RFS Introduces 5G-Optimized Active / Passive Antenna for Future-Ready 5G Rollouts

At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Radio Frequency Systems (RFS) is featuring an Active Passive Antenna (APA) that is designed for the real-world challenges of 5G rollouts at MWC19 Barcelona. The evolved APA features a modular architecture that allows mobile operators to deploy any RFS passive antenna today then seamlessly upgrade the antenna with active components when the time is right with no impact on either the passive or active aspects of antenna performance. The APA that was featured at MWC 2019 is a more advanced version of the antenna the company launched at MWC18.

RFS’ new APA combines the passive components needed for legacy frequency transmissions with the active components needed for 3.5 GHz mMIMO transmissions in 5G networks in a single antenna. The main challenge associated with the interleaved architecture used in the APA is ensuring that frequency duplex division (FDD) transmissions that use passive components and time division duplex (TDD) transmissions that use active components do not interfere with one other and degrade performance.

The evolved APA has been extensively tested and optimized to ensure the interleaved architecture does not affect the functionality or performance of either the passive or the active components in the antenna. In addition, the antenna features a modular, plug-and-play architecture that allows mobile operators to immediately deploy RFS passive FDD antennas, then add active TDD transmission capabilities in the future without changing the appearance, size or tower leasing costs of the original antenna. 

According to Herbert Merz, President and CEO at RFS, mobile operators need the ability to easily evolve to 5G without doubling the number of antennas on already-crowded macro sites or increasing leasing costs. With RFS’s future-proof FUSION implementation, operators have a very cost-effective and practical strategy for 5G evolution. They can deploy passive antennas today, and then upgrade them as required to support 3.5 GHz mMIMO and smoothly evolve to a 5G future with no compromises to performance, no additional leasing costs and the lowest visual impact on the market.

Fully interleaved APAs give operators a number of key advantages as they evolve their networks to 5G. These all-in-one antennas:

  • Simplify addition and ease of maintenance or upgrade of mMIMO systems on existing crowded macro sites
  • Minimize visual impact and total cost of ownership (TCO)
  • Ensure excellent RF performance for FDD and TDD transmissions
  • Leverage shared chassis and RF components to minimize weight compared to other options
  • Require no additional antennas in a sector 
  • Use passive antenna volume and a mechanical frame to enable an efficient thermal management system, resulting in a more robust and reliable system
  • Minimize additional operating expenditure (OPEX) and site negotiation requirements

High-capacity 5G TDD trials are currently underway in markets including Europe, India, the Americas and Asia where 4G and high-capacity 5G technologies will co-exist. A range of demos and solutions are being showcased on hospitality stand 2LV24, Hall 2 at MWC.

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