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The role of antenna quality in small cell and 5G deployments

Mobile network operators are densifying their network infrastructure to both meet ever-increasing data demands and to lay the groundwork for 5G.

While the importance of fiber, spectrum availability and ease of siting are often discussed in network equipment deployments, one overlooked factor is the impact that antenna quality has on the efficiency, effectiveness and total cost of ownership of such deployments.

Here are three ways that antenna quality impacts small cell deployment:

Quality antennas have fewer impairments and failures, reducing TCO. 

The worst-case scenario for antennas is complete failure, which means they must be replaced. That can delay site turn-up or require a site visit. Antenna design and manufacturing company Kathrein estimates that for a cellular network with 40,000 antennas, a 2% failure rate will cost the MNO nearly $1 million per year in site visits costs.

Short of failure, antenna quality also impacts how consistently and well an antenna performs — which directly influences user experience. Low-quality components or insufficient attention to passive intermodulation (PIM) during design and testing can mean that an antenna doesn’t perform according to the expectations of network planners, resulting in poor coverage, blocked or dropped calls or impacts to throughput, according to Dr. David Kokotoff, senior sales engineer at antenna design and manufacturing company Kathrein.

Kokotoff said that besides the extensive controlled mechanical and environmental testing in the lab, Kathrein has a number of sites around the world where it tests its antennas in challenging environmental conditions. These sites keep equipment in the field to observe what happens over years of exposure to the elements: in salt-exposed environments near the sea and in hot and humid conditions. The extensive, long-term testing, he said, contributes to improving overall reliability and keeping Kathrein’s antenna failure rate at less than 0.05%.

As antenna complexity increases, so does the importance of quality. 

Kokotoff noted that with MNOs needing support for both low- and mid-band spectrum as well as support for carrier aggregation and multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO), License-Assisted Access and CBRS spectrum, the number of ports has increased: eight, ten or more ports are commonly requested. Supporting multiple bands in a small-volume base station while achieving the desired performance is no small feat, especially when proper isolation must be maintained. Rigorous PIM testing and high-quality compatible component selection also becomes important to ensure consistent antenna performance in the complex urban RF environments where small cells are most needed.

Thoughtful design features can make installation and management easier. 

Remote electrical tilt is a feature more commonly associated with macro site antennas, but Kokotoff said that Kathrein has recently introduced RET to its small cell antennas. MNOs used to think that they could avoid small cell interference through site selection, he said, but optimal sites are not always available or affordable. Features such as RET can offer MNOs the ability to tweak their small cells’ coverage and get what they need from the sites that they can most easily access.

Antenna design also needs to account for the real-world challenges of installation. Many models of light poles, for instance, have a wide base but a thin pole that make it difficult to fit all the necessary cables that need to run to the multi-port equipment placed at the top. Kathrein has tackled this via the use of diplexers internal to the antenna to minimize cable runs.

Since small cells need to be placed close to end users, aesthetics of the equipment and the ability to creatively place antennas also come into play. Kathrein has focused its efforts on “out of sight, out of mind” design for small cells, including building-corner and side-mounted options and even antennas that can be placed underground to provide street-level coverage.

Learn more about Kathrein’s antenna portfolio.

Spacing Out…Getting the Most out of MIMO with Proper Antenna Spacing

While “MIMO” has been a buzz word in the mobile communications industry for some time, it is only now gaining real traction and will be a key enabler as networks migrate from 4G to 5G.  Base Station Antennas are a critical component in MIMO architectures, and there is a science to proper spacing in order to achieve the highest Quality of Service (QoS) and Quality of Experience (QoE) while minimizing interference and PIM. 

Let’s take a quick look at what how MIMO works, what it brings to mobile networks, and how proper antenna spacing is a key to maximizing throughput.4x4 MIMO image

A Quick Tour of MIMO

MIMO, or Multiple Input Multiple Output, utilizes multiple antennas at both the transmitter and the receiver (smartphone) to increase link reliability and spectral efficiency. Spatial Multiplexing makes it possible to transmit separate data streams from multiple antennas on the same frequencies. Signal processing hardware splits the data into multiple streams and transmits these streams using multiple antennas. The receiver then reverses this process, recreating the original data stream inside the phone. Obviously, propagation conditions between the transmitter and the receiver must be good for MIMO to work effectively.

What’s the result of all this?  MIMO increases the capacity of a cell without using more bandwidth. With 2×2 MIMO (two transmit and two receive) it is theoretically possible to double the throughput, while 4×4 MIMO can quadruple throughput. In an LTE network, the peak throughput using SISO (single input, single output) is about 100 Mbps. Utilizing 2×2 MIMO and 4×4 MIMO, throughput can ideally reach 173 Mbps and 326 Mbps, respectively. 

Mobile operators have implemented 2×2 MIMO in their LTE 4G networks for a number of years and are now beginning to deploy 4×4 MIMO to meet increased data demands.  Just last fall, Samsung’s Galaxy S7 became the world’s first 4×4 MIMO capable smartphone. The challenge with placing four antennas so close together in a phone (along with Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth antennas) is that it can cause the transmission paths to couple, limiting MIMO performance and increasing signal interference.

While handset manufacturers were busy developing smartphones with 4×4 MIMO capable antennas, antenna manufacturers, like Kathrein, were developing 4×4 MIMO ready antennas for the cell sites.  

Optimum Macro Antenna Spacing for 4×4 MIMO

A lot of research that has been done on the proper placement of 4×4 ready MIMO antennas on cell towers. When determining optimum spacing between horizontal antenna columns for 4×4 MIMO, a balance must be found between improving gain while reducing inter-sector interference (I-SI).

Mounting antennas with proper spacing helps operators achieve maximum MIMO performance by keeping the antenna pattern in the “desired” area of the sector, with minimum energy in the “undesired” area where there is higher inter-sector interference.

Sector Power Ratio Image

Measurement studies performed by Kathrein engineers at the low band shows the optimal spacing between columns to be 0.8λ (wavelengths). For perspective, at 780 MHz, one wavelength is about 15 inches. It was determined that at mid band (1.7-2.7 GHz) gain became more important than I-SI to improve 4×4 MIMO performance. Therefore, the preferred spacing between columns for the low band has been set near 0.8λ to ensure I-SI is minimized; however, the spacing at high-band in a shared aperture is chosen for improved gain, near the 1.3λ or 1.8λ spacing, (based on bands under the radome) in an attempt to minimize I-SI as well.

Kathrein Makes Antenna Spacing Easy

Antenna Bracket for side by side

2 X Panel Mounting Kit

Kathrein recently released new 4, 8 and 12 port macro antennas that are 508 mm in width.  These wider antennas support 4×4 MIMO under one radome (click to view the datasheets: 80010901, 80010964, 80010991).  Operators can mount these antennas and be 4×4 MIMO ready without worrying about spacing two separate antennas.  For 378 mm antennas, Kathrein offers 2x Panel Mounting Kits (85010103/850108) that provide pre-configured optimum spacing for 4×4 MIMO applications.

Moving Forward with MIMO

MIMO is already offering huge dividends by increasing network throughput and capacity.  Moving forward, we will see more 4×4 MIMO implementations, as well as 8×8 MIMO, and eventually 64×64 Massive MIMO as operators move into 5G and beyond.

Learn More by visiting us at MWC Americas in San Francisco, CA, September 12-14: Booth S.1042.

Advanced Beamforming Transceivers and Antenna Arrays: Keys to 5G Communications?

At the June 29th IEEE luncheon in Plano, TX, Jeyanandh Paramesh, Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University gave a technical presentation titled, “Advanced Multi-Antenna Transceivers for 5G Communications and Beyond.”

Professor Jeyanandh  Paramesh addressing Plano chapter of IEEE

Professor Jeyanandh Paramesh addressing Plano chapter of IEEE

Professor Paramesh and his team of researchers believe that directional communications using antenna arrays will be a centerpiece of next-generation communication systems in the sub-6 GHz bands and in the millimeter-wave bands. While today there are highly integrated phased-array transceivers that support steering the main beam of the antenna array pattern, the university is testing adaptive null-steering, spatial equalization, interference mitigation and various forms of multiple-input-multiple-output (MIMO) communication to see if they can achieve increased data rates, network capacity, and better interference management. Their recent work includes testing advanced beamforming transceivers that can support multi-antenna signal processing; specifically, the design of phased arrays that can address very wide swaths of mm-wave spectrum, and the design of hybrid beamformers that can support millimeter-wave MIMO communication.

As an innovation and technology leader in the connected world, Kathrein is already bringing “future proof” macro and small antennas to market that allow for many configurations of MIMO as 5G standards are still being worked out. It’s latest wide band sub-6 GHz canister antenna supports 2, 3.5, and 5.8 GHz as operators look to shared spectrum to provide increased bandwidth to subscribers. Kathrein believes that mobile communication networks will also have to meet new demands in such areas as Industry 4.0, Internet of Things (IoT) or Connected Car.

So Many Ground-Breaking Ideas Were Created on a Cocktail Napkin

The Gettysburg Address, The Space Needle, Harry Potter, Southwest Airlines, great Beatles’ songs, Kathrein Canister Antennas – What do these all have in common?  Well, the title gives it away- they all had their start with brilliant people brainstorming and sketching on cocktail napkins!

Kathrein just released the latest in a long line of canister small cell antennas.  The Ultra-High Band, 10 port omni canister antenna 84010555 supports 2, 3.5, and 5.8 GHz frequencies, and provide operators and neutral hosts with a small cell solution that is future ready (more on this later).  Let’s first explore a brief history of canister antennas and how Kathrein set the standard for innovation and aesthetics.

napkin sketch of original Kathrein canister antenna2004: The Canister Makes its Debut

In wireless years, 2004 was an eternity ago, but that is when ExteNet Sytems approached Kathrein about building a DAS (distributed antenna system).  At a quaint restaurant in Medford, Oregon, Kathrein’s Rick Veghte and Jim Dekoekkoek (both engineers) sat with Tormod Larsen, CTO from ExteNet Systems, and came up with the original sketch and plans for a brown canister, quasi-omni antenna.

They used internal parts from existing Kathrein panel antennas, while outsourcing the high quality, fiberglass radomes from a local manufacturer.  The initial concerns were that the nuls would be too deepkathrein canister antennas and that there would be a lot of multipaths.  Rick and Jim went to work designing the prototype, and were pleased that the canister achieved the stringent electrical performance that both companies expected.  Manufacturing began within a couple months.

The original canister had 4 ports (2 high-band, 2 low-band).  In 2010, Kathrein began selling canisters to operators as small cell antenna solutions. Due to the compact design, the canisters fit perfectly on telephone and utility poles, and blended into the environment.  Since then, Kathrein has continued to add ports and extend frequencies while trying to maintain the same form factor. Due to sheer physics this is not an easy engineering feat. 

2017 and Beyond – The Race to Gigabit Data Speeds/5G

While a widely accepted definition of 5G is still being worked out, there is a race among operators to deliver gigabit data speeds, and claim that they are the first to offer “5G”.  The current macro system won’t allow for this kind of speed.  Operators will need to tap into shared spectrum – 3.5 GHz and 5 GHz bands (Ultra High-Band) so they can stitch together enough spectrum (carrier aggregation) to offer gigabit speeds to subscribers.  There are of course challenges with unlicensed bands (wi-fi) in that they are often crowded and have rules of usage, such as “listen before talk.”

In response to market demands, Kathrein has just released two new canister antennas: the 84010555 (brown) and 84010556 (grey) are the solution for operators that want to tap into ultra-high band frequencies as they prep for 5G. Kathrein canister antennas

The new Kathrein canisters:

  • Support 2, 3.5, and 5.8 GHz
  • Utilize the same form factor: no rezoning required
  • Support 4×4 and 2×2 MIMO
  • Support 4 ports at 1695-2690 GHz, 4 ports at 3.5 GHz, and 2 ports at 5.8 GHz

Kathrein Canister Antennas have a long history of industry leading innovation, quality, and performance.  The latest ultra-high band canisters can easily replace existing canisters, providing operators with a future proof small cell solution in the race to 5G. 

To learn more, visit our Small Cell Solutions page.

 

Watch our Small Cell Solutions Video

Kathrein Presents First 5G Solutions at Mobile World Congress

Rosenheim, 23 February 2017 – Kathrein, a leading international specialist for reliable, high-quality communication technologies, presents new technologies for 5G, the next generation of mobile communication. True to its claim “Passion to connect.”, the company demonstrates its unique solution and service expertise in core connectivity areas including the Internet of Things (IoT), Building Digitalisation, Automotive and Mobile Communication. With its Vision 2022, Kathrein looks ahead to the network of the future and outlines future connectivity demands and solutions in different geographies.

5G, the next mobile communication standard, will be one of the most important themes at Kathrein’s exhibition stand. The company carries out intensive research into 5G and put a test bed into operation at the company’s headquarters in Rosenheim last summer. In Barcelona, Kathrein will present different prototypes of 5G antennas made of materials such as glass and ceramics that have not previously been used in this context.

New 14-port antenna with L-band

Also on display will be a new 14-port antenna with integrated L-band. This band is used especially for providing additional download capacity because it improves high-volume data transmission as required for video streaming, for example. Well-known network operators are already running pilot tests with this antenna in Europe.

Kathrein will also be presenting an innovative small cell portfolio with multiple solutions that have been developed for optimum mobile communication at hotspots. “At the world’s leading exhibition for mobile communication, we will demonstrate Kathrein’s unique technology expertise and high innovative strength,” says Dr Hermann Rodler, Executive Vice President Products at Kathrein.

Latest generation of K-BOW system installed in Imola

The company’s devision Business Solutions will showcase solutions for multiple network requirements. K-BOW, a system that provides mobile coverage in indoor and campus areas, has been enhanced and extended by means of additional functionalities and components. The latest K-BOW generation has recently been installed at the world-famous Autodromo Imola in Italy. A further use case of this system is presented in the award-winning, interactive Kathrein Smart City. An animation shows how K-BOW enables the perfect combination of mobile coverage and Wi-Fi provision at an airport.

New hardware and software for IoT applications

“In the area of IoT we will be introducing a new generation of RFID hardware. We will also present version 3.0 of our CrossTalk software for platform-independent integration of AutoID systems and sensors,” says Jürgen Walter, Executive Vice President Business Solutions at Kathrein. The renowned business consulting firm Frost & Sullivan confirmed Kathrein’s leadership in RFID technology a few months ago.

The stand in Barcelona will also exhibit solutions from Kathrein Automotive, the world market leader for automotive antenna solutions. These include an innovative multiband antenna module developed in collaboration with automotive supplier Continental. Visitors will also be able to find out about the functioning and installation of a side-mirror antenna, a solution used in the latest Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

Kathrein presents Network Vision 2022

At the Mobile World Congress, Kathrein will also introduce its Network Vision 2022. The model of a future world illustrates the various requirements of the communication network. Kathrein differentiates between four geographies with specific network demands: large urban areas, suburban areas, rural areas and remote areas. “We see our Network Vision 2022 as the basis for a close interaction with customers and partners focusing on the connected world of tomorrow,” says Anton Kathrein, CEO of the Kathrein Group.

About Kathrein

Kathrein is a leading international specialist for reliable high-quality communication technologies. The company is an innovation and technology leader in today’s connected world. Kathrein’s solutions and services enable people all over the world to communicate, access information and use media, whether at home, at the office or on the road. The business covers a broad spectrum: from mobile communication and RFID solutions, to satellite reception, broadband and broadcast technology, to transmission and reception systems in vehicles. As a hidden champion and family-owned enterprise, Kathrein has been working on the technologies of tomorrow since 1919. The company takes pride in its dedicated employees and passion for customers and quality. Find out more about Kathrein at www.kathrein.com.

Kathrein puts Testbed for LTE and 5G into Operation

Kathrein has opened a test environment for pioneering mobile network technologies at its headquarters in Rosenheim. It will be launched in collaboration with the Swedish communications corporation Ericsson. Kathrein will use the testbed to simulate novel applications in a trial network in order to gain valuable insights in the years to come. This will provide the basis for advancement of the current wireless communication standard LTE and the new standard 5G.

“The test environment will allow us to try out various technologies and their interaction in a single overall system – a capability that is very important for our development work,” explains Maximilian Göttl, Head of Portfolio & Innovation in Kathrein’s Communication Products division. We’re creating our own network, as it were, so as to be able to draw conclusions from live operation.” The insights gained in this way will allow systems to be improved on a step-by-step basis, which is essential in connection with the new wireless communication standard 5G in particular.

KEY INSIGHTS FOR FUTURE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

“In this way we can derive recommendations for industry and network operators in terms of optimum system design,” says Göttl. He adds that this is also relevant to the technology area Massive MIMO (Multiple Input, Multiple Output). MIMO already forms part of current LTE technology, where several reception and transmission antennas are used at the same time. In the case of Massive MIMO, dozens or even hundreds of antenna modules are deployed in an array. This allows very high data throughput rates in a frequency band.

One of the focus areas of the testbed trials will be the automotive sector. Cars will be equipped with the appropriate antenna systems so as to optimise data transmission from and to cars. In this way, test runs conducted in Rosenheim will yield valuable insights in terms of future system design. Kathrein is also collaborating with Altair Engineering GmbH. The global CAE software provider whose German headquarters are in Böblingen, provides WinProp, a programm that simulates mobile network coverage based on maps. Real testbed measurements can then be checked against the computer simulation. The ultimate aim is to be able to use computers alone to conduct test runs for future system architectures.

PROJECT LAUNCH WITH ERICSSON

In the new test environment, Kathrein’s innovation department is collaborating with Ericsson’s research department. The Stockholm-based network supplier has been one of Kathrein’s partners for many years, now providing the base stations and other components for the measurements. “The testbed underpins our aspiration to be a pioneer when it comes to new technologies. In Rosenheim we will shape the future,” says Anton Kathrein, CEO of the Kathrein Group.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thank you… for the Awards and that the 2016 Wireless Tradeshow Circuit is Over!

After many miles traveled, as well as countless handshakes and customer meetings, we are done with the tradeshow circuit (circus) for 2016! We hit it hard in 2015/2016 with the need to educate and establish Kathrein’s long history of RF expertise as relevant and important to the North American wireless market. With our global headquarters in Rosenheim, Germany, we, in the past, might have been accused of being “Eurocentric”- with our product innovation and availability.  However, all that has changed with our new U.S. leadership team, the move of our North American HQs to Richardson, Texas, and the recent opening of an R&D/Logistics center in Plano, Texas. The Dallas Business Journal did a fantastic write-up of the ribbon cutting that took place October 4, 2016 (click here for the full article).  We celebrated in German-style the opening of the 35,000 square foot space with the Tech Titans and the Richardson and Plano Chambers of Commerce.  The event would not have been complete without German beers, pretzels, and sausages.  Yum!

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A German celebration wouldn’t be complete without Bier!

 

It was a busy past month and half: we attended, spoke on panels, and exhibited at HetNet Expo in Houston, then Small Cells Americas in Dallas; and two short weeks later, the 5G North America show – again in our backyard in Dallas, TX. Kathrein was proud to sponsor Antenna Focus Day at 5G North America – it is a welcome chance to discuss and drill down into the trends and new technologies in antenna innovation. 5G, millimeter wave, and small cells, which dominated the discussions. 

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Vicki Livingston, from 5G Americas, moderated a panel that included Jim Nevelle (Kathrein), Bo Piekarski (Crown Castle), and Ray Butler (Commscope)nov-16-5

Our friends Jeff and Doug from Verticom, and Lindsay Franklin from RCR Wireless

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Jonathan Adelstein’s opening keynote at the Royal Sonesta, Houston Galleria.  

 

The hottest topic at all three shows was, no surprise here, Small Cells – something Kathrein has been developing and deploying for over 10 years.  Discussions were all relative to realizing the vision of “5G” – ultra-dense networks and pervasive wireless cellular connectivity – all which will require massive network builds, streamlined deployment models, and realistic regulations.

Kathrein recently published a white paper on Small Cells and how they will play a role in Connected Cities (you can find the full report here).  We also often discuss the merits of Electrical Downtilt vs. Small Cell Intelligent Site Placement with RF design teams around the country.  You can find our engineering recommendations here.

Lastly, as we head into the Thanksgiving holiday, we want to give thanks to our customers and truly appreciate the recognition for innovation we have received for the Kathrein Street Connect™ in 2016.  Just this week, Kathrein won top honors for the Fierce Awards: Telecom Edition with our new In-Ground Antenna. We were honored to win the “Small Cells/HetNet Category”, as well as “Best Network Transformation Platform” and “Judges Choice” Award. Winning the Judges Choice award is the highest honor, as it is awarded to only one 2016 standout innovative product or service that most likely, positively, and dramatically affects service provider networks across the board. Kathrein is grateful and we thank the esteemed judges.

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Kathrein Street Connect also took home the honors at the RAN World Awards 2016 and the GLOTEL Awards 2016.

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Joachim Grimm (Kathrein) and Carine Genoud (Swisscom) accept the award for Kathrein Street Connect at the GLOTEL Awards in London

 

We would also like to recognize and thank our friends at Swisscom for the brilliant idea of Kathrein Street Connect™.  They have been a terrific partner and customer.  A special thanks to Nima Jamaly and Marcus Bergagard for all of their support.

Wishing you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving!

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Dr. Dave (Kathrein), Kevin Linehan (Commscope) and Joe Madden (Mobile Experts) discussing 5G at Antenna Focus Day 2016

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Bill Jauchler (Kathrein) and Jay Brown (President-Crown Castle) at HetNet Expo 2016

 

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Stefan Kohl (Kathrein) and Joe Madden (Mobile Experts) discussing lessons learned from 4G deployments and what to expect in antenna technologies for 5G

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Mobile Carriers Show 2016: Benefitting Both the Wireless Industry AND the Local Community

Music City Center, Nashville, TN- Home of the MCA Show 2016

The Focus: Smart Strategies, Technology Innovations, and Business Opportunities

It’s hard to find a Wireless Event that benefits industry participants and the local community, but that is exactly what made the CCA (Competitive Carrier Association’s) Mobile Carriers Show 2016 a complete success.  The show was held in downtown Nashville, TN at the Music City Center. It’s the only North America Wireless event to focus exclusively on Smart Strategies, Technology Innovations, and Business Opportunities for carriers.  With over 100 carriers in attendance, representing over 100 million customers, it was a great opportunity for Kathrein to network with key carriers and discuss the best ways of meeting their needs, as well as their customers, in this ever changing industry.

The conference sessions centered on 5G, IoT, Small Cells and bridging Cellular Networks with the benefits of WiFi Access Points.  One of the highlights of the show was the Volunteer Day, which presented a great opportunity for attendees to roll-up their sleeves and work side-by-side with friends (new and old), peers, competitors, and most importantly, to give back to the Nashville community.

It’s All About the Kids

This year’s event was for the benefit of the [http://napieres.mnps.org/pages/Napier_Enhanced_Option] Napier Elementary School in downtown Nashville.  Located in the center of a low income area, the school serves as a “Safe Zone” not only for the students, but also for the surrounding community, a multi-generational poverty/99% minority population.  During his introductory comments, Steve Berry, President/CEO of CCA, explained that through volunteer donations and CCA funding, a total of $10,000 was donated to Napier Elementary School.  It would have taken many months of applying for grant money to accomplish what the volunteers were able to complete in a single day.  Activities included:

  • Mulching around trees, shrubs, the playground area and the entrance to the school
  • Painting the gym equipment in playground area
  • Stenciling and painting basketball court lines, number learning games such as Hopscotch and Four-Square
  • Building a 3-D Learning Tree for the school’s front entrance interior
  • Assembling Word Books (enabling every student to issued their own book of core words)
Front Entrance to Napier Elementary School

Volunteers arrriving at Napier Elementary School- Nashville, TN

 

Jay Clark, Regional Sales Rep for Kathrein, shoveled and hauled mulch and assisted with refurbishing the basketball court.  “We even got creative and added an “N” at the center of the basketball court.  With some engineers present, it was a perfect design…” Once the outdoor projects were completed, Jay joined in on the Word Book assembly that took place in the cafeteria, all to the beat of Johnny Cash cranking on a boom box.

Congratulations to Steve Berry and the CCA staff, fellow volunteers, and the students, families and staff of Napier Elementary.   The show not only was very well received by the companies attending, but made a powerful impact on Napier Elementary School, in the heart of Nashville.

 

 

 

 

Steve Berry gives donation check for 10k to Napier Elementary

Steve Berry, President & CEO of CCA presenting Napier Elementary School with $10K donation

Volunteering at Napier Elementary School

MCA Volunteers at Napier Elementary School

Adding the N to the basketball court

Adding the “N” to the basketball court

 

 

Winding Down the Year with Wireless – the Tradeshow Circuit 2015 Comes to a Close

By Capriccio Martin

It’s been a whirlwind event schedule for the past few months – especially for Kathrein, as we continue to amp up our presence at industry events.  As the oldest antenna manufacturer in the world, we feel it’s our job to share much of what has been learned over the past 100 years and translate that into our vision for 5G, massive MIMO, sectorization, concealment, mmWave, and other antenna innovations. 

We had the pleasure to attend LTE North America this week in Big D – it was a good show and we like that it is in our “backyard”.  It’s a notable industry event in that the organizers do a nice job in bringing in top notch speakers from AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Telus, Sasktel and key analysts from 451 Research, iGR, Senza Fili, and Mobile Experts.

Ken Rehbehn, 451 Research, Moderator of Antenna Evolution Day at LTE North America

Ken Rehbehn, 451 Research, Moderator of Antenna Evolution Day at LTE North America

One resounding message from the Antenna Evolution Focus Day was the importance of Antenna quality in LTE and soon 5G networks.  LTE KPI’s are more stringent than 3GPP and we anticipate 5G to take things even a step further.  Be on the lookout for a new whitepaper from Kathrein that will discuss this topic in more detail.

At the show, the 5G tracks seemed to bring in the biggest audiences from what we observed and it was nice to see big interest in Public Safety as well.  Ken Rehbehn, analyst at 451 Research, as well as a fire fighter himself, tweeted eight times during the presentation from Jeff Bratcher, Acting CTO for FirstNet. It was a fantastic overview on the progress FirstNet has made.  Here’s a few key takeaways:

Acting CTO FirstNet, Jeff Bratcher

Acting CTO FirstNet, Jeff Bratcher

  1. FirstNet has $6.5 Billion to offset network costs. Cannot go back to Congress to ask for more money.
  2. There is excess capacity in the 20MHz of Band 14 and will commecialize the leftover spectrum.
  3. There are 5 Early Builder Projects and all have a Spectrum Lease Agreement (SMLA) with FirstNet: Texas, Los Angeles, New Jersey, New Mexico, Colorado.
  4. FirstNet has close ties with other countries’ public safety plans – specifically in the UK and South Korea. South Korea is pushing voice the fastest.
  5. There will be a single “awardee” to build out and manage the core network, but will incorporate teaming agreements for national, regional, and rural providers.

FirstNet Public Private Partnership Value DistributionEarly Builder Band 14 Projects from FirstNet

Recent Board Decisions Chart from FirstNet

Another recent industry event where Kathrein had the pleasure to attend, speak, and exhibit was HetNet Expo in sunny Los Angeles this past October.  As always, Tracy Ford at PCIA does an excellent job of representing the entire HetNet ecosystem via the topics and speakers. Our favorite presenter hands down was the well-spoken Marc Ganzi, CEO of Digital Bridge (which just closed on the acquisition of ExteNet Systems).  He was bullish on the industry as a whole and seemed particularly jazzed about Small Cells over the next few years. Watch here.

Marc Ganzi, CEO of Digital Bridge, shares his views of the Bandwidth Delivery Model

Marc shared his views of the Bandwidth Delivery Model and noted:

  1. We need to be creative in our 5G site offerings – multiple forms of “Site Solutions”.
  2. Need to account for MIMO in the future.
  3. CRAN and SDN are part of the future network.
  4. “Owning” the network elements and delivery is critical.
  5. “Spectral efficiencies will be where the battle will be won or lost” – efficiencies in radios, battery life, and devices.
  6. Need more Sites – Macro, Small Cell, DAS, Wi-Fi Offload.
  7. Densify and fortify the network with Small Cells – underlay networks.
  8. Wi-Fi is not going away, not a disrupter.
  9. Distributed Network Services (DNS as he calls it – not DAS) – 74,000 Active Nodes in 2014.
  10. Indoor DNS Market will grow to 12,000 locations and 133,000 nodes by 2020.

Kathrein booth at HetNet Expo 2015

We had the honor of presenting on the public safety panel at HetNet Expo 2015 that was moderated by Sandra Wendelken. Panelists were Mel Samples of CADSTAR, Ken Baker of the University of Colorado-Boulder, Jim Nevelle of Kathrein and Battalion Chief Kevin Nida of the Los Angeles Fire Department. 

HetNet Expo 2015 Public Safety Panel

Click here to watch the panel (in segments):

https://youtu.be/oBe_84HZlqM

https://youtu.be/Orunmbf7nyM

We will be sharing more in the coming months including more on Antenna evolution strategies, Multi-band Antennas, Small Cells, and the Importance of the Quality of the Network. Until then, we would like to hear from you.  Your thoughts as we wind down the wireless tradeshow circuit of 2015?

Roughing it at our Sales Conference in Cancun!

by Scott Nagel

Welcome to our first edition and inaugural Kathrein USA Blog!  The Wireless Industry is changing so fast, that it’s not only interesting from a pure technology perspective, but it is absolutely entertaining. Our goal is to provide a blog that addresses these industry trends while having a lot of fun along the way!    Here we go…

Viva Mexico!

Two weeks ago we had the chance to join our Kathrein family for our annual Sales Conference in Cancun, Mexico (yeah, we know – we have it rough). Our diverse team consists of employees from Germany, South America, Australia, Mexico, and the United States.   In the day and age of webinars, virtual conferences, and video chatting, sometimes real FACE TIME is not only refreshing, but absolutely worth the travel costs, as true team building is much easier when a team can actually meet in person to brainstorm and enjoy fun, team-building activities.

Good Morning Cancun Day 1Work Hard, Play Hard

We spent most of the week in meetings enjoying presentations from our leadership, brainstorming in small teams, and engaging in fun, team-building activities (like building an antenna out of cardboard, police tape, and paper!)  Just like our normal work weeks, we were able to get a lot  done, while having a great time.  Back in the 90s, W. Edwards Deming noted that, “The prevailing system of management has crushed fun out of the workplace.”  We learned first hand that hard work and fun don’t have to be mutually exclusive.  On Friday, we spent half a day at XCARET, a beautiful water park, floating down the river (while bats swooped overhead), enjoying SNUBA , and a thrilling dinner show!

Let’s Get Ready for 2016!

Our sales conference helped us set plans and actions in motion as 2016 will be here before we know it.  Our brainstorming sessions united us, as we further develop our plans to stay ahead of the “innovation curve” and attack the changing wireless landscape in areas such as 5G, HetNets, Small Cells, IoT, and DAS.  Working with a truly international team is helping our sales and marketing teams learn Best Practices  from all over the globe, as we continue to lead the way with the industry’s highest quality antenna solutions. Next year we will meet in Brazil.  Thank you Rafael Rojo, who planned the entire week, and cheers to Wilson Conti, who has been passed the torch for 2016! Watch out Rio, HERE WE COME!

XCARET Dinner Show- Capriccio Martin-Kathrein USA, Anton Kathrein-Kathrein, Rosenheim, Jon Reedy-Kathrein USA, Frank Weber-Kathrein, Rosenheim, Joerg Lippert-Kathrein, Rosenheim

XCARET Dinner Show- Capriccio Martin-Kathrein USA, Anton Kathrein-Kathrein, Rosenheim, Jon Reedy-Kathrein USA, Frank Weber-Kathrein, Rosenheim, Joerg Lippert-Kathrein, Rosenheim