Note: Last year, we unveiled our top 40 innovations made by CommScope or one of its acquired companies. This recognition was part of our 40th anniversary celebration. We are proud of all our innovations—past and present. Now, we look to new innovations that we hope will become the essential building blocks for the networks of the future. In a series of blogs, we will introduce you to our Top Promising Innovations in the world of wireless and fiber optics. We believe these innovations have the potential to have significant impact on the industry, much like some of the others from our past.
ION-E Unified Wireless Infrastructure
Definition: The ION-E platform is
a unified wireless infrastructure that leverages Ethernet cabling and
frequency-agnostic remote antenna units to deliver a future-proof,
easily-installed solution to address in-building wireless coverage and capacity
Year of Innovation: 2014
What is the innovation that CommScope was first in
The ION-E unified wireless infrastructure platform is designed
around IT-based structured cabling architecture, making it friendly
to both wireless operators and business enterprises alike. The flexibility,
scalability and simplicity of the system resolve the issues associated with
rapidly-changing indoor coverage and capacity demands.
The ION-E platform brings together licensed
wireless and power plus Gigabit Ethernet for Wi-Fi into one unified wireless network that can
scale to building size and is technology- and spectrum-adaptive. Unlike other
offerings, the ION-E infrastructure features multi-band, multi-operator and
multi-technology capabilities and uses the standard IT structured cabling
infrastructure common to most commercial buildings (Ethernet). The ION-E platform
incorporates a frequency-agnostic remote antenna unit (RAU) design, which
allows operators, enterprises and building owners to deploy one system that
supports all frequency bands.
What was happening in the market that this innovation was
Eighty percent of the world’s buildings have indoor wireless
coverage issues, but just a tiny fraction of them have in-building cellular wireless
solutions. Distributed antenna systems have been available for more than 20
years, but most operators and enterprises have chosen not to deploy them
because they are complex, require heavy coaxial cabling that takes special
expertise to install, and have to be physically upgraded to support additional
frequency bands. The ION-E platform addresses these issues by using standard
Ethernet cabling to link the system’s hubs with its RAUs, and the RAUs are
frequency-agnostic so they support additional frequencies without the need for
How does this innovation benefit customers and the industry?
The ION-E platform makes a unified wireless infrastructure
easily deployable to solve in-building wireless coverage and capacity issues.
Its use of standard Ethernet cabling makes it much easier and more
cost-effective to deploy, and its frequency-agnostic RAUs allow operators and
enterprises to install the system once and then support future frequency bands
without expensive upgrades.
What makes this a promising innovation for future
networks and customer applications?
New cellular frequencies come into use every few years, and
they typically require customers to upgrade their DAS with new RAUs – an
expensive and disruptive proposition. By using RAUs that can be tuned to
different frequencies, the ION-E platform eliminates the need to upgrade RAUs
and thereby reduces total cost of ownership.
What are some of the early marketplace successes for this
The ION-E platform has attracted deployments in the United
States and Europe as well as Australia. Operators like that it is easy to
deploy with less technical expertise required, and enterprises like that they
don’t have to hire outside experts to deploy it, but can rely on their IT
What is the significance of this innovation for
The ION-E platform continues CommScope’s wireless
infrastructure leadership by integrating CAT-6A cabling and Ethernet
infrastructure with a DAS, and by offering a future-proof, frequency-agnostic unified
wireless infrastructure. Because CAT-6A cabling is pervasive, most buildings
are “wired for wireless,” and the ION-E digital architecture ensures
high-uniform output power at every RAU.
Does this innovation follow any established industry
standards or do you believe it might set a precedent for its own?
The ION-E platform leads the market when it comes to
frequency-agnostic technology for unified wireless infrastructure. It is
compatible with all applicable cellular technology standards.
How do you see this innovation evolving?
The ION-E platform allows for future development, enabling a
truly agnostic offering that can expand as bandwidth needs expand. It uses digital
signal processing to extract and transmit individual channels, so users can
send a channel to one or more of the RAUs. By enabling users to transmit only
the exact spectrum required to each RAU, the ION-E platform conserves spectrum,
which is an increasingly important capability for cellular systems.