C-RAN Antenna Systems and Enterprise DAS

Era™ and ION-E®: All-digital, cost-effective in-building wireless solutions

CommScope’s all-digital Era C-RAN antenna system makes in-building wireless (IBW) simpler and more economical than ever. Operating on standard IT infrastructure—Category 6A and fiber—these solutions allow operators, neutral hosts and enterprises to provide five bars of in-building coverage and capacity. Era and ION-E share a common architecture and system software, making them completely interoperable with one another.

Features and benefits

The Era C-RAN antenna system evolves the conventional distributed antenna system (DAS) architecture by adding C-RAN capabilities. With Era, you can:

  • Move all baseband functions across multiple buildings to a single, streamlined head-end or even to the operator’s existing C-RAN hub.
  • Take advantage of an all-digital CPRI baseband interface that eliminates the need for analog-to-digital conversions, reducing head-end size and power requirements.
  • Adjust capacity across the network by sector, channel or operator through a web-based drag-and-drop interface.
  • Select from among a wide range of access points that offer different power levels, copper/fiber connectivity, power over Category 6A cable and embedded MIMO support. Outdoor and plenum ratings allow deployment virtually anywhere.
  • Deploy on economical standard IT Category 6A and fiber
  • Comprehensively monitor and manage deployments using CommScope’s proven A.I.M.O.S. management system.

Era makes in-building wireless solutions simpler to install, easier to manage and less expensive to operate—all while giving operators, neutral hosts and enterprises the room they need to grow as new technologies and applications come to market.

For discrete areas—such as standalone office buildings that require a dedicated head-end—CommScope’s ION-E enterprise DAS is an ideal solution. Because it shares Era’s all-digital architecture and use of standard IT cabling, it simplifies solution design and implementation. Era and ION-E are fully compatible with each other. Both systems can be combined within a single deployment, providing even more flexibility.

CommScope holds 164 patent families for the technological innovations incorporated in ION-E and Era. 

C-RAN Antenna System diagram

System description

The system consists of the following components (refer to diagram below):

  • The wide-area integration node (WIN) resides in the operator C-RAN hub and carries baseband signals to a campus distribution hub. This greatly reduces the on-site head-end footprint.
  • The central area node (CAN) is located at the campus or building head-end. It digitizes baseband RF signals, combines signals from different operators and distributes them throughout a building or campus.
  • The transport extension node (TEN) connects to the central area node via single- or multimode fiber. Transport extension nodes distribute signals to access points throughout a floor or building.
  • A set of common, frequency-agnostic interface modules are used across the wide-area integration node, central area node and transport extension node:
    • The RF donor (RFD) card receives analog RF signals from operator base transceiver stations (BTS)
    • The CPRI digital donor (CDD) For use with Era, this card receives CPRI digital signals from compatible operator baseband units (BBU)
    • Optical (OPT) and copper (CPT) transport cards connect to transport links between network elements
    • Auxiliary transport (AUT) cards allows pass-through Ethernet connections to other IP endpoints, such as Wi-Fi access points or security cameras, allowing these systems to share cabling infrastructure with Era or ION-E
    • The system user interface (SUI) card connects to a local control monitor
    • Common 2U and 4U sub-racks and power supply units contain and power the card modules
  • Access points convert the digital signal back to radio frequency (RF) for over-the-air transmission.
    • The carrier access point (CAP) (for use with Era) comes in a range of transmit power and band combinations, with copper and fiber network interfaces. carrier access points are outdoor and plenum rated.
    • The universal access point (UAP) (for use with ION-E) is a low-power access point that supports software-defined frequencies from 600 to 2700 MHz.
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