Launched at last month's Mobile World Congress 2014 in Barcelona, Spain, CommScope's ION-E is a unified wireless infrastructure platform based upon IT-based structured cabling architecture, aimed at both wireless operators and business enterprises alike.
The company contends that the flexibility, scalability and simplicity of the ION-E system resolves the most common roadblock issues associated with in-building wireless deployments, simplifying implementation by using the structured cabling systems familiar to IT installers, along with providing a simple user interface for setup and configuration with minimal input.
“Overstating the impact of the ION-E will be hard because this system solves so many challenges at once,” comments Morgan Kurk, senior vice president, Wireless, CommScope. “It combines the capability and flexibility of cloud RAN, while making distributed antenna systems (DAS) simple and unifying the local area and wide area networks. This intelligent transport system can finally fulfill the promise of small cells.”
According to CommScope, the ION-E platform brings together licensed wireless and power plus Gigabit Ethernet for WiFi into one unified wireless network that can scale to building size, and is technology and spectrum adaptive for solving rapidly changing indoor coverage and capacity demands. Unlike similar competitive offerings, the company notes that the ION-E system features multi-band, multi-operator and multi-technology capabilities, and uses the standard IT structured cabling infrastructure common to most commercial buildings.
Related: CommScope intros rapid-deployment DAS
“Bottom line: the ION-E is not just another DAS -- it is unified wireless infrastructure, a whole new category that addresses the needs of both the enterprise building owner and the wireless operator,” adds Kurk.
CommScope notes that today’s modern buildings require flexibility to handle floor space layout changes, the relocation of users, or other changes that would require an extensive rework of the wireless system. According to the company, as a multi-band, multi-operator and multi-technology platform, the ION-E employs a standard grid approach and supports on-demand software defined frequencies to flexibly adapt to these changing requirements.
The company contends that the ION-E platform easily scales to support buildings from 5,000 to 500,000 square meters. The system is "frequency agile and technology agnostic," says CommScope, eliminating the need for costly infrastructure and equipment upgrades. Adding network capacity to meet changing usage patterns is achieved via simple click-and-drag operations. The ION-E platform self-detects and self-configures its components, while sending alarm notifications when it detects network issues.
“Simple, scalable and flexible -- those three words capture the essence of the ION-E,” concludes Kurk. “The world lacks people who have RF design expertise. This limits the deployment of traditional DAS networks at a time when deploying indoor networks within enterprise buildings is increasingly in demand. IT people who are not as familiar with RF networks will find the equipment intuitive and simple, while being able to scale the ION-E to any building, and flexibly support any wireless technology.”
The CommScope ION-E platform is currently available for operator trials in Europe with expected general availability in other regions in the second half of 2014.