The new APA system uniquely interleaves a 5G active antenna with a passive base station antenna under the same radome. It is being developed in response to operator demand to combine the antennas for 3.5GHz mMIMO with existing passive systems, thereby addressing the significant challenge they face in relation to cell site restraints when looking to deploy new active antennas in dense urban areas.
RFS’ interleaved APA system has a number of benefits:
- Simplifies the evolution to 5G, allowing operators to easily deploy active antennas and thereby introduce support for new spectrum bands to existing macro sites without needing to increase the overall antenna count per sector (and minimizing visual impact).
- Lowers Total Cost of Ownership due to shared chassis and RF components between the two antenna systems and reduced windload.
- More efficiently tackles the common heat dissipation issue associated with active antenna technology. RFS’ APA system takes advantage of the design and housing of the existing passive antenna to act as the heat exchange for the active antenna, driving efficiency, increasing reliability and reducing overall weight by downsizing the bulky heatsinks that are typically needed.
The APA is effectively a two-in-one system housed in a form factor that’s the same size as the systems operators have already deployed. By interleaving the two antennas using RFS’ longstanding heritage and expertise, it’s been able to minimize distortion while ensuring consistent high performance of both systems. For operators, APA technology will therefore allow them to prepare for 5G’s evolution while also improving their 4G and LTE-A networks to support ever-increasing demand for capacity.
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