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Growing Demand for In-Building Wireless Creates New Testing Needs

As DAS and small cells take off, gain competitive advantage with an end-to-end solution that drives ROI and customer satisfaction

As carriers shift emphasis from macro builds to providing the same level of LTE connectivity in-building, the outlook for distributed antenna systems (DAS) and small cell deployment, by carriers, venue owners and enterprises, is strong.

This trend of densification is setting the long-term stage for commercial rollouts of incredibly high capacity next-generation 5G mobile networks. Another more immediate factor is the coming build of FirstNet, which is designed to support public safety communications everywhere.

Although the goal is providing a consistent level of coverage and capacity to end users regardless of location and network congestion, DAS and small cells require not only a different type of business case, but also a different technical skill set. Tom Martino, a Strategic Accounts Manager for Anritsu, discussed the trends around in-building wireless and how they impact vital test and measurement processes in a recent interview with RCR Wireless News.

“DAS systems and small cells get you more coverage in a small area or an area that you couldn’t reach with a macro cell,” he explained. “But these refined, often multi-carrier, multi-vendor deployments, which require extensive planning and design coupled with tight, event-specific turn up deadlines, are costly. Drawing from that, it’s important to find opportunities to gain efficiency and cut operational costs,” Martino said.

“We’ll save you money by eliminating the need for multiple tests, so that customers are able to turn on a DAS on time and with confidence. We do that by investing in the details and providing flexible tools to test all the components of a small cell, a DAS or an in-building system. We have ways to emulate the base station signal, send it through all the component pieces to verify the signal is going where it should be, that proper signal levels are in place and that the signal is distributed properly.”

To expedite testing of new DAS installations, Anritsu introduced SkyBridge ToolsTM to manage the high volume of measurements needed, which includes RF line sweep, OTDR and PIM testing. A typical DAS installation can require more than 10,000 tests; compare that to around 150 tests in a macro cell installation. SkyBridge Tools enables this simplicity through automation by creating test scripts based on the output from common DAS design software packages. Test results are then archived on a cloud platform for analysis from any location.

Anritsu’s ACCESS MasterTM MT9083C2 is ready to use, indoors and outdoors, in less than 15 seconds and features the ability to test up to four wavelengths with a single unit, ITU-T recommended 1650 nm for in-service troubleshooting, SCPI remote command report, PDF reporting and more in a 5.7- pound form factor.

Take a look at this use-case involving interference hunting in South Florida, the 8th largest metroplex in the U.S. within one RF envelope. Industry collaborators built a custom solution using Anritsu technology.

“We knew the solution would start with the Anritsu S412E,” Dan Deveson, Cooper General lead engineer said. “No other single piece of equipment is more vital to our business. Because it so easily switches between RF technologies and testing systems, it is the most effective and efficient way to find and abate interference fast. Something that can be truly life saving in a public safety application.”

Anrtisu also offers hands-on, instructor-led technical training in both active DAS and passive DAS systems to help technicians stay on the cutting edge of technology and the workforce.

“Customers need a comprehensive, streamlined solution to improve DAS return on investment and customer satisfaction,” Martino said. “Installation contracts need to perform a complex variety of RF tests to verify that the system is built according to the plan and that the service level is acceptable. Anritsu gives you that end-to-end solution.”

For more information on Anritsu and its portfolio of test and measurement solutions, visit us online at: www.anritsu.com/en-us/test-measurement

 

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