The demands of cost reduction and greater efficiency in cellular base station design are leading to a rapidly growing market for remote radio heads. According to a new study from ABI Research, this market is on track to exceed a value of $1 B in 2014. Cellular base stations are now undergoing a design revolution; the trend is towards “distributed base stations” in which the RF portion (along with suitable processing and an optical interface) is placed into a weatherproof box mounted on the tower near the antennas. This is the remote radio head.

Reducing operating costs is especially important now, so the remote radio head has become an integral part of these new distributed base stations. Remote radio heads are also very ‘smart’: almost all are software-controlled and can be configured remotely to handle a variety of technologies within a given air interface family. The result: greater efficiency, lower power consumption, and the possibility of placement in locations with coverage issues. A single distributed base station can even have multiple remote radio heads for MIMO operation.

To learn more about the remote radio heads market and how it may affect business models now and in the future, visit ABI Research’s “Remote Radio Heads” study, which examines the ways in which radio heads will capture an increasing share within the BTS marketplace. It includes shipments and revenue forecasts for 2009-2014 segmented by air interface, as well as ASP and vendor market share data. It is part of the Mobile Networks Research Service.