Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Small Cells in BT Phone Boxes

Picture Source: Andy Sutton

In a news announcement yesterday, Vodafone said that they are planning to install 4G and 5G equipment to the underside of thousands of manhole covers across Britain to boost connection speeds in the busiest urban areas and meet the public’s insatiable demand for mobile data.

According to the report, Vodafone, which has hundreds of thousands of Cable & Wireless-branded manholes as part of its network, has developed the subterranean plan alongside Swedish telecoms equipment group Ericsson. The system is known internally as The Vault.

Attaching antenna equipment to the base of a manhole cover can boost the signal across a 200-metre radius, according to Vodafone, and could be critical in supporting future “smart city” technologies such as connected traffic lights. Installation does not require planning permission, which speeds up network build.

Vodafone and Ericsson have developed two types of system. One attaches equipment to the base of existing Victorian-era cast iron manhole covers. Another is a bespoke reinforced unit the size of a water butt that is sunk into the ground underneath a purpose-built cover.

We have blogged about Small cells infrastructure underground and in manhole covers. The following posts are related to that:
Phone boxes, which are connected to the power supply, are a useful tool to boost demand on high streets and in rural areas. Vodafone has signed a deal with BT’s wholesale division to install 4G antennas in phone boxes, and has kitted out one on Edinburgh’s Princes Street to improve coverage in time for the Hogmanay celebrations on New Year’s Eve.

The picture on the top from Andy Sutton is from Small Cells World Summit back in may. He says, "New life for old kiosks, KX100+ accommodating a 4G LTE small cell for enhancing mobile area capacity density"


ThinkSmallCell has a nice picture of the top of the KX100+ phone booth. In it's report on the Small Cells World Summit 2018, David Chambers says the following:

BT had the largest demo with a full size telephone box equipped with a small cell hidden in the roof space. Although only one Nokia small cell was fitted, the unit could accommodate several from different network operators. Each site is backhaul with either 100Mbps or 1Gbps managed Ethernet and transmits above head height using an omnidirectional antenna. It would seem we will shortly be making phone calls from telephone boxes again, just without realising it.

It would be interesting to see some more of these old phone boxes converted into small cell towers.

See also:
Here is a tweet containing picture of Ericsson's vault radio system for anyone interested:

Monday, 3 December 2018

Turin will be the first European city with a 'drone ready' 5G network


Last year I blogged about how TIM wants Turin to be the first 5G city in Italy. Since then I have also blogged about how TIM has rolled out "commercial" 5G across the whole of San Marino.

Turin (Torino) will be the first European city with a 'drone ready' network, thanks to the use of TIM's 5G technology. Last month measurement activities of the aerial coverage at high altitude was done in Piazza Vittorio Veneto and at the Parco del Valentino and Parco Dora. "The municipality of Turin will use the drones for security and we will experiment with the municipal police remotely piloted aircraft to control some areas most at risk of safety", explains Paola Pisano, councilor for innovation of the municipality of Turin. "Do not call it Big Brother, the goal is to support men in uniform operating on the territory" he continued. via La Repubblica (translated from Italian via Google translate)

The photos above are available on TIM Newsroom Flickr channel here.

According to Mobile World Live:

Telecom Italia and its partners flew remotely piloted aircrafts using 5G to measure mobile coverage in Turin in Italy, which the operator claimed will make the city the first in Europe with a drone-ready network.

The trial was coordinated with the support of the Turin Polytechnic University and enterprise drones solution provider Seikey.

Public safety, critical infrastructure monitoring and land protection are some examples TIM gave of drone applications that will benefit from a high quality connection to send data and videos in real time.

As can be seen in one of the pictures, the equipment used for measurements is PCTEL’s flagship IBflex® scanning receiver for sub-6 GHz bands that was announced at MWC Americas 2018. Here is a tweet from them with embedded video.

If for some reason you can't see the video, the direct link to YouTube video is here.