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Nokia, Vodafone Develop New Carbon Reducing Antenna Solution

It will help operators improve cost efficiencies in their mobile network and reduce overall carbon emissions

Nokia and Vodafone claim that they have developed a new antenna solution that will help operators improve cost efficiencies in their mobile network and reduce overall carbon emissions. The so-called, Active Antenna solution was successfully tested by the two companies as part of a recently announced initiative called, the Nokia Siemens Networks Innovation Centre, or NICE.

According to NSN, Active Antenna works by incorporating elements of the base station within the antenna, hence reducing the footprint of base stations and lowering power consumption. The solution is capable of working with multiple network technologies, NSN said, adding that the solution is targeted at operators rolling out new 3G or LTE (Long Term Evolution) networks or enhancing their existing 3G networks, as well as for those markets planning to re-farm current GSM band to make space for WCDMA/LTE.

“We see Active Antennas as the next logical step in base station site evolution, where the trend is to move RF parts closer to the antenna. Nokia Siemens Networks is a leader in Active Antenna technology, helping operators reduce CAPEX and OPEX with its innovative solutions” said Tommi Uitto, head of Wireless Access Product Management at Nokia Siemens Networks.

For the demonstration of voice and data calls over the Active Antenna system, Nokia Siemens Networks provided the uB900 Antenna Embedded Radio from its partner Ubidyne integrated to be part of a Flexi Base Station system. Vodafone provided access to its commercial network in Italy where the engineering team successfully performed the joint technology assessment.  

“Vodafone is committed to driving innovation throughout its operations and working closely with its vendor community to enhance the quality of our customers’ experience, while identifying opportunities for greater cost efficiencies” said Fergal Kelly, Director of Access Networks, Vodafone Group.

Further technical details on the solution were not available, but the fact that NSN says it requires the integration of some elements of the base station into the antenna system basically means that operators will need to basically replace their existing base stations if they want to take advantage of the cost and carbon savings of the new system.

Also quite interesting is the fact that NSN is saying the solution has been developed in accordance with the industry’s Single RAN (with a space) specification - one that Vodafone has also played a key role in developing. The issue is that SingleRAN (without the space) is now being used as the brand by Huawei for their 4th generation base station platform.

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More Stories By Tony Chan

Tony Chan is the founder of the Green Telecom Live website and a seasoned journalist based in Hong Kong. He is currently an editor at CommsDay International, a daily, subscription-based newsletter covering the business, technology, regulation and market developments of the telecommunications industry in Asia and the world.