Reduce tower load on 5G links while providing maximum capacity

By Dr. Dahlit Brin 7 min read

Increasing demand for capacity often leads operators to opt for bigger radios and larger antennas. Adekunle Adebisi, Ceragon’s Director of Professional Services (Africa & APAC), talks with Dr.Dahlit Brin about how Telcos can, in fact, reduce tower load while providing sufficient capacity to ensure 5G WOW experiences to their subscribers.


Full interview transcript:

Hi, welcome to the Backhaul Lounge. I'm Dahlit Brin and I'm joined, by my colleague, Adekunle Adebisi, who's the Director, Key Account MTN and Professional Services for Africa and APAC. Now, operators are faced with the problem of having to roll-out out 5G, increase capacity and often opt for larger equipment. Now, Kunle, can you tell us from your experience in the field, why this poses a huge problem for operators and what we can do to help alleviate the problem of tower load on wireless infrastructure?

Thanks, Dahlit. So first thing is, what we see traditionally with operators, is that they generally are looking at how to reduce the cost of their operations. And there's two types of them. There's operators who typically own their own towers and the infrastructure and there are operators who lease these services. And the key elements are, space on the tower, the weight of what you put on the tower and the power that you provide in the indoor units. So they look at these things generally and say: “How do I reduce the cost of all this?”.

So that's a great question. So, how can we?

Yes. So first off, what we do is, we look at those three elements specifically. So when you talk about the antennas, we have super high power radios, first of all. That allows you to use lower size of antennas which reduces the tower load. This is extremely critical because of the densification that comes along with 5G. Then there's going to be so many sites, and we need to be … the operators need to utilize the infrastructure for as many sites as possible that they want to fulfill.

Right, and the smaller the equipment on the tower, that means the more sites they can roll out. Because we've come across cases where the towers were totally overcrowded and they couldn't actually roll out more links, right?

Yeah, it's prime commodity, when you put on the towers there, …when you put the towers out there, you want to be able to use them as much as possible. And how we help them is to allow them to use smaller size antennas as much as possible.

On top of that, we also have the radios which are lower in weight compared to most of the competition. So you've got the savings on the antenna, lower sized antennas and then you've got the lower kilograms for the actual radio that go on the towers. So those are the major elements from the tower loading perspective. When you go into the infrastructure there's more, because then you look at how much power do you consume inside of the shelters.

So what we do is, we also have, … these Ceragon radios have lower power consumption. So because these guys pay for... per kilowatt hour for the power that is in the site. Even if you own the sites, you want to make sure that you can leverage and use as much more for other radios or other equipment that is needed.

Ok, so let's go back for a second to the amount, to the number of radios and antennas on the tower. Now, you did mention that there's a difference between those operators who own the
towers and those who rent. Now those who rent will have to pay rental fees, right. So they're interested in reducing those tower rents. Now, what can we do to help them put less equipment on the tower, while enabling them to have as much capacity as they can to provide those 5G services to their customers?

So, on top of what I just described regarding how we help them to have this smaller footprint on the infrastructure, we are also able to use them to our core, in terms of putting the radios out there, and being able to have the capacity they need without having to increase any of the infrastructure footprint. And this is important as well, when they look at the overall tower and infrastructure required to put out the radios.

Ok, now, can you tell us a bit about our ASD function that, you know, brings about huge savings in terms of tower load and weight?

So the ASD is a game changer, Dahlit. What happens with that is... we're now using...Traditionally four antennas are required for space diversity. With Ceragon space diversity, we have three antennas instead of four. That is massive. So you lose 25 percent reduction

Wow. 25 percent of CAPEX and OPEX. Wow.

Absolutely, this is the game-changer in the industry. We see that resonating a lot with our customers.

Ok. So what we're saying is that operators must provide more capacity, in order to be part of the 5G race and the bigger is NOT the better, in the case of tower load. So thank you so much for giving us this insight. This is the Backhaul lounge. See you next time.

To learn how & why to reduce your tower loads

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