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TE Connectivity Says DAS is Small Cell Technology, But Better

Small cells were a hot topic this week at Mobile World Congress. TE Connectivity’s John Spindler (News - Alert) says distributed antenna systems are an integral part of the small cell discussion because of their capacity, efficiency and flexibility.

TE Connectivity played in the small cell space before the term came into vogue, says Spindler, director of product management for the company’s indoor DAS solutions. He adds that the company, which gets about 75 percent of its business from mostly large service providers in the U.S., saw a huge uptick in its DAS business last year in light of the mobile data boom.

DAS solutions from TE Connectivity (News - Alert) offer strong capacity and reach because they rely on fiber-based digital transport (as opposed to HFC-based analog RF transport) between base stations and radio headends, and amplify end to end, explain Spindler and Tony Lefebve, director of product management for the company’s outdoor DAS solutions. That means more capacity and strong uplink performance, which is important in the age of user-generated content, Spindler says.

The TE Connectivity DAS gear, which is marketed under the brands InterReach and FlexWave Prism, is efficient because it has good reach and strong signal integrity and doesn’t use much power, creating savings on a number of fronts, according to Lefebve and Spindler.

The products are flexible in that they are band- and technology agnostic, so can operate at any spectrum in networks based on 2G, 3G, 4G, SIMO, MIMO or whatever. Meanwhile, picocells, says Lefebve, tend to be band- and protocol-specific.

With the rise of the wireless hetnet, or heterogeneous network (the new term for mobile networks that leverage macrocellular, microcellular and Wi-Fi technologies), Wi-Fi increasingly is becoming part of small cell solutions. Spindler says to address Wi-Fi, TE Connectivity has forged a relationship with Aruba Networks (News - Alert), although the two products are not integrated at this point.

Spindler also tells TMCnet that TE Connectivity is working with ip.access, a company in which it’s the partial owner, on a proof of concept using the ip.access baseband processor in its DAS digital headend. This, he says, fundamentally eliminates the base station from the equation. And that lowers capital, energy and real estate costs for such solutions.

Edited by Jennifer Russell

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