Alcatel-Lucent’s new DAS RFM aims to save operators on energy and rental costs

Alcatel-Lucent has invented a way to help mobile operators boost radio performance and slash power and property costs with a new radio interface for distributed antenna systems (DAS).

The new Distributed Antenna System Radio Frequency Module (DAS RFM), by being more robust and versatile, will give operators more options when connecting subscribers at large public venues, such as shopping malls, hotels and office blocks, says the vendor.

Alcatel-Lucent has launched DAS RFM with a claim that this new wideband low-power LTE interface card will obviate the need for bulky radio technology in public installations. It connects to Alcatel-Lucent’s LTE rado access kit, such as a 9926 digital baseband unit, to work directly with the analogue DAS through RF signals. These signals now consume just an eighth of the power and create less heat than the average remote radio head. This gives installers far more options when creating public radio networks where cabinet sizes are often a limiting factor. With less heat there is less need for ventilation, so cabinet units can be smaller.

Demand for distributed antenna systems is rising across the world, says the vendor, with mobile providers in the US and China in particular catering for high-speed, ultra-broadband access in busy public locations. This means service providers must create remote radio heads alongside duplexers and attenuators to reduce output power while cutting the footprint of the equipment.

According to a study by Alcatel-Lucent owned Bell Labs, the new invention can save 30% on wireless and DAS equipment costs, 81% on power and cooling, 91% on construction costs, 78% of energy costs and 91% on space rental.

The DAS RFM also helps create a scalable radio access network, because it works with a 9926 digital baseband unit to divert capacity where needed when there are variations in traffic.

“Alcatel-Lucent’s new DAS RFM solves a major problem for operators and building owners alike,” said Nick Marshall, Research Director of ABI Research, “In densely populated areas space is a premium and lease costs are high.”

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