NXP Semiconductors has introduced a groundbreaking family of programmable AISG transceivers for wireless base stations and antenna line devices (ALDs) such as tower-mounted amplifiers (TMAs) and remote electric tilt (RET) antennas.

The new family includes what is claimed to be the industry’s first fully integrated dual-modem AISG transceivers, as well as the first AISG system solution to integrate an ARM®Cortex™-M3 processor alongside two AISG modems. DSP-based and programmable, NXP’s AISG transceivers offer significant flexibility, making it easy to change settings during development, manufacturing, or even site installation.

While many manufacturers use a separate microcontroller and a high number of discrete components to deliver AISG on-off keying (OOK) modem functionality, the high level of integration delivered by NXP’s transceivers helps to reduce the total component count, board space and costs, while introducing advanced functionality.

Remote electric tilt enables dynamic adjustment of base station antenna beams for optimal network coverage, and is becoming a standard feature for wireless base station antennas. By embedding AISG transceiver functionality inside the antenna itself to control the RET, infrastructure providers can eliminate additional Smart-Bias-T and RS485 cabling to the antenna, increasing reliability while reducing tower costs.

NXP’s dual-modem AISG devices are particularly suitable for ALDs with multiple feeder cable connections, like TMAs and multiband antennas. Further, the AISG transceivers can be used as part of a larger framework to enable remote ‘site scans’ and monitoring of mobile tower cabling connectivity failures, which typically requires costly, inefficient tower climbing and visual inspections.

“While the Antenna Interface Standards Group protocol has been a major step in the right direction, the fact remains that there is still no way to effectively gather information on mobile tower connectivity remotely. With the growth of 3G and LTE, the complexity of wireless base stations and the number of antennas and other devices installed from various manufacturers will increase dramatically – compounding maintenance costs and headaches for both network operators and equipment manufacturers,” said Rick Dumont, global marketing director for AISG products, NXP Semiconductors.

“Our new AISG transceivers provide a compact and cost-effective solution for multi-channel AISG communication between tower-mounted ALDs and the base station to optimize base station site performance. At the same time, we’re opening the door to better interoperability across components, which could ultimately allow remote monitoring, diagnostics and debugging of a wider range of devices in the tower.”