The advent of 5G technology promises a great deal to consumers, with greater data speeds, higher capacities, lower latencies, and virtually unlimited connectivity. The technology will enable us to connect more devices to networks at a given time and potentially be able to implement virtual networks.
All the above will certainly come true for the outdoor mobile experience. But what about when we’re indoors? Is 5G going to deliver once we’re at home, at work, or in some other enclosed space?
That’s what Benetel was thinking about in developing its new flagship BNTL-RAN550 O-RAN radio unit (O-RU). This latest addition to the company’s RU product family delivers 100 MHz of instantaneous bandwidth, with up to 250 mW of output power per transmitter path.
In combining elevated performance parameters, a small form factor, and low total cost of ownership, Benetel has optimized the RAN550 for indoor deployments, which are set to become increasingly commonplace. Enterprises and mobile network operators (MNOs) will both be able to benefit from this solution, using it in access points, private networks, and more.
The BNTL-RAN550’s highly adaptable modular architecture is fully compliant with the latest O-RAN interface specification, supporting 7.2 split fronthaul network configurations. It comes equipped with two 10-Gigabit Ethernet ports for fronthaul network interfacing, and the built-in antenna supports 4T4R MIMO operation, which the company believes is the best balance for indoor coverage.
This initial version will support the 5G band n78 (3.3 GHz to 3.8 GHz), with additional frequencies (upper band n77 and band n79) already under development. In this fashion, Benetel hopes to target specific markets around the world in which spectrum is being made available. Other potential derivatives might include units with output power of greater than 250 mW. The modular architecture of the RAN550 easily lends it to adaptation with filtering and power-amplifier matching for given frequency bands.
The company says it’s already been approached about the possibility of integrating 4G and 5G operation within the same unit; the design approach they’ve taken would put such a variant within the scope of the product definition. Interestingly, Benetel has chosen to implement a proprietary indoor solution before announcing an outdoor version, which is in the works.
Benetel has been laying the groundwork for this flagship launch for some time. In October, the company joined the Open RAN Policy Coalition, which launched in May with a goal of promoting policies designed to open up the Radio Access Network. That same month of October, Benetel successfully demonstrated multi-vendor O-RAN hardware interoperability at the joint O-RAN Alliance and TIP Plugfest in Berlin. There, they integrated the RAN550 O-RU with Viavi’s TM500 O-RU tester.
Available in January 2021, the BNTL-RAN550 O-RUs are designed for ceiling-mount and wall-mount implementations. These CE/FCC-certified units support an operational temperature range of 0°C to +45°C and are powered by a 12-V DC supply (or via PoE++).