Robust Power Feeds in the 5G Era

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  • Author: Erik Lilieholm

Driven by rising traffic demand, wireless network providers are employing a variety of strategies in their efforts to increase capacity.Particularly attractive are “brown field” options that seek to leverage existing infrastructure—sites, structures and equipment—to deliver additional capacity while saving on capital investment and reducing deployment delays. Despite incremental improvements in equipment efficiency, the steady rise in data volume continues to increase the demand for more electricity and total power consumption. Power feed installations at cell sites, quite adequate a few years ago, are now straining under heavier loads.

This paper examines how new, higher-power radio equipment impacts the robustness of the power feed (“robustness” is defined here as the ability to deliver sufficient voltage to the radio equipment at all times in order to prevent power starvation or shut-down due to a power outage).We will see that, in a typical macro site, maintaining robustness in a conventional power feed requires upgrading the power trunks to a much heavier gauge—impacting cost and tower loading. The need to validate the design for each set of circumstances adds complexity and uncertainty.

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