Friday, May 11, 2012

Running fiber to the antenna (FTTA)? Need help?

Contractors are realizing that fiber optic fed architectures are rapidly becoming the new norm for new tower builds and retrofits. This fiber solution is viewed by the industry as the best solution to support current demand, save energy and leave a smaller footprint.

Why now? This transition from traditional coax cables to fiber has been pushed by radio cell sizes becoming smaller due to increasing data rates, higher transmission frequencies and increased volume of data. In the figure below notice how the GSM system is at a lower frequency and new systems operate at a higher frequency.

With new systems like 4G the propagation losses increases with the square of the frequency, meaning that smaller radio cells are needed for equivalent network coverage. Number of antennas and base stations now increase.

Now that more and more antennas are being installed the traditional coaxial cable system has its limitations. These cables are limited to less than fifty meters and are very prone to losses that can hurt cell phone coverage. With a FTTA installation the electronics are taken from the base and are located at a remote radio head (RRH) by the antenna then is linked to the base using fiber cable. Your typical data rates are one Gigabit per second base to remote radio head.

Network operators also view FTTA as an excellent way to reduce capital and operating expenditures.

* Less or no additional space required for installation
* Less power provision and lower power amplification required
* Lower acquisition cost
* Simple system install
* Up to 40% less power consumption
* Lower rental cost of telecom and antenna cost

The most common way to install your fiber optic cable is to home run the cable. Many installations will use a pre-terminated solution saving on installation time and labor.


Next to the RRH Corning has a product called a remote radio distribution terminal that allows you to keep not only the signal but also the power organized in a clean weatherproof rated environment.

At the base your traditional 19 inch rack mountable enclosure can be used to hold your fiber cable.

If your looking for durability you might also consider a environmental distribution center as a demarcation point.


Now that you have a better understanding of the need for FTTA and what materials are used don't forget to recycle that old coaxial cable.

Please comment if you have any questions or you may contact Mercy Salinas at 888-797-3697 extension 232.

"By Mercy Salinas"