CommScope launches PowerShift solution to efficiently power RRUs at wireless cell sites

Oct. 15, 2015
PowerShift solution automatically delivers the most efficient power to remote radio units, says company.

With wireless operators deploying increasingly powerful remote radio units (RRUs) at the top of cell towers, and with those RRUs being further distanced from the power distribution points, delivering electric power efficiently becomes more challenging -- and costly. To help solve the problem, CommScope has introduced its PowerShift system, billed as "a whole new way of managing power to RRUs at macro and micro cell sites."

CommScope contends that its PowerShift is the wireless industry’s first intelligent, plug-and-play direct current (DC) power supply solution for RRUs. PowerShift can help operators re-utilize existing power cable infrastructure, eliminate the need for deploying higher gauge conductors when installing new cabling and increase the useable length for cables by over four times. It can also extend RF battery uptime by up to 35 percent.

“Network operators are targeting energy consumption reductions of up to 25 percent over the next decade and beyond, and CommScope is responding with the industry-first PowerShift solution,” said Stan Catey, senior vice president and general manager, Cable Products, CommScope. “PowerShift is specifically designed for the advanced cell site architectures used for 4G/LTE and beyond, and to help our customers increase battery backup time, save CapEx and/or OpEx and build future-ready networks.”

In the majority of macro cell site installations today, the operator has installed an RRU close to the antenna to decrease RF signal loss and achieve other performance benefits. Separated from the baseband unit, each RRU needs its own power, typically between 300-600 watts but which can exceed 1,000 watts. In this site architecture, power cables deliver the energy from the power distribution point, which is usually at the bottom of the tower.

CommScope’s PowerShift solution automatically delivers the most efficient voltage to the RRU, utilizing technology CommScope developed with the power supply experts at General Electric. Notably, the PowerShift solution requires no manual calibration when managing the power supply, notes the company.

Other key benefits to operators using the PowerShift system, according to the company, can include: reduced capital expenditures through the use of smaller diameter power cables, especially the ones already deployed on-site in RRU upgrade scenarios; decreased operating expenditures due to lower overall power consumption, more efficient inventorying, standardized installation and lower shipping costs; decreased weight and wind load on towers with smaller diameter cables; and extended RF battery uptime of up to 35 percent more by taking full advantage of the existing battery back-up system.

The system is currently available for trial with general availability expected in the first quarter of 2016.

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