When a Neutral Host Network (NHN) is deployed to enable seamless in-building coverage, it can take time before multiple major Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) sign up to take part in providing coverage. This creates a challenge for network owners that need to reduce the capex for deploying the network when a single MNO agreement is in place while allowing an easy path for the future addition of MNOs.
“It may take a few months to years to get all MNOs to sign up as ‘tenants’ of the network,” said Rohan Shah, Product Manager at Microlab. “The challenge for network owners is having to deploy an expensive, fixed, ‘one size fits all’ point-of-interface (POI) solution for the RAN network that will serve the MNOs joining on day one but will also accommodate the MNOs that join later.”
To meet this need, Microlab introduced the MCC Series POI, a passive Modular Carrier Combiner for Neutral Host Small Cell and D-RAN architectures, which can accommodate a single MNO while being scalable to achieve additional MNO deployments.
“The modular POI platform provides building owners and their NHN designer with the ability to rapidly deploy and commission the network for just the lead MNO but also with seamless modular expansion for additional MNOs in the future,” Shah said.
The modular POI can also allow a system to be upgraded from the standpoint of both technology and spectrum. Systems can be future-proofed to accommodate networks as they evolve and new licensed, unlicensed, and shared bands are introduced.
“The building operational efficiency is thus improved while minimizing the need to rip and replace the network solution to address emerging requirements,” Shah said.
The MCC allows many configurations to support multi-carrier, multi-band Neutral Host MIMO or SISO applications. It combines RAN remote heads for RF distribution, providing scalability from one operator SISO configuration to up to four operators in 4×4 MIMO for one sector.
“The MCC Series is designed for maximum versatility for a variety of configurations,” Shah said. “In addition, it enables a modular expansion to higher-order MIMO for improving capacity when needed.”
From a more tactical perspective, the modular POI enables other operational efficiencies. For example, the product is passively cooled, so no external power or fans are required as separate thermal and electrical considerations for building owners. The solution was also designed to fit into compact spaces, optimized for low loss in a modular enclosure compatible with standard 19-inch racks.
“The modular POI provides superior density to address multiple MNOs and spectrum bands in the least amount of space, which is critical in telecom closets that might be tightly packed with other infrastructure,” Shah said.
Microlab has recently expanded its modular POI product with a new compact and wall-mountable combiner sub-rack MCC200-SRC-01 for Neutral Host SISO “middle-prise” applications. The new sub-rack with integrated 4×4 hybrid combiner enables up to four combiners to be installed for site-specific band configurations.
“With a compact wall-mount solution, we reduced the protrusion from the wall for tightly packed telecom closets as well as future-proof for injection of 5G mid-band services with an ultra-wideband hybrid combiner when required,” Shah said. “The sub-rack combiner trades-off Neutral Host higher-order MIMO scalability for size reduction required for locations where wall clearance for a standard 19” rack is not available, while continuing to offer modular flexibility to add network operators when necessary contracts are in place.”
Microlab is part of Wireless Telecom Group and is based in Parsippany, NJ. For more information, visit www.microlabtech.com or call 973-386-9696.
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