Commscope (NASDAQ:COMM)), which acquired small cell innovator Airvana in 2015, is a major global supplier of network infrastructure equipment, both wireline and wireless. Their solution portfolio includes all manner of anntennas, cabling (fiber and coax), cable headends, DAS and small cells. The company was founded in 1976 and is headquartered in Hickory, North Carolina, USA. Global sales were $3.8 billion in 2015 of which around 50% is wireless revenues. They claim #1 position in each of DAS, enterprise structured cabling and hybrid fiber-coax cabling with customers in over 100 countries. A series of acquisitions includes Andrew Corporation (a global antenna/cable supplier), the BNS businesses of TE Connectivity (fiber and digital DAS portfolio) and Airvana (a CDMA femtocell and C-RAN LTE small cell vendor).
Small Cell Products
CommScope small cell products that came with the Airvana acquisition include OneCell, a C-RAN LTE small cell system for public venues and large enterprises; S1000, a standalone LTE and Wi-Fi small cell for small and medium enterprises; and the Device Management System (DMS) for central provisioning and management of small cell deployments.
OneCell C-RAN LTE Small Cell System
The OneCell system consists of a Baseband Controller and multiple distributed Radio Points. The Controller performs baseband processing and scheduling across all the radio points, effectively creating a single cell across large areas without handovers or border interference, for improved user experience and simplified radio planning. A single system can serve over 1,000 simultaneous users and cover up to 100,000 square meters.
In addition to eliminating interference and handovers, OneCell’s C-RAN architecture enables joint downlink and uplink transmissions between multiple Radio Points and a single UE, further improving performance as well as device battery life.
OneCell uses standard Ethernet LANs – commercial off the shelf Ethernet switches and Cat5e cabling – for front-haul, reducing cost and complexity of deployments.
S1000 Small Cell for Small-Medium Enterprises
The S1000 (shown right) provides indoor voice and data coverage and capacity for small and medium business locations. It supports up to 16 active LTE sessions, allowing operators to deploy in locations with high usage and user density such as restaurants, retail stores and branch offices. The S1000 also supports 802.11ac Wi-Fi, enabling operators to offer managed Wi-Fi and hotspot-type services.
Device Management System (DMS)
The DMS is a centralized system for provisioning, radio frequency optimization and ongoing operation and support of small cell networks. It automatically configures over 100 key network and RF parameters for access points as they are connected to the system. DMS uses the TR-069 protocol for device management protocol, and standard northbound interfaces integrate with existing OSS and network management systems.
CommScope has announced that OneCell is in commercial use by American mobile operator Nex-Tech Wireless at Fort Hays State University’s 7,600-seat Gross Coliseum in Hays, Kansas. This marks the first use of small cells as the sole form of LTE delivery in such a large, high-use venue.
CommScope’s 3G small cells have been widely deployed by Sprint and KDDI. The Sprint deployment consists of hundreds of thousands of small cells and is believed to be one of the largest small cell deployments in the world.