Planning for mmWave Networks
Over the last couple of years to meet the increasing demands of the user data, Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) have focused on building new Macro Sites, Small Cells, Distributed Antenna Systems (DASs) and deploying additional frequency bands to existing LTE networks. With data traffic expected to grow at a CAGR rate of 47% between 2016 to 2021 the existing spectrum in the sub 3GHz is not going to suffice in keeping up with this demand. To meet this demand, MNOs will utilize every resource available to them, this means dipping into new spectrum bands and technologies. With an Abundance of spectrum available over 20 GHz, as well as technology advancements in 3D-Beamforming and Beam tracking, these bands have become potential useful resource to operators and utilized in network capacity expansion.
Operators are starting to plan and design for networks in the 20-100 GHz frequency bands. These band will be an integral part of the network expansion plans leading to 5G-NR. Engineering of the network in the mmWave frequency bands has some unique characteristics.
1. The Propagation loss is much higher (~20 db) compared to sub 3Ghz bands.
2. The MMWave signal is strongly impacted with rain, foliage and any signal obstructions.
3. Wider bandwidths compared to Sub 3 Ghz bands.
4. 3D Beamforming and Beam Tracking are essential to the MM Wave System Design.
Now that you have this abundant band of spectrum whose signal doesn’t travel far and very limited building penetration. Despite these shortcomings, mmWave does provide tremendous opportunities because of the wider bandwidth and its potential to increase data throughput as well as offload traffic. The smaller wavelengths make it easy to design for smaller antenna’s both at the UE and the BTS side, this characteristic is particularly useful in creation of the small arrays of MIMO antenna’s i.e. Massive MIMO which is an essential part of the 5G NR.
Some keys while planning for mmWave network are.
• Urban Environment’s with high site density provides the best opportunities for mmWave sites.
• Outdoor small cells with high user density also provide good opportunities for traffic offload.
• Wider bandwidths i.e. (>100 MHz) helps increase throughput.
• Tighter frequency reuse patterns can be used.
• Targeted High User indoor cases
TTS-Wireless is currently working with tier 1 operators for Planning and Design of mmWave networks. TTS-Wireless along with our strong talent pool of qualified 5G and mmWave Engineers has built the Engineering tools that help Engineers plan for the upcoming technologies. IMNOS provides a great deal of features and capabilities in planning for 5G and mmWave network expansion. IMNOS provides network visualization for existing and planned sites, modules for PCI/RSI Planning, Configuration Analysis and In Building modules. The comprehensive set of tools in combination with big data analytics and visualization from the GeoSpatial Core using network data makes planning for network expansion on 5G technologies i.e. mmWave, Massive MIMO and 5G-NR an intelligent and efficient process.