DTV Utah Repack Alps

DTV Utah Completes Successful Repack

DTV Utah Completes Successful Repack

Local community TV group moves six of its eight stations to new frequencies

SALT LAKE CITY— In March 2017, DTV Utah began plans on repacking six of its eight DTV Utah Stations that were required to change frequencies as a result of the spectrum auction. DTV Utah, LLC is a television transmitter site located in the Oquirrh Mountains above Salt Lake City, Utah and was the location of a complex, channel repack project involving nine UHF television stations, with eight of the transmitters combined into a community antenna.

Read the full article to learn how Kathrein solved a variety of challenges that arose with this repack, from new frequency parameters to transmitter cooling at the thin air of 9,000 feet, transmission line performance, the requirement to stay on the air while creating a seamless transition to the new channels, ability to withstand extreme temperatures and more:

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Kathrein Building

Kathrein Exceeds Its Sales Targets in the First Half of 2018

Kathrein has generated more sales than planned in the first six months of this year and is clearly on a growth course. By the end of June, the company had revenues of around €394 million, exceeding its calculated sales target of just under €372 million for this period. Kathrein is also in line or ahead of plan with the important milestones of its restructuring programme.

Compared to the same period of the previous year, the Kathrein Group was able to increase its half-year sales by 2.3 per cent. The Products business unit, main contributor to sales, even increased by 6.1 per cent compared to the first six months of 2017. In its core business, the company is a supplier to the largest and most important network operators and network suppliers.

 “Higher revenues and the implementation of our restructuring measures in the first six months also enabled us to significantly increase our gross profit compared to our plans,” explains Elmar Geissinger, Chief Financial Officer of the Kathrein Group. EBITDA, i.e. earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation, also exceeded expectations. “The figures prove that we are on the right path and give us tailwind for the second half of the year,” continues Geissinger.

NEW PRODUCTION CONCEPT LARGELY IMPLEMENTED

Not only in terms of business figures but also overall, the restructuring of the company is well on its way. A new production concept will be implemented by autumn. The production of mobile communication antennas will then be carried out solely by the plants in Timişoara (Romania) and Tetla (Mexico), while the plant in Shenzhen (China) will produce antenna line devices. By focusing on just a few locations, delivery times will become significantly shorter. Numerous measures were also successfully implemented in sales, purchasing, logistics and IT.

“We are working very diligently through our restructuring plan and we now see that our efforts are bearing fruit,” says Hans-Joachim Ziems, Chief Restructuring Officer at Kathrein. “Our colleagues are doing a great job in their individual teams. In addition to the daily business, they perform many extra tasks.”

NEW PRODUCT ARCHITECTURE FOR MOBILE COMMUNICATION ANTENNAS

As part of the optimisation programmes, the development of a new product architecture for mobile communication antennas is of great importance. “It will enable higher performance and, at the same time, more compact dimensions of the mobile communication antennas,” says Jürgen Walter, Head of Products and COO of the Kathrein Group. According to Walter, the new platform concept allows an increased integration density and the rapid development of customer-specific solutions. It will go into series production in the first quarter of 2019.

Kathrein Once Again Awarded the German Brand Award

Kathrein has repeated its 2017 success and is one of the winners of the prestigious 2018 German Brand Award. A high-level jury of noted experts from business and science honoured the company for its forward-looking Network Vision 2022. More than 1,250 nominations were evaluated in three competition classes. Last year, Kathrein also received two German Brand Awards.

Kathrein’s Network Vision 2022 won in the categories of Brand Strategy and Telecommunications & IT. The jury thus acknowledged the vision’s importance for the successful brand management of the company. The background to the development of Network Vision 2022 is 5G, the next generation of mobile communication, which is ushering in a new age of networking. 5G will enable a multitude of new applications such as autonomous driving, IoT and Industry 4.0. At the same time, the network of the future raises many questions – Kathrein’s Network Vision 2022 provides answers and positions the Kathrein brand as a signpost for the future.

DYNAMIC VISION OF THE FUTURE

For the first time, Network Vision 2022 allows a holistic view of the network of the future. It does not only throw a light on urban agglomerations, but also on rural and remote areas. Future network requirements, technologies and application scenarios are clearly described and made tangible. Kathrein’s Network Vision is not a static, but a dynamic vision. Discussions with customers, business partners, analysts, universities and research institutions are also incorporated. As a result, the vision is constantly evolving.

INTEGRATED COMMUNICATION CONCEPT

With the support of strategic agency partner “brandroom”, the marketing team at Kathrein developed an integrated communication concept for its network vision. The goal: to position the Kathrein brand for the future, initiate dialogues and make the vision come alive. The communication modules include an interactive animation, various video formats and a smartphone app for augmented reality.

“Winning two German Brand Awards reflects the high recognition by the independent jury of brand experts. This makes us very proud,” says Joe Doering, Chief Markets Officer of the Kathrein Group. “My thanks go first and foremost to the marketing team, but also to all the other colleagues who contributed to this success.”

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Antenne 1

Antenne 1 Equips the Langenburg Transmitter with Kathrein Smart Monitoring

The private radio provider Hitradio antenne 1, whose headquarters are in Stuttgart, has equipped its Langenburg antenna system with the Kathrein Smart Monitoring system. Now it can detect technical problems in real time and react to them immediately. Antenne 1 plays a pioneering role in the project. The radio station operates its own antenna system at the Langenburg site and implements an innovative operating concept by using Kathrein Smart Monitoring.

Antenna systems for broadcasting are designed to have reliable operation over decades under the most adverse environmental conditions. If, however, there are impairments in the transmission, for example due to icing or other mechanical influences, damage must be detected and rectified in a timely manner. However, disturbances in the feed system often develop insidiously, without this being immediately noticeable in the transmission. Only permanent antenna monitoring enables network operators to identify problems at an early stage and to initiate necessary measures in order to avoid a system failure.

KATHREIN SMART MONITORING SAVES TIME AND MONEY

With over 65 years of broadcasting experience, Kathrein has launched a system that meets the diverse requirements of the broadcasting industry. Kathrein Smart Monitoring guarantees high availability of the antenna system. The monitoring system does not adversely affect the operating parameters of the antenna and can also withstand external influences such as lightning strike or severe icing.
The system is particularly attractive for private providers with few technical staff. “By using Kathrein Smart Monitoring, the time and costs involved in monitoring transmission systems are significantly reduced, as regular routine checks become unnecessary,” explains Jörg Lippert, Vice President Broadcast Sales at Kathrein.

MEASUREMENT RESULTS ARE AVAILABLE AT ANY TIME

Kathrein Smart Monitoring uses special sensors to record all important operating parameters and compares them with the target values from regular operation. All deviations are fully recorded and can be an early indication of possible faults. The broadcasting station operator can easily retrieve the measurement results at any time via network access and is informed of critical conditions by an alarm message.

“The possibility of permanent control and immediate response to emerging system problems is a trend-setting development of antenna monitoring. We are proud to be part of this progressive process,” says René Knobloch, Technical Director of Hitradio antenne 1.

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5G Project Antenna

Kathrein Supports 5G Test Field for TV Transmission

Kathrein is one of the partners in the research project 5G-Today. Together with Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR, Bavarian Broadcasting), the German broadcast technology institute IRT, Rohde & Schwarz and Telefónica Deutschland, the company looks into the issue of how 5G technology can be used for the transmission of broadcast content. In the Bavarian Oberland, a 5G test field will be developed, in which the broadcast mode FeMBMS (Further evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service) will be tested. The aim is a large-scale and economical television programme distribution on all devices.

The new 5G network standard will be the key technology for highly automated driving and IoT-connected devices. In addition, 5G also offers great potential for the efficient distribution of media content. The introduction of 5G could create a worldwide market with millions of smartphones and tablet PCs as potential TV receivers, which could attractively combine live TV services, media libraries, social networks and many other media services.

START OF TEST OPERATION PLANNED FOR AUTUMN 2018

An exemplary large-scale supply will be put into practice by combining large transmitter cells with small transmitter cells. For this purpose, TV signals are broadcast as test radio on channel 56 from the BR transmitter Wendelstein and from other BR transmitter locations in the Munich area simultaneously. The start of the first broadcasts is scheduled for the end of 2018. Until then, components for sending and receiving are being developed and installed. In addition, theoretical preliminary examinations and simulations will take place.

As a supplier of mobile communication and radio technology, Kathrein can contribute its expertise from both areas. This results in synergies with the existing 5G test field in Rosenheim, which Kathrein operates for its research work. There the interaction of various services can be tested in practice.

THE CONVERGENT NETWORK IS APPROACHING

Ralf Exler, Head of Innovation Management at Kathrein, sees this project as an important factor in the convergence of broadcasting and mobile communication: “Especially young people want to receive broadcast content on all user devices. The new standard will bring the convergent network a bit closer.” The customer does not have to worry about the ways in which he can use content. “At 5G-Today, we will be optimising the antennas and network parameters in the field, as well as testing them on the road to provide innovative technology to our automotive customers.”

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Kathrein booth

Kathrein Presents New Milestones on the Way to 5G

Kathrein demonstrates in Barcelona its technological competency in the field of 5G research, the future mobile communication standard. At the Mobile World Congress 2018, the company showcases, among other things, an innovative antenna system which combines 5G-ready MIMO technology with current mobile technology standards such as LTE (4G). In addition, Kathrein presents its Network Vision 2022 in an interactive animation, mobile communication solutions for indoor and outdoor areas, as well as automotive antenna solutions.

One of the highlights at the exhibition stand (Hall 2, Stand E30) is the innovative antenna system that Kathrein has developed in collaboration with the French telecommunications corporation Orange and network specialist Nokia. The solution enables the upgrading of existing antenna sites without additional space requirements at an optimal cost-benefit ratio. The system is the first of its kind worldwide to integrate a passive multi-band antenna and a “massive adaptive MIMO antenna”, as it is called, into a single unit.

MARKET LAUNCH PLANNED FOR 2019

The new technology is the basis for high-performance, ultra-broadband solutions and paves the way for the practical use of 5G technology. Orange wants to implement the system in France in the middle of 2019 at up to 30 per cent of all antenna sites. Further rollouts are planned in other European countries.

“In this pioneering project, we could bring in our decades of experience in the development, production and implementation of high-performance antennas,” says Anton Kathrein, CEO of the Kathrein Group. “5G is the key technology in the networked age. Together with our partners Nokia and Orange, we are paving the way for a multitude of new applications.”

At the MWC, Kathrein is furthermore presenting innovative mobile communication solutions for indoor and outdoor areas, which cover various frequency ranges within compact spaces and combine multiple transmission and reception antennas. In addition, the company is showcasing the latest development of the K-BOW networking solution, which can be deployed in shopping malls, public transport networks, large corporate head offices and other places. Kathrein Automotive, global market leader in automotive antenna solutions, is also exhibiting new antenna solutions in Barcelona.

NETWORK VISION 2022 DESCRIBES THE NETWORK OF THE FUTURE

The Network Vision 2022 is a high-priority issue at the exhibition stand. By means of interactive animations, the company illustrates how the communication network will develop and which requirements will result therefrom. Kathrein differentiates between four geographical situations with specific network demands: large urban areas, suburban areas, rural areas and remote areas. Already, Kathrein’s portfolio offers solutions for multiple requirements in this regard.

“We are in close contact with our partners and customers to exchange ideas and compare thoughts about our Network Vision,” says Anton Kathrein. “Our discussions lead to ever new aspects, which make our idea of the networked world of tomorrow more concrete and give us important impulses for our development work.”

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Kathrein USA Network Vision

Kathrein’s Network Vision 2022

Increased internet availability enables an increasingly digitized world. Up until now, however, only about half the world’s population is connected to the Internet. Even though not everybody has access to the World Wide Web – and will not for a long time yet – numbers are rising.

In densely populated areas and cities, mobile communication has long become an essential part of people’s daily lives. The fast growing amount of data that has to be transported using mobile communication networks is a big challenge. An efficient communication infrastructure is therefore an important lifeline in the smart cities of the future. It is the technical basis for networking, growth and progress in our knowledge society and will open up completely new application areas.

As an innovation and technology driver in the connected world, Kathrein set up a project team to develop a vision for the network of the future. Apart from our own experts from all business units, the project team also included external specialists such as IBM and T-Systems experts. This ensured a multifaceted and universal perspective on the communication network of the future. Kathrein’s Network Vision 2022 is the result of this project.

Antenna OEMs Gear Up for FirstNet With Panoply of Products

BY J. SHARPE SMITH

With the deployment of the First Responders Broadband Network (FirstNet) beginning next year, the antenna industry is ramping up with production and the orders are beginning to roll in. OEMs, such as CommScope and Kathrein, have introduced families of base station antennas designed to support FirstNet site configurations, including 4X4 MIMO, in single and dual antenna configurations with multiple port counts and antenna lengths.

“There is a lot of interest in the market regarding FirstNet deployment,” Farid Firouzbakht, senior vice president, RF Products, CommScope, told AGL eDigest in a phone interview. “We already have a backlog of FirstNet orders from companies that are anticipating a ramp of activity building FirstNet in 2018.”

Kathrein has anticipated the FirstNet rollout and has been proactively stocking inventories during the past few months for AT&T.

“We have seen the first wave of orders over the past month and anticipate more in Q1 2018,” Capriccio Martin, vice president of marketing and product management of Kathrein, told AGL eDigest in a separate interview.

New Lines of Antennas

CommScope’s FirstNet antenna portfolio includes 12 models that operate in the D Band, featuring from six to 12 ports in four-, six- or eight-foot models. The choice of which antenna is appropriate will be a function of the different deployment strategies of each region, as well as the loading on each tower, Firouzbakht said. The OEM expects volumes of sales to differ for each model, with some of them serving niche applications.

“The kind of antenna they deploy may be a function of how crowded the tower is or whether the carrier wants to replace the existing antennas or if the want to add to the existing antennas. We designed so many variant of the antenna, because we need to cover the entire nation and there is no one size fits all strategy for every tower,” Firouzbakht said.

Kathrein’s line of 4×4 MIMO/FirstNet antenna offers four-port, eight-port, 10-port and 12-port units. Adding ports, especially in Band 14, requires additional space inside an antenna radome, which required the use of wider antennas for FirstNet or the use of a “two-antenna” solution, according to Martin.

“New intermodulation combinations were introduced with Band 14, so PIM [passive intermodulation] is a special consideration,” Martin said. “With the introduction of 4×4 MIMO into the LTE networks, a significant capacity/spectral efficiency benefit is realized along with close attention to mitigating PIM within an antenna solution.”

For AT&T, FirstNet and Beyond

CommScope’s custom-designed product, which needs to be integrated into the AT&T’s entire network of cell sites, was developed during the last 12 months in concert with the carrier.

“We have long standing relationships with the operators in North America,” said Firouzbakht. “We work with them as partners and advisors to develop specifications through design, prototyping and simulations. We are not guessing what AT&T will need. We have negotiated with the carrier on the different requirements.”

The new line of antennas will have applications and markets well beyond FirstNet, according to Martin.

“AT&T is paving the way in terms of the number of ports and bands needed in their markets for densification and FirstNet,” she said. “However, Kathrein antennas are not just for AT&T, there is worldwide demand for our broadbanded 4×4 MIMO 12-port solutions.”

Major Order for Kathrein in the Vehicle Networking Field

Kathrein has received the first series production order for Car2X technology (DSRC). The abbreviation DSRC stands for Dedicated Short Range Communication and describes systems by which vehicles are connected to each other at short and medium distances and also to the transport infrastructure. The Automotive Business Unit will deliver around 1.5 million Car2X antenna systems to a global vehicle manufacturer for the North American market.

In the USA, DSRC is used mainly in the vehicle networking field for safety-critical applications. These warn the driver, for example, of a breakdown vehicle that may block the road ahead, or check if another vehicle is in the blind spot area whilst changing lanes. It is foreseeable that in the USA it may become mandatory to equip new vehicles with DSRC systems. By using these systems, the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) wants to reduce the number of accidents in the long term by up to 80 percent.

In the coming years, Kathrein will develop antennas in the 5.9 GHz range for that customer, which guarantee reliability and the highest performance in a very compact space. The start of the series production is planned for 2021. “With this first series production order from the DSRC range, we are gaining excellent prospects for the North American market and are strengthening our technology expertise in the field of autonomous driving,” says Michael Heise, Head of the Automotive Business Unit.

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