How BladeAAU Pro Can Boost Your Business Success


    Jul 07, 2022

    5G networks are being deployed at a large scale around the world, with many operating in parallel to existing networks. However, 5G deployment creates many challenges for carriers, including deploying massive MIMO without increasing the footprint at existing sites or acquiring new sites, and ensuring optimal 5G coverage without affecting the performance of existing networks.

    Huawei 5G Massive MIMO

    Key Antenna Deployment Challenges for 5G

    Limited antenna space in existing sites. With 2G/3G/4G networks already deployed, there is not enough space for 5G. Sites can be rebuilt to expand the available space, but this will incur additional costs. At some existing sites, expanding space capacity is difficult, so new sites need to be added to deploy 5G. This, however, requires approval, which takes a long time to obtain and involves manual operations, which in turn results in a long time to market and increased costs.

    Undesirable installation location: The installation location can determine network coverage and performance. As such, 5G antennas need to be mounted at a higher location than existing antennas to provide optimal coverage. In most cases, however, existing antennas are already installed in high locations, forcing 5G antennas to be mounted in lower positions, compromising coverage. For carriers, deploying 5G antennas in an optimal position to provide the desired performance is a major challenges.

    Limited wind load-bearing capacity: When deploying additional antennas, increased weight and wind load must be taken into consideration. Even though this challenge can be overcome by reinforcement, operators need to pay additional construction costs.

    Enter BladeAAU Pro

    One solution to address all of these challenges is BladeAAU Pro. Its simplified all-in-one design integrates active and passive antennas and uses several technologies to support multiple frequency bands and RATs, without requiring a new site or additional antenna space at existing sites.

    It ensures that network performance and coverage are maintained or improved.

    Source: Huawei / Installing a BladeAAU Pro unit for Sunrise UPC for 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G coverage

    BladeAAU Pro reduces the windward area of the antenna, so that towers can cope with the wind load. This solution provides operators with flexibility when deploying 5G as existing antennas can be replaced with BladeAAU Pro, preventing an increase in a site’s current footprint.

    Key Antenna Technologies

    Signal direct injection feeding (SDIF)

    In the traditional design, each band may require its own phase shifter. And for each phase shifter, many cables are required to distribute signals from one port to different dipoles, leading to insertion loss and a very heavy antenna. Unlike traditional antenna design, SDIF is a revolutionary feeding network technology that connects the phase shifter, dipole, and other components as one element. No cabler is needed inside the antenna for the phase shifter to directly inject signals.

    Antenna efficiency and gains are improved without increasing antenna length and installation is easier due to the lower weight.

    Frequency Selective Isolating and Penetrating (FreSIP)

    This technology superimposes a 5G massive MIMO module onto a passive antenna, with FreSIP adopting metamaterials.

    Before the introduction of metamaterials, electromagnetic wave propagation had to be learned. In theory, electromagnetic waves travel as fast as light, representing the highest speed in a vacuum. In reality, the medium closest to vacuum propagation is air. The formula to calculate the propagation speed of electromagnetic waves in the medium is as follows:

    v represents the velocity of electromagnetic waves (larger propagation velocity v of electromagnetic waves improves the effect of electromagnetic wave penetration), c the velocity of light, 𝜀 the dielectric constant, and μ the magnetic permeability.

    Therefore, the key factors that determine the propagation speed of electromagnetic waves are 𝜀 and μ.

    Metamaterials break the characteristics of conventional physical materials through periodic metal structures and achieve extraordinary electromagnetic characteristics. In traditional materials, the minimum unit is atom. The atomic combination is solid medium or metal. Both the dielectric constant (εr) and magnetic permeability (μr) of natural materials are greater than 1. In metamaterials, the minimum unit (cell) is the artificial design of metal patterns. The meta combination is a periodic metal structure. Metamaterials show unprecedented properties that are not attainable in natural materials (μr < 0, εr < 0).

    With metamaterials applied, FreSIP enables better integration of a massive MIMO module and the passive antenna. Generally, radio signals are refracted and reflected if there are obstacles on the transmission path. The active and passive decoupling design enables flexible derivation. With metamaterials, the relevant elements of BladeAAU Pro are designed to form an air-like penetrating transmission environment between 5G active and 4G passive antenna systems. The two antenna systems can be isolated from each other and work independently. The passive antenna is regarded as a plane of glass in the middle, through which the waves pass without penetration loss. The radiation from the active antenna passes through the passive antenna without affecting the passive antenna.

    Multi-Layer Interleaved Design

    The multi-layer interleaved design of elements helps control antenna size. Unlike the traditional side-by-side arrangement of elements in different frequency bands, the multi-layer interleaved design enables the active arrays to be superimposed onto the passive arrays, simplifying the antenna. This design also reduces coupling between elements by using smaller spacing to tackle interference between radiating units in different bands, improving the ability to arrange elements in different bands in the same aperture.

    Promoting Business Success

    Thanks to these technologies, the BladeAAU Pro solution is flexible enough to adapt to various environments, greatly easing the difficulties faced when constructing 5G networks. The solution drastically simplifies 5G deployment and optimizes 5G network performance without compromising the exiting network quality. With the blend of powerful features, BladeAAU Pro has helped plenty of operators to lead business toward success since its initial launch.

    Further reading

    Winner of the Best RAN Evolution award at the 5G World 2021 Summit

    Disclaimer: Any views and/or opinions expressed in this post by individual authors or contributors are their personal views and/or opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views and/or opinions of Huawei Technologies.


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