Active antennas open up a wide range of deployment options for operators to cater for varying demand across macro-sectors. (Photo courtesy of Nokia Siemens Networks.)

Active Antenna Systems Enjoy Growth

Dec. 3, 2013
Active antenna systems have proven to be a viable solution for the increasing demands on mobile networks as beamsteering antennas see an increase in market numbers.

As mobile networks begin reaching capacity, a number of opportunities to alleviate this problem are coming to light. Although adding more base stations has proven viable, it is a relatively slow and expensive solution. Smaller cells also have shown to be effective, but this approach is not an all-in-all fix. Active antenna systems (AASs), however, are now believed to have the potential to provide mass benefits industry-wide. With the massive deployment of time-division synchronous-code-division-multiple-access (TD-SCDMA) and time-division Long Term Evolution (TD-LTE) base stations, the active antenna market is heating up. According to Mobile Experts roughly 500,000 beamsteering antenna units will be deployed in 2013 alone.

Active-antenna-system technology integrates several RF components, such as power amplifiers and transceivers, with the antenna diploes. This enables the phase and amplitude of the signals from each dipole inside the antenna to be electronically controlled, thereby enabling more flexible deployment, improved coverage, smaller installations, and lower power consumption.

In a report from Mobile Experts, “Active Antenna Systems 2013,” researchers note that active antenna systems have the capability to boost capacity. They also point out, however, that this approach is expensive—especially compared to small cells and WiFi. In addition, there is a potential for error-vector-magnitude (EVM) distortion. AASs offer a good option for scenarios requiring in-band interference rejection. They also could be used when other HetNet alternatives are not feasible.

The report includes cost/benefit estimates and charts for a variety of AAS solutions, forecasts for integrated-antenna-radio (IAR) shipments through 2018, analysis of AAS shipments by beamsteering type (vertical sectorization, azimuthal beamforming, and beamtilt), and frequency band and competitive profiles of involved companies. As AASs support technologies like multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) and higher-order receiver diversity (four-way receive diversity), the complexity of antenna selection and configuration will only increase in the race to provide higher performance.

Information for this article was found in the white paper, “Active Antenna Systems: A step-change in base station site performance,” by Nokia Siemens Networks.

Sponsored Recommendations

Getting Started with Python for VNA Automation

April 19, 2024
The video goes through the steps for starting to use Python and SCPI commands to automate Copper Mountain Technologies VNAs. The process of downloading and installing Python IDC...

Can I Use the VNA Software Without an Instrument?

April 19, 2024
Our VNA software application offers a demo mode feature, which does not require a physical VNA to use. Demo mode is easy to access and allows you to simulate the use of various...

Introduction to Copper Mountain Technologies' Multiport VNA

April 19, 2024
Modern RF applications are constantly evolving and demand increasingly sophisticated test instrumentation, perfect for a multiport VNA.

Automating Vector Network Analyzer Measurements

April 19, 2024
Copper Mountain Technology VNAs can be automated by using either of two interfaces: a COM (also known as ActiveX) interface, or a TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) socket interface...