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February 06, 2013

CommScope's New Six Sector Solution Nearly Doubles Antenna Capacity

By Christopher Mohr, TMCnet Contributing Writer


CommScope announced on Tuesday that it has developed a cellular antenna technology that improves performance, needing only three antennas to do what used to take six antennas to do. The technology, known as the Six Sector Solution, can handle more data, has better penetration into buildings and reduced interference.

The solution is part of CommScope's Andrew Six-Sector Turnkey Solution, developed in response to increasing smartphone use and offered to cell phone service providers upgrading the antenna hardware on cell towers.

The Hickory, North Carolina-based company provides infrastructure solutions for networks. These include solutions for carriers, like antenna systems and networking solutions for enterprise and government.

These include solutions designed for specific types of facilities, like airports, healthcare and petroleum.

Commscope (News - Alert) cites two sources that demonstrate how sharp the increase in service demand from subscribers can be. Research from the June 2012 Pew (News - Alert) Internet and American Life study showed that 31 percent of mobile subscribers only use smartphones to access the Web.

A July 2009 Cellular News article pointed out that even a brief YouTube (News - Alert) video can use the same capacity as 500,000 simultaneous text messages.

Six Sector is designed to address problems that cell providers face as they upgrade antenna configurations on cell towers to meet higher demand. Adding new cell towers sites is a long, drawn-out process that can be expensive. The costs of erecting a new tower are expensive, and getting regulatory approval to add a tower can take as long as two years.

Increasing the capacity of an existing tower is not easy, as it requires very tedious sector-splitting techniques to work properly. Adding antennas increases the wind load on the tower. Mixing a new-generation antenna with older antennas may require additional hardware such as filters, amplifiers and multi-band combiners.

Providing the capacity of six conventional antennas by using only three antennas is possible thanks to Twin (News - Alert) Beam technology. As the name suggests, one antenna now emits two beams. Call providers can add capacity without having to build new cell towers and meet the growing demands of their customers.

No one needs the studies that CommScope cites to know that mobile devices are displacing PCs. One need only look at the circumstances of Michael Dell taking Dell, Inc. private to understand this trend.

As mobile users, we want our Facebook, YouTube and Hulu (News - Alert) now, but often don't appreciate the infrastructure needed to make that possible. CommScope has found an innovative way to help service providers solve several daunting problems that come with upgrading antennas on a cell tower.

It's advances like these that make it possible to meet increasing demand and impatient users from switching service providers.




Edited by Braden Becker



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