Tag Archives: Solid Technologies

ABI Research Highlights Next Generation of DAS Market Drivers

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ABI Research has recognized several vendors for their product and market offerings in recently published research on the driving forces within the DAS manufacturing community.

While Corning MobileAccess, TE Connectivity, and Andrew Commscope dominate the marketplace, ABI Research has identified Axell Wireless, Solid Technologies, Optiway, Alvarion, Zinwave and Powerwave as the foundation of the next phase of market development.

“Amongst these vendors, Axell Wireless is possibly the furthest along collectively in terms of operator acceptance and product innovation,” Aditya Kaul, ABI analyst, wrote. “Their new broadband DAS solution combined with their considerable presence in public safety gives them an edge over their competition and is closing in on the top three.”

Along with Axell Wireless, ABI called Solid Technologies a vendor to “watch out for” in the North America space. The research firm also noted that Powerwave is staying in the game with new LTE picocell and low-power DAS products. Highlighted for work in the wideband, multiservice DAS space was Zinwave, Optiway and Alvarion.

Ian Brown, CEO, Axell Wireless, told DAS Bulletin, that the recognition from ABI is a product of the company’s experience and its involvement in several high profile in-building installations, including the [English] Channel Tunnel,  Heathrow Airport Terminal 5, the Pentagon, the Royal Palaces in Oman and  the world’s tallest building – the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Most recently, a network at the 2012 Olympics in London was deployed by Axell Wireless where there were more than 400 base stations feeding several DAS systems.

“We have a long history in DAS. We have been involved in fiber optic technology for some 25 years,” Brown said. “Initially we focused on the public safety market where we have a market-leading presence around the world. There is probably not one major national public safety network that we haven’t had some involvement in. We have been fortunate enough to win projects to deploy public safety coverage into many of the world’s leading iconic buildings.”

During the last five or six years, Axell Wireless has broadened its focus to include cellular in-building market, in addition to public safety.

“We recognized there is a huge job to be done there [in cellular],” Brown said. “You have heard the statistic that 80 percent of mobile traffic is initiated within buildings. Data applications don’t work too well with one bar of signal strength.”

The majority of Axell’s customers in North America deploy a public safety system separately from the cellular DAS, but Brown believes the tide is changing toward converged public safety/cellular DAS systems, because of new building codes and the economics of deploying wireless. Axell Wireless’ Heathrow Airport deployment is an integrated public safety/cellular system.

“I do think it is changing. It has already changed quite rapidly in parts of Europe,” he said. “One of the drivers is cost. One DAS system with one headend that can support multiple remotes over the same fiber, you save a lot of money.”

The in-building wireless market has a lot of potential with surveys showing no more than 25 percent of public buildings with wireless. Beyond smart phones, Brown sees plenty of machine-to-machine wireless opportunities in verticals, such as healthcare.

“Patients can be sent home the same day as their surgery, wearing wireless monitors so the nurses can keep an eye on them,” Brown said. “There a tons of applications for wireless.”

Solid Technologies, Comba Grab Subway DAS projects

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Solid Technologies’ Alliance neutral-host system has been selected by Transit Wireless to support a DAS being designed to provide wireless coverage and capacity throughout the New York City Subway System including underground stations, mezzanines and corridors.

The multi-year project includes 277 stations, 30 of which are scheduled to go live by the end of 2012. The New York City Subway is the largest and oldest rapid transit rail system in the nation. The scale of the system plus the harsh, subterranean environment makes the project uniquely challenging.

“The RFP process was long and detail oriented. It started with general pricing and solution modeling based upon Solid’s DAS and optical distribution products and included everything from gear specifications and certifications to pricing and delivery commitments,” Seth Buechley, Solid Technologies president, told DAS Bulletin. “It then evolved into derivatives of our Alliance multi-service DAS platform.”

Solid’s technology was also used in the Seoul Metro subway system, and Buechley said that experience was instrumental in securing the NYC contract. “We demonstrated success having deployed a DAS at the Seoul Metro and the ability for quick-turn around through our corporate R&D facility,” he said.

Transit Wireless CEO, William A. Bayne agreed, “Solid’s extensive subway experience in Korea and ability to rapidly customize products and applications make the company ideally-suited to support our mission to enable state-of-the-art wireless coverage to all underground subway stations in New York City.”

Another subway contract has been awarded this month to Comba Telecom Systems by the Bangkok Metro Public Company Limited (BMCL) to provide an end-to-end neutral-host wireless solution to enable 2G and 3G voice and data communications throughout the underground railway network, which serves over 240,000 passengers daily and comprises 18 stations, concourses, tunnels, platforms, and retail stores within the concourses.

Comba Telecom will replace the existing 2G system with a multi-system (2G/3G) active DAS, which includes the DAS repeaters, antennas, passive equipment, cabling and services such as RF design, installation, optimization and maintenance.

Eric Ng, general manager of Southeast Asia for Comba Telecom said, “The modular nature of our DAS solution means that BMCL will be equipped with a scalable system which can be expanded to integrate future requirements such as 4G technologies or new subway lines.”

In-Building DAS Will Share the Stage with Small Cells: ABI Research

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In mobile ecosystems where DAS has reigned supreme for coverage fill-in and capacity growth, small cell equipment sales are expected to catch up quickly to DAS and disrupt that dominance. The two technologies, however, are more likely to complement each other rather compete, according to an ABI Research report entitled, “The Future of Active vs. Passive DAS, Repeaters, and Threat from Small Cells.”

While awareness of small cells is increasing, most DAS vendors don’t really see small cells as a threat today. But they are resigned to the fact that small cells are here to stay, said Aditya Kaul, practice director, mobile networks at ABI Research.

Currently, the enterprise small cell equipment market is roughly one-third of the DAS, but by 2016, the two are both projected to even. The ABI Research believes that DAS and small cells will inhabit different market niches for the most part. DAS will be deployed in large and medium-sized public buildings, mostly more than 150,000 square feet, while enterprise small cells will see most of their deployments in smaller buildings below 100,000 square feet, according to the report.

“While enterprise small cells are mostly going to sit separate from DAS in two non-overlapping building segments, the trend of public access small cells that are targeted at public spaces like airports, shopping malls, hotels and even stadiums could see some revenue moving away from DAS,” Kaul said.

Small cell’s biggest impact on DAS may be in a support role. ABI Research estimates that one-fourth of distributed antenna systems will eventually be fed by small cells, because they are smaller, cheaper and easier to install than macro sites, repeaters and remote radio heads.

“Most likely we will see an intersection of the two technologies where DAS is fed by small cells especially in medium sized buildings,” Kaul said.

Seth Buechley, president, SOLiD Technologies, told DAS Bulletin that it will be a long time before small cells are going to begin to affect DAS.

“I think we will see DAS continue to grow,” Buechley said. “Eventually, some of that growth will be offset by the introduction of small cell architecture, but we are a long ways from the point where small cells are going to meaningfully impact DAS. There must first be standardization of the ecosystem. Additionally, the wireless industry must define the term “small cell,” as to whether it is an architecture, a product or a complete network, he added.

ABI Research also compared the market for active DAS with passive DAS. Active DAS is expected to make up half of the $2 billion global market for in-building wireless equipment in 2013. The other half of the market includes passive DAS, repeaters, cabling and antennas.

“While active DAS is where the action is, traditional passive DAS and repeaters will continue to see demand, especially in Asia Pacific and some parts of Europe because of their cost-effectiveness and operator familiarity,” Kaul said.

The active DAS equipment market is growing at a 20 percent annual rate in North America, well above the passive DAS equipment revenue growth rate of 6 percent, according to ABI Research statistics.

High-Power Nodes Promote ‘Inside-Out’ DAS Coverage

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While other DAS systems have been designed for outdoor spaces, Solid Technologies’ wireless systems have been hard at work in buildings serving verticals, such as the health care and hospitality industries and serving public safety in large venues. But that is changing. The line dividing in-building wireless and outdoor DAS is blurring, and that calls for higher power DAS units that integrate with in-building systems.

“In the past there has been this premise that you can build an outdoor DAS and blast the signal inside of buildings and then augment the areas that appear to be underserved among third-party DAS owner or operators,” Seth Buechley told DAS Bulletin at the International Wireless CTIA 2012. “The outdoor-in philosophy, I think, is proving thin.”

To wit, Solid has introduced the Titan 5 watt and 20 watt remote DAS units to provide expanded coverage area and capacity both inside and outside of buildings. Titan integrates with the Solid Alliance multi-operator and Express single-operator head-ends.

“What we find is that the end users themselves have an immediate in-building need that often drives the whole discussion,” Buechley said. “If there is a way to solve their in-building need and then leverage that investment toward covering some of their outdoor challenges, that is a win.”

Titan allows Solid to play in the expanded outdoor coverage space, parking lots, stadiums and subways, Buechley said. “Throughout a campus where you can have a common head end that serves both the indoor and outdoor nodes under a common management system,” he said.

Buechley said Titan serves as an intermediate step toward the goal of heterogeneous networks.

“Macro cellular networks, indoor wireless networks and everything in between — eventually they all need to be using the same network intelligence,” Buechley said. The industry is waiting for the Ericssons, Alcatels the NSNs of the world to a leadership role before it will happen. The gap between indoor wireless and macrocellular needs to be bridged through heterogeneous networks.”

The Titan product line closes that gap a little bit, because it employs outdoor nodes that are part of the same network management platform as Solid’s indoor multi-carrier products. Operators will be able to deploy an indoor system that will be able to drive elements that are located outside, allowing greater QOS management insight.

“Everything has to be one system, eventually,” Buechley said. “Between now and the time when small cell heterogeneous architecture become a reality, we will have iterative steps. Our Titan product line is one of those iterative steps.”

Multi-service Digital Backhaul

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Access, from Solid Technologies, allows operators to do more with existing fiber infrastructure by delivering 16 channels of mixed Ethernet, LTE or Wi-Fi per strand of fiber. Designed for small cell backhaul, Wi-Fi offloading or base transceiver station hoteling, Access reduces sparing costs and lowers OPEX. Access features zero jitter and packet loss, as well as ultra-low latency. Accedd is based upon Solid’s tunable laser technology, which delivers the technology benefits found in “long-haul” laser applications but at a lower cost. www.solidtechusa.com/ClearLight-ACCESS.php