Italian Virtual event – Wireless Carrier – Transcript
Good morning everybody. My name is Gary Grimes. I am the Director of Sales for RF Solutions for Optical Zonu. Marco is with us from the Sincroni family. We have a 15-minute session here to present our solutions for mobile wireless networks and then there will be a five-minute period after that for questions and discussions.
The solutions we have cover these basic product areas. We have a line of GPS over Fiber solutions. These provide a connection between the GPS antenna and the BBUs, base station equipment, or data equipment in general when coax cable is not practical. Then we have what we call ZONUConnect which is a universal RF over fiber connection between any base station configuration and any third-party distributed antenna system. We also have the Antenna Extender which is once again an RF over fiber connection between an off-air antenna and a BDA (a bi-directional amplifier) or a repeater. Finally, I am going to touch on a fiber fed remote radio head for airborne drones.
All modern data networks require sync. That means there has to be some kind of a signal present that ensures that there is a smooth transition of the handoff of data without any errors. And the faster the network the more demanding the sync signal accuracy becomes. One of the most accurate timing sources that exists is the GPS satellite system. This is GPS or Glonass or Galileo. A simple way to take advantage of this is simply put a GPS antenna on the roof with the view of the satellites and bring that to a GPS receiver which generates the timing signals for your network. This signal can be brought to your base station equipment, in the case of cellular mobile wireless, in a couple of ways. You can have a direct connection to the base station equipment that has a GPS receiver on board. For central network architectures, bring it to a grand master timing server that’s at the hub which then generates a precision time protocol (PTP) signal which is sent over the backhaul out to the radios at the edge of the network.
This is our GPS Fiber Transport product which is approved by all the US mobile wireless carriers. We have two basic components. The fiber transmitter, which is the antenna unit connected to the antenna and then there is the base unit. We have versions from one output up to 16 outputs that can be connected directly to the base station equipment. This is something that you would use if the coaxial connection between the antenna and your base station equipment is impractical. Part of that is distance. The mobile wireless carriers specify that, for any distance over 250 feet, you cannot use coax. You must use this fiber solution. The other one is for GPS distribution, say, for centralized radio access network (CRAN) hubs where you have a lot of capacity co-located in the single facility. Distributing GPS to all these baseband units and eNodeBs becomes unwieldy or absolutely impossible using a coaxial approach. Our fiber approach uses low profile equipment and very lightweight fiber. You utilize a 1 x 2, a 1 x 4 or a 1 x 8 optical split to multiple receivers, each of which could have as many as 16 outputs. This allows for a very easy distribution that’s very low profile and manageable.
The other architecture is for the edge of the network for 5g radios. 5G millimeter wave frequencies means that they have to be very close to the users because of propagation limitations. This means a lot of small radios far from the network hub. The PTP signal from the hub can pass through 10 – 12 switches, routers, etc. Every time it goes to one of these switches a sync error is introduced. By the time you actually get to the edge of the network, there are so many errors that your actual data throughput is much less than what you’re hoping it would be. There are two solutions to this. You can install an edge timing server at the location where you have some distributed small cells. Often this is not practical. A second solution is shown here just drop in our fiber system like the one Dario was showing earlier where we have our fiber transmitter connected to an antenna on the roof. We bring a fiber down to an optical splitter that’s co-located with the router for the backhaul signal and then run the fiber along with the backhaul connection to these compact units that convert back to GPS and you connect that to the auxiliary GPS port on each of the small cells. This is simple in concept. You are really not pulling any more cable than you would be anyway and all the components are very cost effective. It is simple, reliable and easy to deploy.
On to the ZONUConnect. For those who are not familiar with this kind of this distributed antenna system (DAS), I will describe it for a moment. If you have a building for instance where, because of walls and windows, the signal from the outdoor macro is blocked, then the way to bring uniform coverage inside is used to distribute antenna system. You have the base stations for the network signal that are connected to a DAS head end which splits the signal and routes it to coverage antennas throughout the building to give uniform coverage. In this case. We are showing what we call an active DAS. DAS will do this splitting then convert the RF to an optical signal, run it over fiber to a remote unit that is then connected to those coverage antennas. Coverage is part of it the concern but it is also crucial that a distributed antenna system provide the necessary capacity. Any environment where there is a concentration of users, you need to be able to support all the expected voice and data capacity or throughput. In this case, you cannot use a repeater and pick off the off-air signal and then repeat it indoors because that that steals capacity from the macro. You have dedicated radios and that means radios for all your services, the different bands and all the other carriers. When you have dense usage, the venue must be divided it into zones so you can concentrate the capacity for one radio into a particular zone so that it is not overwhelmed. You have multiple zones and radios that are dedicated to covering each. For large sites like stadiums and so forth the number of base station radios can get very large. That means that, physically, there can be an issue with trying to co-locate it with the DAS headend and make the connections. Often, one or more of the carriers are going to have to be connecting from off-site someplace down the hall, down the street, maybe from their central office downtown, and that’s where we come in. We do not make the standard distributed antenna systems. There are companies that do that that are well established, and it is an oversaturated market. But this off-site connectivity is what we do with ZONUConnect. We have a very efficient way that that a carrier can install his base station equipment off-site and have a low-profile connection that is generally acknowledged in the US as having the minimum rack space, minimum fiber usage, and the minimum power usage. This is our big advantage compared to alternatives. There are DAS-based solutions and there the BBU-to-RRH (remote radio Head) over CPRI solution. Most of these off-site connection scenarios cost more in money, rack space and power usage.
This is the basic product. It is a fiber transport based on CWDM (coarse wave division multiplexing). All these separate RF channels share a single fiber. Each path has a 2700 MHz bandwidth. There are four different downlink paths and four different uplink paths all sharing a single fiber. We also have as Meir
indicated, much higher frequency components. We have 4 GHz to support band 77 and 6 GHz as well for for future services like LAA in the US. Because we have these wide bandwidths, we get a further efficiency by pre-combining as much as possible onto each one of those optical paths. This is handled by the interface trays at each end. This side is connected to the base station and combines these various services, 700 MHz, 800, 1900, 2100 and so forth – whatever the services are for that particular mobile wireless operator. We pre-combine all the downlink signals onto one optical path. The downlink signals for sector 2 will be combined on another path and so forth. This way we use the minimum amount of equipment to do the transport. At the other end, the combined signal is split we give it gain so that it can drive any third-party DAS efficiently.
The whole system is under is under a computer control. The first pair is the master pair that has got the microprocessor controller. It also provides a data link connection between the two sites over the same fiber. The Master Units have the web page and the graphical user interface pre-loaded. You log into the system, and you see everything connected in the system and you can do the setup, commissioning, and local and remote monitoring. If you have a larger system that requires more sectors, you simply add additional base unit/DAS unit pairs on the transport and interface trays. It is very scalable. Here is a sample page from our GUI. You see this is two MIMO sectors or four SISO sectors. One fiber and three rack units at each end. It would be the same whether there are two bands or six bands – that is unique. The system does not get any bigger in that regard you still have the most efficient rack space.
Now, our Antenna Extender. We mentioned the active DAS earlier. For smaller sites, you can just do the coverage with a passive DAS. This building shown here which has the cellular signal blocked by the building walls and so forth. If I stand on the rooftop here, I have a clear mobile signal coming from this donor site. We install a directional antenna at that location pointed at that donor site then connect over coax to a repeater or bidirectional amplifier inside the building. This will boost the signal then split it and run it over coax to multiple antennas for uniform coverage.
In many situations, the location for the repeater could be a long way from the rooftop where the donor antenna needs to be. This is where we come in. We can just drop in our Antenna Extender in between the donor antenna and repeater when coax is not practical. This is a filtered RF over fiber link. The Antenna Unit is connected to the donor antenna and the Equipment Unit to the bi-directional amplifier or the repeater. It is filtered for the bands it is designed for so it is a non-interfering connection. We have versions for all the commercial bands and public safety. We have a version where we can split this signal and actually go to multiple repeaters. If you are in a remote area and coverage is the issue and not capacity, then this is a solution. You can tap into the off-air signal and route it to a number of facilities.
Finally, I wanted to talk about our development effort on this fiber fed remote radio head for airborne drones. We have done some tests with some partners. This approach has tremendous advantages over doing flying hot spots where you fly the entire small cell on the drone. You are going to be limited in what that that radio can support as far as number of services and the capacity. This way, we can support two bands because we are just flying the front end of the of the radio and all of the capacity is down in the command module on the ground. And because we do not use a big tower, this can be just a compact vehicle like a Mercedes Sprinter. You can deploy these to much higher altitudes than you can with a tower so, much more convenient, much better coverage, and much more capacity. This has a wide range of applications from public safety, disaster recovery, and military as well. We are working with various partners on the complete solution.
This is a quick overview of some of our mobile related solutions. If anybody has questions, we have a few minutes before we are sent back. if anybody has a question about any of this, just put it in chat.