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Address the Challenges of 5G Network Deployment

5G is finally becoming a reality, and network designers are facing greater challenges than ever before as they consider how their networks will be deployed. The networks not only have to achieve higher system performance, but it must be accomplished in a more cost-effective manner. The race to reduce time-to-market means the network components must be available to support an aggressive deployment schedule. In addition, the required densification means solutions must be smaller and lower weight for greater concealment and subsequently quicker approval for the deployment. The good news is that network designers do not have to address these challenges alone. This article will describe how to overcome these challenges by partnering with the right network component provider.

It is crucial to select the appropriate components for each deployment due to the demand for more capacity and coverage, however, selecting the appropriate solution out of multiple component options can be challenging. For instance, improved system performance can be achieved by deploying components with guaranteed low dissipative loss, passive intermodulation (PIM), and return loss, as well as high isolation. The significance of PIM on system performance cannot be overstated, and a major challenge is to achieve prolonged low PIM performance in an outdoor environment. Deploying the network with solutions designed with greater emphasis on reliability assists in reducing the risk of system performance degradation. As an example, outdoor components need to be mechanically designed to prevent galvanic action, which over time inhibits rusting and subsequently averts generation of PIM in the receive path. Focusing on these factors of the network components enables increased capacity by enhancing the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and the signal-to-interference plus noise ratio (SINR). Consultation with component vendors can be an important resource for leveraging their product expertise to select an optimal available solution or develop a site requirement specific custom solution.

Mobile network operators (MNOs) are deploying 5G networks to service their customers with improved throughput while also looking at maintaining appropriate levels of CapEx and, more importantly, OpEx spending. It is necessary to be mindful of the many factors that impact the total cost of ownership (TCO) of the deployment beyond just initial cost of the deployment. First, deploying network components designed to support signal distribution of new low- and mid-band spectrum being allocated to increase 5G network capacity, culminates in lower TCO by extending the deployment life cycle. Second, deployment sites also need to have regulatory approvals from local, city, and federal agencies. The incorporation of smaller and lighter network components assists in reducing costs due to greater flexibility to improve concealment leading to potentially quicker regulatory approval for deployment. Finally, availability of components cannot be ignored as site deployment and commissioning delays increase costs and time-to-market. Sites can be deployed more quickly with solutions that are pre-approved and readily available either directly from the manufacturer or through a wide distribution network. Considering these factors cumulatively results in reducing TCO for the network owners.

Microlab is a leading component and integrated solution partner relied on for tackling the challenges with 5G deployments. Whether designers are seeking better system performance or lower cost deployments with smaller and lighter solutions that are available when they are needed, Microlab engineers can provide consultation to select the most appropriate standard or custom solutions to meet these needs. Microlab 5G passive components provide the advantage of pre-approval at many MNOs and neutral hosts, small size and weight for concealment, low dissipative loss for maximum system capacity, and guaranteed low PIM for optimal system performance, all typically available from stock or through wide distribution network. Custom solutions can be designed for specific requirements as well, often available within weeks.

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