Alan Dick, the global telecoms and broadcast infrastructure specialist, has started shipping its triband cellular antenna technology to cellular carriers around the world.
The triband - 2.2 GHz 3G and 900/1800 MHz GSM - antenna is notable for its ability to slot into the same space previously occupied by a GSM 900/1800 unit, saving the networks precious time when it comes to planning permission and base station logistics - and this is before the total cost of ownership (TCO) issue enters the frame.
Just as when the first GSM 1800 networks were rolled out in the mid-1990s, causing networks to upgrade their base stations and allied infrastructure, carriers now face the prospect of upgrading their networks to support the new 3G 2.2 GHz waveband. With Alan Dick's Triband Array any of the following combinations are achievable:
Some infrastructure companies offer 3G antennas to sit alongside existing GSM installations, but, as any network planner will confirm, adding to the infrastructure of a cellular tower in this way can cause planning, as well as both direct and indirect cost headaches, owing to planning permission, wayleave and site rental issues, network downtime plus a host of other potential problems, including the possibility of causing a squint in the cellular signal transmission pattern.
Alan Dick's triband antenna technology greatly reduces these headaches for the carriers, since it offers them a drop-in replacement for their existing GSM antenna installations.
Peter Jackson, Manager of Alan Dick's Cellular Antenna Group, sums up one of the key cost advantages, noting that customers pay for one antenna, rather than two or three electrically separate antennas, so saving on hardware costs, as well as installation time.
"Our triband antenna technology upgrades a base station to 3G interworking with a minimum of fuss, as well as extending the life of the GSM 900/1800 antenna installation. One antenna for all three cellular systems translates to less hassle on the installation side, as well as reduced maintenance costs in the longer term," he said.
Electrical tilt option
Network customers can also use Alan Dick's electrical tilt technology on their triband antenna to allow improved signal quality for customers.
Electrical tilt technology allows the vertical plane element of a cellular signal to be shaped using electrical, rather than mechanical, means, so that maximum radiation occurs at an angle below the horizontal plane.
"This is only one of several technological advantages that carriers can gain access to when they upgrade to our triband technology," said Jackson, adding that, because the triband antenna slots into the base station nest as a direct replacement for existing systems, local network downtime is minimised.
"At high call traffic sites, such as those adjacent to motorway service stations, airports and railway stations, even a day's extra downtime whilst 3G antennas are installed alongside legacy hardware can cost a network significant amounts of money," he explained.
"With triband, the replacement of the antenna is made easier for network engineers, so allowing staff to swiftly move on to upgrade other base stations. And, with existing 3G networks being installed and expanded at a far greater rate than when GSM 900 and 1800 networks were first launched, carriers are extremely time-poor when it comes to base station installation resources," he said.
"Using our triband technology, carriers have more on-site time available to ensure their call and signal quality is up to the high standards that today's cellular customers have come to expect," he added.
[573 words - issued Mar-04]
About Alan Dick
Alan Dick, founded in 1971, is a world-leading communications organisation spanning 5 continents and serving the wireless, fixed line, broadcast and radio communications markets.
The company boasts a unique service providing comprehensive infrastructure solutions for broadcasters, telecoms providers, cellular network operators, plus aeronautical and military users. Its ability to plan, develop, manufacture, deploy and manage these communication networks internationally won the company The Queen's Award for Enterprise for the third time in April 2003.
In addition, Alan Dick offers a wide range of services including site acquisition, logistics, network operations (NOC), radio network engineering and training academy.
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