CommScope has stripped the complexity out of integrating a distributed antenna system (DAS) into a macro wireless network by upgrading its ION® platform into a simple to use, plug-and-play solution. The new ION-U features integrated guidance and intelligence, enabling wireless network operators to design, plan, deploy and optimize a DAS more quickly and efficiently and at a lower total cost of ownership.

“The ION-U has built-in intelligence that greatly simplifies installation, transforming a job that required considerable expertise into a relatively easy task,” said Matt Melester, senior vice president and general manager, Distributed Coverage and Capacity Solutions, CommScope. “If you can connect a new printer to a computer or navigate a software installation wizard, then you can install the ION-U.”

Although DAS is a well-proven solution for network capacity, innovation for simplifying the practical implementation of that solution has been stubbornly slow. This lack of simplification has meant longer time to market, prohibitively expensive engineering skill requirements and notoriously difficult optimization, testing and maintenance. Every stage of traditional DAS deployment can be an exercise in extra expense and delayed ROI. Operators continue to utilize DAS, however, because of the pressing need to offload traffic from the macro network in order to free up capacity for ever-increasing mobile data usage.

In order to simplify DAS deployment, CommScope offers the ION-U, part of the Andrew® portfolio of wireless solutions, with these features:

  • Embedded intelligence, which intuitively guides the design, planning, installation, setup, commissioning and optimization with virtually foolproof simplicity
  • Remote configuration toolsthat enable operators to re-sectorize and access auto-leveling functions from anywhere in the world or right at the head end
  • Built-in monitoringfor measuring network quality, monitoring interference and passive intermodulation (PIM) and conducting detailed uplink/downlink spectrum analysis
  • Smart alarmsfor more quickly and efficiently troubleshooting quality of service (QoS) issues
  • Automatic documentation,including bill of materials, system configuration file, interconnect diagrams, rack elevation drawings according to power/thermal loading specs and commissioning records, which saves time and reduces errors
  • A unified indoor-outdoor, low and high power platform in a single master unit, which reduces space requirements and the number of cable runs while maximizing design flexibility

“The need for capacity relief could create applications for about 2.5 million DAS nodes to go into service by 2017, doubling today’s demand,” said Melester. “With the true plug-and-play DAS capability of our new ION-U platform, operators can take on that challenge with reduced complexity, exceptional network agility and quality and savings in total cost of ownership and speed to market.”

The ION-U is available now in North America, while CommScope expects to make it available in other regions later this year, starting with Europe.

Venues and locations that should benefit from deploying the ION-U include airports, railways, arenas, corporate offices, school campuses, hospitals and outdoor areas such as congested urban and suburban areas. CommScope’s Distributed Coverage and Capacity Solutions team has built DAS in many of the world’s most challenging RF environments since 1988.