FTTA – Fiber To The Antenna Cable Solution
TWe focus on fiber to the antenna, primarily looking at cell towers, but also antennas mounted on rooftops, small cells and distributed antenna systems (DAS).
Fiber is being used to connect BTS and then go up the radion tower to connect the antennas. Bandwidth requirements and different technologies being in use at the same time in the cellular systems, new cellular protocols being are used (2G, 3G,4G, LTE,…). Therefore macro cells towers are carrying today dozens of antennas compared to simple 3-antennas tri-sector sites in the past.
FTTA tower connections are using fiber optic cables which offer reduced weight and cost alike. Cables with power conductors are also running up the tower. In many cases hybrid cable are used where optical fibers and copper conductors are in the same cable.
Small cells are small integrated radios and antennas intended for small geographic areas. They cover frequencies from 700 MHz to 2.7 GHz with power output up to 5W. As these cells are smaller more installations are needed including power and fiberoptic connectivity.
Towers use fiber optic cables to a remote radio unit (RRU). Cables up the tower have fiber and electrical conductors, usually inside an armored jacket. CPRI (Common Public Radio Interface) connects the BBU with the RRU. The base band unit (BBU) connects to the telecom network typically via a fiber optic cable or microwave links.