12 Feb 2014

Easy Cellular Tower Top Connections

Expanding on its Andrew SiteRise solution, CommScope has introduced its Andrew SiteRise Standard Interface.

This new connector system is aimed at reducing installation and maintenance cost, risk and time at the top of cellular network towers and simplifies the interface between the base station antenna and virtually any Remote Radio Unit, RRU technology.

With operators wanting to improve performance and reliability, while keeping costs to a minimum, tower-top solutions are becoming more widely deployed. These tower top installations considerably reduce the unavoidable losses introduced by the feeder. However reliability is always an issue, and even with reliability improving, some faults will always occur and require the field engineer to climb the tower to replace and repair.

Another problem that is also affecting many installations is that or passive intermodulation, PIM. LTE is particularly vulnerable to this form of interference and it can be difficult to locate and cure. These products are generated by the non-linear effects caused by metal to metal contact. Corrosion can often occur, especially where dissimilar metals meet - as a result it was sometimes called the rusty bolt effect. The oxides can create a non-linear area where two signals passively intermodulate to produce unwanted in-band signals.

It has been shown that connectors are the most common source of PIM, so reducing the number of connectors, or radically changing their mode of operation could eliminate the issue.

To improve matters an easy form of interconnect is required that is reliable and PIM free.

This is what the SiteRise solution aims to achieve. The system uses a pre-assembled tower top solution. In this way it brings bring factory assembled quality and consistency to the field assembly environment of a wireless network cell site.

Andrew SiteRise facilitates the rapid implementation of RRU technology in close physical proximity to the antenna connectors, reducing losses and improving network performance. The SiteRise solution already is proving cost-effective for operators by moving the complex connection, configuration and testing work from the top of the tower to ground level where it can be done in a controlled environment.

Key to the SiteRise this solution is a patented connector technology that provides an essentially PIM-free, blind mate connection. Rather than using a direct metal to metal contact the new connector technology uses a capacitive connection that does not need a metal to metal contact.

The connectors are able to operate over the required frequency range with an almost lossless connection.

Combined with the HELIAX FiberFeed direct cabling solution from CommScope, the two approaches aim to considerably easy tower-top installations, improving their performance and making them more reliable.

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