CommScope conceals metro cell deployments

Concealment Solution is designed to smooth the installation and approvals process for small cells deployed on street furniture.

Antenna and site equipment manufacturer CommScope has announced a Metro Cell Concealment Solution that is designed to smooth the installation and approvals process for small cells deployed on street furniture, and give operators or site owners more flexibility in deployment.

Colin Bryce, Director of Technical Sales, CommScope, said that the two enclosures, one designed to house antenna elements and another the radio base station, were designed for the class of small cell known as metro cells; 5-10W elements that fit in “underneath” the macro layer.

Equipment manufacturers such as Alcatel-Lucent, which markets its outdoor small cell as a metro cell, have gone to some lengths to ensure their products are aesthetically acceptable. But CommScope said that its solution provides an unobtrusive mount to hide radios, antennas, backhaul termination back-up batteries and other equipment on street poles. It also takes care of elements like ease of installation, and the ability to add a second radio from a different operator, if necessary, or different antenna configurations.

Bryce said that this allowed for a flexible deployment of antennas and radio units – rather than just attaching a single omni antenna to the lamppost – so that operators can add increased sector antennas, or add more radio units in a multi-operator environment. “Our solution enables a quasi-omni, in that we can have one radio into a three sector antenna, or can do twin sector antennas, or two radio units. These are flexible options within one design package,” Bryce said.

The enclosure also enables certain technical tweaking. One example is the control that the concealment solution can give operators over the radiation pattern, to limit upper side lobe leakage. Upper side lobe radiation is the pattern that “escapes” from an antenna’s radiating element towards the top side of the antenna. When the antenna has been tilted downwards as in a low level street deployment to cover a certain targeted area, that means the upper side lobe path broadcasts much more horizontally than upwards, which can cause interference problems. In a macro deployment this is less of an issue as the signal radiates up into the sky.

A CommScope statement said  The Metro Cell Concealment Solution makes installation easier and more reliable because it can be:

Installed without ground-based cabinets and rights of way—the two enclosures occupy much less space than what is allowed in most local requirements.

Rapidly assembled using a unique mounting system—much of the intricate assembly involving power, filtering and cabling can be performed offsite.

Installed in a single work shift, minimizing on-street disruption and the opportunity for error.

Installed to support multiple radio technologies or a second network operator, if required.

Permitted once without the need for a second zoning application when changing radios or technologies.

CommScope will demonstrate the Metro Cell Concealment Solution at Mobile World Congress 2015 in Hall 2, Stand #2E46.