CommScope 2021: What’s Next for Outdoor Wireless Networks?

January 11th, 2021

This article was written by CommScope’s Michael Wolfe, with an exerpt reposted by Alliance Corporation. Alliance is proud to be a value-added distributer for CommScope products.

As an eventful 2020 draws to a close, the telecommunications industry is looking forward to building a future in which connectivity is truly ubiquitous and accessible for all. To help achieve this goal, operators will continue to accelerate their rollouts of 5G networks across the globe in 2021, while governments clear additional spectrum to accommodate more users and data. Concurrently, disaggregation of the RAN will continue as Open RAN deployments gain serious traction and usher in a new generation of products and innovative technology. Let’s take a closer look at these three trends.

5G & Massive MIMO
Although the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting shutdowns have
noticeably impacted the global deployment of 5G networks in certain
countries and regions, rollouts will continue apace in 2021 as 5G
smartphones like Samsung’s Galaxy S20 and Apple’s iPhone 12 hit the
market. To support these new devices, we expect operators to focus
on pragmatic implementations of 5G networks by assessing which
deployments can benefit from active massive MIMO (multiple input/
multiple output) deployments.

Massive MIMO substantially increases spectral efficiency to deliver more
network capacity and wider coverage. However, operators will have
to determine if the extra costs and real-world power requirements
associated with active MIMO deployments are justified, or if a passive
antenna configuration will suffice. Indeed, initial higher-end massive
MIMO deployments in certain geographic locations have reportedly
struggled to keep up with power demands and are routinely shut down
for hours at a time to conserve energy.

From our perspective, massive MIMO deployments are optimally
suited for dense urban deployments, while suburban deployments
can benefit from passive antenna solutions. However, massive
MIMO deployments face challenges even in urban environments,
where upper floors of tall buildings may not be adequately covered
if the most appropriate solution isn’t selected.

Choosing the optimal antenna technology for each deployment
will therefore be a priority for MNOs in 2021. For high data traffic,
operators will look toward 64T64R for dense urban high-rises,
32T32R for urban low-rise structures, 32T32R or 16T16R for
suburban locations, and 32T32R (FWA) for rural areas. For sites with
moderate traffic requirements, MNOs will deploy 8T8R solutions
to adequately cover urban low-rise buildings, as well as suburban
and rural areas.

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