring huge benefits, but all stakeholders must all work together to make that happen.

Despite a global pandemic, the evolution to full 5G wireless communications has moved on, full-steam, in the last year, with more and more regions and operators starting to offer service. Initial 5G service does not measure up to full 5G service, but instead uses a hybrid model with 5G new radio (NR) access to provide the increased download speeds users see on their devices, but nevertheless with a core consisting of the previous generation’s technology.

Most operators will use the hybrid model for some time, with a gradual deployment of more and more 5G elements steadily replacing or coexisting with the previous generation’s equipment until the point at which 5G technology dominates, and continuing 4G technology merely serves legacy equipment. The hugely complex, time-consuming migration requires operators to deploy new network elements and services while supporting previous generations’ maintenance needs and ensuring they work seamlessly and securely together.

In every network, the interworking point forms a security weak point because the interworking pushes together different design principles, which inevitably causes compromises. Compromises especially result from the introduction of 5G’s service-based architecture, which represents a significant shift from the more traditional architecture of all previous generations. Delivering the evolution efficiently and cost-effectively to protect operators’ previous investments while maintaining security is a conundrum and was at the core of some research released earlier this year.

The migration will happen, and standalone 5G must be delivered to usher in the ubiquitous connectivity necessary to create the new smart world. With the effect of any network cyber breach magnified by the sheer number of devices and services that could be connected and so affected, it is important to learn how to secure the new standalone networks now.

Industry leaders deserve to be commended for putting 5G security at the core in standards development. Additionally, administrations worldwide have recognized the importance of security, as evidenced by a consensus about security among a large block of countries pushed by the United States and Europe. In a UK-led project, the international accord is moving to become law.

Having security codified in law becomes important because 5G wireless communications introduces many new technologies and protocols to what previously was an extremely closed network. Hackers know many of the technologies quite well. Application programming interfaces (APIs) become core to delivering 5G services, in addition to their extensive use in the underlying virtual infrastructure. The extensive use of APIs is an important factor, because Gartner predicts APIs will be the most attacked threat vector by 2022.

HTTP/2 network protocol replaces the much-maligned Common Channel Signaling System 7 (SS7) protocol; the Diameter authentication, authorization, and accounting protocol; and General Packet Radio Service tunnelling protocol layer C (GTP-C) on the international roaming interfaces. This replacement is a welcome security improvement, but it removes the security-through-obscurity factor that previously provided some protection.

The introduction of a more varied vendor pool to deliver all the new services and applications removes the threat of monoculture networks, but it introduces a supply chain threat far greater than was previously seen. The supply chain threat has come into particular focus after the recent events with SolarWinds.

New 5G SA research highlights concerns already found in 5G standalone network labs that potentially allow criminals to steal subscriber data, intercept communication and cause significant network denials of service.

5G wireless communications widely uses a protocol called Packet Forwarding Control Protocol (PFCP) to allow subscriber connections, a protocol nevertheless susceptible to all the vulnerabilities mentioned. PFCP should be isolated with the operator’s network, but this isolation assumes everything is configured correctly. Even today with the less complex networks, operators often make mistakes in configuration, allowing the global network access to internal interfaces. Using today’s GTP protocol implementations as an indicator, half of all networks tested at Positive Technologies are exposed.

5G international roaming uses the HTTP/2 protocol. The protocol also connects vital network functions (NFs) that run 5G. Unfortunately, the protocol contains several vulnerabilities. Using these vulnerabilities, attackers can obtain information allowing them to impersonate any network service. That information gives attackers the potential to wreak havoc on individual subscribers and the network.

Governments and network operators alike categorize the delivery of secure 5G wireless communications as essential, leading them to take early, critical steps toward real-world deployments that exceed the standard ideals. It is important to understand and address hazy edges that may not be possible to anticipate and shine a light on them before they become either an expensive problem to resolve or a security breach affecting service with potentially alarming effects.

With the support of their regulators, network operators are working toward achieving higher security, a huge undertaking. Cooperating vendors must support the network operators. security specialists must work closely with network operators and must advise network equipment providers to secure the network as efficiently as possible. But it doesn’t stop there.

Providers of internet of things (IoT) or other connected services must share their specific needs with their telecoms partners, because it is no longer just a voice private branch exchange (PBX) or unified Communications integration. Businesses must ensure the operators fully understand what is required, beause then they benefit from 140 years of experience in delivering connectivity.

As a force behind IoT, 5G soon will touch every aspect of our lives. When 5G wireless communications becomes secure, it undeniably can bring huge benefits, but all stakeholders must all work together to make that happen.

Jimmy Jones is telecom business development lead at Positive Technologies. He previously had engineering roles with WorldCom (now Verizon), Nortel and Genband. Company information describes Positive Technologies as a global cybersecurity business that has pioneered research into telecoms security, discovering over 50 methods for exploiting telecoms vulnerabilities and dozens of zero-day flaws in telecoms systems.

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Tower of the Month

Site Name: Concordville Tower

Site Owner: Rohn

Height: 409 feet

Location: Concord Industrial Park, Glen Mills, Pennsylvania

Year Constructed: 2000

Photo courtesy of Clem Murray

In-building wireless systems. -
In-building wireless systems.
IBW

In-building Wireless Report

In-building wireless solutions provide a way to ensure sufficient wireless coverage and capacity for a given building.

Wireless connectivity has never been as crucial to as many people as it is today. In a new world shaped by social distancing, wireless capabilities have transcended convenience and have become the primary fabric of human interaction.

As recently as 2016, ABI Research reported that more than 80 percent of mobile data traffic occurs inside buildings. Buildings, by their nature, provide a physical barrier to wireless communication. Dropped calls, poor signals and slow downloads all result when building materials like concrete walls and low-emission windows obstruct radio-frequency (RF) signals. In the worst-case scenario, parts of a building may become wireless dead zones. There is also the question of capacity — buildings may be home to many more users than can be supported by a given cell tower.

In-building wireless (IBW) solutions serve to address these concerns. IBW solutions can ensure that networks deliver on quality of service (QoS) agreements and that quality of experience (QoE) expectations are met by building occupants. These solutions range from minimal passive signal routing that ensure coverage to sophisticated digital distributed antenna systems that add additional cellular capacity. There is no one-size-fits-all IBW solution; the correct approach depends on the nature of the building and the scope of wireless services required.

The following information examines different available IBW solutions, the challenges that come with them and the emerging technologies that are changing the landscape of IBW.

Distributed Antenna Systems

One of the most common approaches to in-building wireless is the distributed antenna system, or DAS. In the context of buildings, this is sometimes referred to as indoor DAS or iDAS.

The principle behind a DAS is simple: by placing antennas strategically throughout a building — e.g., one in each room — cellular signals can be distributed where users need them. The signals can originate outside the building, in which case an external antenna receives and sends the signals to internal antennas, or the signals can come from an on-site base transceiver station (BTS) provided by a carrier.

In effect, a DAS can increase cellular capacity for a building and allow wireless signals to clearly reach end-user devices.

There are many considerations when planning a DAS. For instance, will it need to support multiple cellular carriers? What sources of interference will need to be mitigated? Will the system need to respond to changing user behavior? How will it be installed, and how much will it cost? Several types of DAS architectures address these differing needs.

Passive DAS

The simplest type of DAS is called a passive DAS. Such systems are best-suited for smaller buildings without complex or changing requirements. A passive DAS receives cellular signals from an external antenna and sends them through a low-loss coaxial cable to a bidirectional amplifier (BDA). From the BDA, the signal is sent over coaxial cables to multiband antennas throughout the building, being directed with passive components such as splitters and couplers.

Passive DAS systems can be an economical choice for IBW, but design complexity increases with the number of carriers that must be supported. Installing coaxial cables throughout the building can be difficult, and passive DAS systems are particularly susceptible to passive intermodulation (PIM) interference.

Active DAS

As cellular technology has evolved, a much more common approach to IBW is what’s called an active DAS. Such a system resembles a passive DAS, but, as its name suggests, an active DAS employs active RF components. Although this results in a more complex system with higher power consumption, it allows much more control over the signal distribution. An active DAS is configured with a head-end unit that receives multiple RF signals and distributes them to remote radio units throughout a building. These remote radio units rebroadcast the RF signal through either integrated or external antennas.

Active DAS systems use single-mode (SM) or multimode (MM) fiber-optic cables between the head-end unit and remote radio units, a transmission medium that is both easier to install and less lossy than the coaxial cables used in passive DAS systems. This enables longer fiber-optic cable lengths in an active DAS compared with coaxial cable lengths in a passive DAS. In an active DAS, the fiber-optic cables feed into the remote radio units, which serve as the RF source for the antennas and which can be placed close to them, regardless of the length of the fiber-optic cable. In a passive DAS, the antennas are necessarily separated from the RF source by the entire length of the coaxial cable. This allows an active DAS to encompass much greater distances within a building (or campus) than a passive DAS. The use of fiber-optic cables also means active DAS systems have less potential exposure to PIM, though care must still be taken to guard against PIM in the passive RF components before the head-end unit as well as around the antennas.

Active DAS systems have a higher cost than passive DAS systems, as they require more equipment and more space to implement. However, they provide more flexibility as well. The signals sent to each antenna can be tuned band-by-band to ensure optimal coverage across the spectrum. With active gain elements and low-loss fiber-optic cables, active DAS systems are also a better fit for larger buildings.

Hybrid DAS

There is an approach between active and passive DAS called, fittingly, hybrid DAS. A hybrid DAS employs active components, including head-end units and remote radio units, in the same way as an active DAS. However, the remote radio units distribute signals passively throughout a particular zone of coverage in the same fashion as a passive DAS, routing RF signals via splitters and similar components to several multiband antennas. This saves on capital expenditure, as fewer remote radio units and less fiber optic-cable are required than in an active DAS. However, each remote radio unit must provide power high enough to support its zone of coverage.

Digital DAS

A variant of active (or hybrid) DAS that uses digital instead of analog signals is called a digital DAS. The configuration of a digital DAS is similar to an active DAS, with RF signals being conditioned and routed through a head-end unit over fiber-optic cables to multiband remote radio units and antennas throughout the building. However, whereas an active DAS distributes analog optical signals over the fiber-optic cables, a digital DAS head-end unit converts the analog RF signals into digital optical signals.

These signals can be sent directly to a remote radio unit, but additionally flexibility can be achieved by sending them to components called expansion units. These convert the optical signals into electrical signals and route them as necessary to different remote radio units, which can be determined in software. Older digital DAS products used Ethernet cables between expansion units and remote radio units, but modern systems like the Sunwave Solutions CrossFire 2.0 DAS use a hybrid fiber/power cable all the way to the end node. Digital DAS systems support Common Public Radio Interface (CPRI) or other communication protocols.

One key advantage of a digital DAS is that signals can be addressed to specific remote radio units. This allows building operators to adjust coverage dynamically throughout their facility; for example, switching signals from one zone to another based on the time of day. Another advantage is that digital signals have a much better signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) than the modulated analog signals on the fiber-optic cables, making them more resilient to losses. For this reason, it may be possible to reuse existing fiber-optic cables in a building rather than installing dedicated cables. A hybrid fiber/power cable can bring power directly to a remote radio unit. For example, the Sunwave CrossFire N2RU nano power remote unit supports eight bands with a power output of 20 dBm per band. If even higher powers are needed, such as in tunnels, digital DAS systems can also use high-power remote radio units powered with a local supply. PIM is largely alleviated in a digital DAS, though sources of interference around the antennas still must be considered.

Distributed Small Cells

An emerging architecture for IBW is distributed small cells (DSC), often shortened to small cell. In contrast to a DAS, which contains a centralized source with a single backhaul connection to the operator network, a small cell system consists of a network of individual nodes that each must have a separate power supply and backhaul connection. Depending on their coverage and capacity, small cells can be further categorized as metrocells, nanocells, picocells and femtocells in descending order of power.

Small cells have both pros and cons. They can often be deployed quickly and with lower cost than a DAS, but they are much less flexible. Small cells typically only support a single carrier and only one or two bands, whereas a DAS can support multiple carriers and bands. Small cells may not be an adaptable solution if the needs of a building change. To accommodate the individual backhaul links, some small cells (generally femtocells) need reliable high-speed internet, though other cells (generally nano and picocells) employ a dedicated backhaul to the carrier.

Approaching IBW Design

As we mentioned earlier, there is no single correct approach to in-building wireless solutions; what’s best for one facility may be a poor fit for another. We’ll now take a closer look at some of the challenges and trade-offs that must be balanced in any IBW solution.

Compatibility

Ultimately, an IBW solution will succeed or fail based on the experiences of the end users. Thus, it is crucial to consider these end users when planning a system. For example, an office worker using a smartphone will have a much different user experience requirement than a first responder using a two-way radio. With an ever-growing number of wireless standards and multiple operators to consider, it is necessary to ensure support for as many current and future mobile technologies as possible. For example, 5G is steadily rolling out and will become ubiquitous within the next several years. Although users will expect support for this latest standard, an IBW solution must not neglect older but common standards such as LTE and 3G.

It’s also important to recognize that 5G will in time be supplanted by 6G, which will give way to 7G, and so on. It is therefore vital to plan ahead and ensure that future technologies can be supported without completely overhauling IBW equipment or architecture.

Total Cost of Ownership

The total cost of ownership, or TCO, is one of the most important variables to consider when planning an IBW solution. More expense does not necessarily mean better experience. If you have a small-to-medium-sized building that doesn’t need to support many operators and that won’t change much over time, a small cell system or passive DAS can provide a perfectly suitable solution for the lowest cost. On the other hand, if your facility is large or spread out and will need to adapt dynamically to changing user behavior, a more expensive digital DAS system may be warranted. For an accurate picture of the TCO, you must consider the cost of all equipment (head-end units, remote radio units, cooling equipment, cabling, etc.) as well as all installation and operating costs (electricity, fiber leases, IP backhaul, real estate and roof access, etc.). Systems such as the CrossFire 2.0 digital DAS platform reduce TCO with features including extremely low power consumption and hybrid fiber/power cabling to simplify installation

Interference

It is important to understand and mitigate all sources of interference that your IBW solution may experience. A common source of noise is PIM, which can arise in passive RF components. The prevalence of PIM decreases from a passive DAS (most susceptible) to an active DAS (less susceptible) to a digital DAS (least susceptible) but must always be considered in a design, so make sure you look for components with low PIM. Besides PIM, there may be RF interference originating from outside your building.

This is most common in dense urban areas with a lot of wireless traffic. To combat such problems, RF insulation may be necessary.

Choosing the Right Antennas

Although a DAS can distribute RF signals throughout a building, the last stop before the end device is the antennas. In active and digital DAS architectures, some remote radio units have integrated multiband antennas, but it can often be advantageous to use external antennas. In this way, specific antennas can be chosen based on the setting and application they serve, such as wireless carrier, public safety or both. Where an omnidirectional antenna may be useful in some circumstances, a directional antenna may make more sense in others. Choosing the correct antenna and placing it properly is a flexible way to tune your IBW performance (and aesthetic).

Finding the Right Partner

In-building wireless solutions provide a way to ensure sufficient wireless coverage and capacity for a given building. However, there are a variety of IBW solutions and architectures, each with advantages and trade-offs. For a quick and inexpensive way to add capacity, distributed small cells are an increasingly popular approach. For a complex facility with many users of different needs, a sophisticated digital DAS may be the only tenable solution. When partnering with IBW system and component providers, communicate the specific needs of your building. Providers like Sunwave Solutions offer a wide portfolio of IBW technology to help you implement the right solution.

Source: Gap Wireless

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Field Talk

How the Wireless Industry Wins in the Field

As Mike Tyson said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.” And so it goes with wireless infrastructure deployment. Across the wireless communications ecosystem, we in the wireless infrastructure business spend years planning for capital budgets, site acquisition, material availability and vendor selection. However, once the trucks roll, and we get boots on the ground, anything can happen and often does.

The business of deploying crews to sites to construct towers and small cells comes full of risk. Weather delays, incomplete site details, missing tools and materials, dependencies on third parties and many other variables combine to stack the odds against a successful deployment.

These factors affect all of us in the wireless infrastructure business. Any barrier to the efficient deployment of wireless infrastructure in the field brings consequences across the entire ecosystem, from operators looking to add services, to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) with commitments to get their equipment on towers, to developers looking to make a profit from their assets.

A Focus on Hours

Labor hours represent the key currency of a wireless construction company and often account for more than 70 percent of operating costs.

Kent SmithKent Smith, vice president of operations at Wireless Services

Nevertheless, wireless construction companies often have limited ability to learn where those field hours are taking place. The tools of the trade — whiteboards, spreadsheets and manual time entry that, in many cases, takes place days after the fact — constrain the ability to measure daily progress and productivity. Without accurate measurement, it’s difficult to improve performance.

Kent Smith, the vice president of operations at Wireless Services, has spent more years than he would care to admit working in the field. However, his deep experience brings insights into all the ways a field deployment can go sideways. These days, Smith focuses on overseeing the movements of more than 20 dedicated field crews across six states.

Wireless Services has its headquarters in Gonzales, Louisiana, and offers turnkey design, build and maintenance services for complex distributed antenna system (DAS) network deployments, such as airports, stadiums and convention centers.

“These types of projects require tight coordination with remote teams, material suppliers, clients and multiple third parties.” Smith said. “More often than not, the accounting of field hours against critical tasks gets lost in the mix.”

A Major Opportunity

An analysis of Fieldclix client data, representing more than 80,000 daily deployments, shows that field crews will spend anywhere from 10 to 40 percent of their daily hours away from the project site. The percentage depends on the type of project, site location and other variables. At the extreme low end, for a company with 40 crew members, the percentage can represent more than 30,000 hours a year spent away from the construction site.

Our analysis also showed a 15 percent increase in time-on-site is possible with the improved visibility and control that comes with field operations software. This increase represents more than 7,000 additional on-site hours for our example company with 40 crew members, or the equivalent of more than three extra field resources.

Smith initially focused on moving from reactive to proactive timekeeping.

“We had too many people in the field giving an estimate of their hours at the end of the week, with no ability to determine how many hours were spent on different activities,” Smith said. “Because of this, our project managers and operations managers had limited situational awareness of how labor hours were contributing to progress on their remote builds.”

The limited situational awareness not only affected Smith’s ability to identify areas for operational improvement, but also created challenges with the accuracy and confidence of their estimates for new project bids.

“We had limited ability to determine the number of hours that went to overhead and other non-project-related activities, so our bidding process was partially based on subjective experience rather than accurate historical numbers,” he said.

After evaluating several software options, Smith selected the Fieldclix platform, which uniquely automates the creation of timecards with GPS tracking.

Pole-mount small cell cabinetGPS-based timecards

“We looked at many mobile timekeeping applications such as T-Sheets, but they still required field crews to manually indicate when they arrived on-site and select the proper job codes, which inevitably introduces human error into the system,” Smith said.

With automatically generated timecards based on GPS, Smith and his project managers receive accurate daily updates about where field hours are being spent. The information gives them the ability to work with their field crews to identify and eliminate unnecessary off-site activities. As an added bonus, they receive early warnings on potential labor cost overruns, which allows them to make adjustments while there’s still time to make a difference.

Follow-on Benefits

With these newly deployed timekeeping processes in place, Smith and his team saw some additional positive trends across the company.

“There was a cultural shift,” Smith said. “Our operations managers now dispatch with an eye on getting tasks done and can hold their teams accountable to hitting concrete targets. This changed their focus from fighting daily fires to managing adherence to the project budget.”

In addition, the ability to capture accurate historical data for field activities brought a positive effect to project bids. “We’ve moved from committee-based estimating to data-driven pricing,” Smith said. “The result is a more accurate bid, with less artificial headroom for risk and a better price for the client, so everyone wins.”

Focus on the Big Picture

With these changes to how his company is managing field operations, Smith has the confidence to step away and focus on other improvement initiatives with the knowledge that his project management and operations teams are actively managing the hours at stake.

As an industry in which we all have a stake in the successful deployment of wireless infrastructure, we can be thankful to have people like Smith focused on improving how to deliver these final and critical stages of the field installation process.

Rob Tymchyshyn is cofounder and CEO of Fieldclix, a provider of project management software for remote construction. His email address is [email protected].

 

Product Showcase

Camouflage & Concealment Products

4G & 5G Concealment Shrouds

Charles Industries

Charles produces a variety of 4G & 5G Concealment Shrouds that each offer robust operational capability while also providing a level of concealment that renders operation discrete. mmWave 5G radios require antennas to be free from interference. Charles solutions leverage aesthetic openings enabling the antenna from 5G radios to protrude for a clear transmission path. They provide a platform on which a myriad of radio configurations and supporting equipment can be deployed. Charles’ lineup of 4G & 5G shroud solutions fall into four main categories: Pole Top Shrouds, Pole Side Shrouds, Side Arm Mount Shrouds, and Ground Mount Shrouds.

www.charlesindustries.com

Modular Screenwall System

ConcealFab

ConcealFab has developed an innovative screenwall system that has been refined over the years with deployments across the globe. Equipped with clearWave™, our concealment panels have been extensively tested in our on-site RF chamber for frequencies ranging from low band through mmW. Our panels are outdoor rated, structurally sound, and can be matched to any color or pattern with UV stable, weatherproof, 3M film.

www.concealfab.com

FiberScreen™ & PolyScreen™

Peabody Engineering & Supply, Inc.

You see us everywhere and yet... you don’t! There are estimated to be over 4.78 billion cell phone users worldwide which equates to a LOT of antennas both big and small. We have a unique fabrication process and proprietary FiberScreen™ and PolyScreen™ products, which allow us to create unique and custom shelters and enclosures for each specific location. Our cell site enclosures are fully engineered, modular, bolt in‐place assemblies that save thousands of dollars in labor and ensure a predictable, high‐quality installation. The concealments seamlessly blend in with the existing architecture, adding value and beauty for many years to come.

www.4peabody.com

InvisiWave

RayCap

Raycap provides its Stealth concealment solutions for next generation 5G networks. With concealed light poles, pole toppers, shrouds, macro site or custom rooftop screen walls that blend in seamlessly in any environment, the company supports carrier initiatives to enable the rollout of next generation 5G telecommunications infrastructure. If you’re installing 5G mmWave applications our InvisiWave™, a fully-tested and approved solution for concealing 5G mmWave radios, can provide unique design solutions to help meet the needs of carriers and municipalities alike. And our composite materials are excellent for C-Band concealments. InvisiWave screen wall pictured here was installed in Boston in 2020.

www.raycap.com

RFTransparent MonoEucalyptus

Solar Communications International, Inc.

SCI has been hiding your sites for over 20 years, leading the way in product design and innovation. Count on SCI to deliver the products and services you need to satisfy even the toughest critics. Rooftop to mountain top. Parking lot to playground.

www.rftransparent.com

RFTransparent Water Tank Tower

Solar Communications International, Inc.

SCI has been hiding your sites for over 20 years, leading the way in product design and innovation. Count on SCI to deliver the products and services you need to satisfy even the toughest critics. Rooftop to mountain top. Parking lot to playground.

www.rftransparent.com

TerraCast Fluted Sleeve

TerraCast Products

CLICK ON THE LINK AND LEARN HOW EASY IT IS TO INSTALL TERRACAST CONCEALMENT PRODUCTS! Many cities and municipalities struggle with accepting plain monopoles to be erected because of aesthetics. The TerraCast Fluted Sleeve has provided a solution to this problem. Whether it’s a new or an existing installation, the sleeve will transform a plain pole into a decorative, fluted design without compromising the structure or wind load. Made of a color-thru, UV stabilized, and high-grade polyethylene resin, the decorative sleeve will protect the base pole from direct sunlight, which will dramatically extend the life of the pole’s surface.

www.terracastproducts.com

Adaptive Pole Top Kits (APT)

Valmont-Larson

Valmont-Larson is the industry leader in all types of wireless camouflage, including architectural and rooftop structures. Our custom designs are RF friendly, and our newest flat panel system offers an economical, lightweight concealment option. Whether developing sites in natural landscape environments, high traffic urban areas, or rural settings, Valmont-Larson designs, engineers and produces site camouflage solutions that provide optimal performance and blend seamlessly into their surroundings. Popular form factors include parapet walls, chimneys, smoke stacks, cupolas, steeples, wall boxes, and more!

www.valmontlarson.com

CityPole Small Cell Concealment Poles

Comptek

Comptek designs, engineers and manufactures CityPole , a flexible smart pole system. Since 2016 the CityPole has been deployed by major wireless operators, utility providers and municipalities. The system is deployed across multiple states and jurisdictions, on campuses, and in private developments and public rights-of-way.

www.comptektechnologies.com

Comptek 5G Modular Shroud

Comptek

Comptek’s 5G modular shroud is designed for maximum flexibility. Deploy as a single module, bi-sector or tri-sector array. With an integrated bracket design, each modular shroud can be strapped to existing vertical infrastructure including lightpoles, small-cell poles, wood poles and traffic signal poles. In compliance with GR-487 thermal performance requirements, the 5G modular shroud manages airflow through Comptek’s patent pending airflow duct system.

www.comptektechnologies.com

Birds on Blue

CellTech

The Birds on Blue project is a culmination of over 4 years of design and negotiations amongst the tower owner and design team. In 2016, CellTech partnered to provide it's expertise in additional design, fabrication, and installation. Being both the General Contractor and Concealment vendor, the two phased approach had us fabricating in our shop and then on site for final install. Birds on Blue represents the creative capabilities of bypassing structural augmentations, trees , cupolas, church steeples, etc and producing concealment that’s art. We’re everywhere you don’t see us.

www.celltechinc.us
 

Company Showcase

Tower Manufacturing Companies

Musco

The Communication-Structure System monopole from Musco Lighting offers Internet service providers a complete solution that can be deployed in two days or less, simplifies site acquisition, creates safer installation process, and delivers better reliability. Musco backs the system with a 10-year parts and labor warranty for long-term peace of mind.

Solar Communications International, Inc.

SCI has been hiding your sites for over 20 years, leading the way in product design and innovation. Count on SCI to deliver the products and services you need to satisfy even the toughest critics. Rooftop to mountain top. Parking lot to playground.

Telecom Tower Rentals LLC

Telecom Tower Rentals, LLC specializes in providing temporary ballast mounted monopoles throughout the USA. We lease our towers on a month to month basis, come in heights of 70’ to 170’ and can accommodate maximum inventory in the smallest space without ground penetration or guy wires.

Western Utility Telecom, Inc.

Western Utility Telecom offers innovative antenna supporting solutions and related products for Macro sites, small cell, DAS, Joint use, and concealment applications.

In This Issue  
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From The Editor

Wireless Infrastructure Comes out Ahead With the U.S. Supreme Court

In 2018, the FCC issued orders intended to encourage expansion of wireless communications....
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5G China

We Must Win the Race to 5G

China’s acts... threaten not only the U.S. economy, but also the global innovation system ...
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Concealment

5G Deployments Demand Improved Small Cell Camouflage

5G small cell sites are already appearing on busy city streets, historic sites and neighbo...
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Concealment

A New Approach to Rooftop Concealments

Building owners welcome the rent wireless communications carriers pay for placing cellular...
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Power Systems

Making the Case for Hybrid Power Systems in the United States

We are moving closer and closer to a world with 100 percent access to mobile cellular netw...
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Small Cells

Sponsored Article

5G: Redefining the Requirements for Small Cell Coaxial Cables and Connectors The race is o...
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Site and Tower Technology

Offsetting Wind Loading for 5G MIMO Antennas

Whether telecommunications towers and other wireless communications access infrastructure ...
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Site and Tower Technology

The Importance of Timing at 5G Cell Sites

The nature of 5G wireless communications infrastructure means that mobile network operator...
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Infrastructure Opportunities

Shared Spectrum to Multiply Opportunities for Infrastructure Providers

Ray LaChance, CEO of ZenFi Networks The architecture for 5G wireless communications ...
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Small Cells

Municipalities and Carriers: Are We Getting Along Yet?

Sometimes, tension marks the relationship between wireless communications carriers and mun...
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5G

Looming Threats Imperil 5G Standalone Security

Despite a global pandemic, the evolution to full 5G wireless communications has moved on, ...
In-building wireless systems. -
IBW

In-building Wireless Report

Wireless connectivity has never been as crucial to as many people as it is today. In a new...
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Field Talk

How the Wireless Industry Wins in the Field

As Mike Tyson said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.” And so it go...