Antenna concealment could ease small cell deployment
On this episode of HetNet Happenings, host Sean Kinney, managing editor at RCR Wireless News, learns about antenna concealment solutions from Jon Fitzhugh, CEO of Colorado-based ConcealFab. Fitzhugh highlights how concealment solutions can help ease deployments, as well as how it’s important to produce concealment solutions in partnership with OEMs to ensure warranties are honored.
Small cell deployments are seen as a key avenue for carriers to densify existing networks while adding capacity in high-traffic areas like arenas, hotels, public transportation facilities and enterprise campuses.
For instance, Verizon Communications has spent two years deploying hundreds of small cell antennas around San Francisco, Santa Clara and other California locations associated with Super Bowl 50. Small cell deployment is inherently tricky in that each site is unique; power, backhaul and right-of-way access have to be secured on a case-by-case basis so achieving economies of scale is a challenge.
Carriers “are coming to us for ideas on how to blend in with the architecture and that’s sort of been a big shift,” Fitzhugh said. “How do you scale … if everything is unique? So we’ve had to try to figure out how to hybridize that.”
On the importance of OEM collaboration, Fitzhugh said, “What we decided to do is take a partnership approach with a lot of the major OEMs. What we’ve been doing is some collaborative design work.” That leads to joint testing and certification, which results in the OEM certifying the concealment solution as compliant with the antenna/radio warranty.