Interleaved passive-active antenna eases 5G rollouts

Nov. 13, 2020
CommScope and Nokia teamed to develop their new interleaved passive-active antenna (IPAA) radio platform.
CommScope
CommScope and Nokia say the modular IPAA simplifies the introduction of 5G NR technology by enabling its deployment on the existing sites - without the need for additional footprint.
CommScope and Nokia say the modular IPAA simplifies the introduction of 5G NR technology by enabling its deployment on the existing sites - without the need for additional footprint.

CommScope and Nokia have teamed up to develop a new interleaved passive-active antenna (IPAA) radio platform. The companies say their modular IPAA simplifies the introduction of 5G NR technology by enabling its deployment on the existing sites - without the need for additional footprint. This means operators can roll out 5G services faster and keep pace with the increasing subscriber demand for mobile broadband.

“Site permitting is a critical issue for wireless network operators today,” says Farid Firouzbakht, senior vice president of Outdoor Wireless Networks, CommScope. “The IPAA enables operators to upgrade and future-proof their networks for new features while supporting existing capabilities within an existing footprint.” 

Building on the companies’ previous collaboration, the versatile hybrid antenna platform consists of two field-replaceable modules: 

  • A purely passive module that supports multiple bands in the range 700 MHz to 2.7 GHz. 
  • A passive-active module that includes TDD beamforming functionality for 5G n78 (3.4-3.8 GHz). This passive-active module also includes an extension of the low band arrays to avoid re-optimizing existing networks at 700-900 MHz.

“Nokia is always looking to increase the flexibility and efficiency of mobile networks for operators and their subscribers,” comments Mika Kahkola, Head of RF Platforms, Nokia. “What is more, the IPAA also helps overcome many of the issues that typically hinder the deployment of 5G, simplifying and speeding-up installation. Additionally, the modularity of the IPAA enables clear upgradeability paths and investment protection, as well as lower OPEX for our customers.”

Both modules can be customized to support various combinations of low- and mid-band capabilities and different radio options for 5G band n78, ranging from 8T8R to 64T64R. This capability allows operators to fully utilize limited space on cell towers and ease typical deployment challenges. 

“Integration of active and passive antennas will be a major challenge for the industry over the next five years,” concludes Joe Madden, founder and chief analyst for Mobile Experts. “The laws of physics can create some difficulties in making integrated antennas small and lightweight…but operators will need the integration to add capacity on their crowded towers. We expect clever engineering to create opportunities for the most innovative antenna suppliers.” 

Learn more about the product.

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