A signal from out of the ground

Most mobile phone users want good network coverage so as to be able to access the Internet everywhere and at all times. Together with the Swiss mobile network operator Swisscom, Kathrein developed an innovative solution here.

Background

Swisscom, based in Ittigen near Bern, faces the same challenge as other network operators: in busy areas such as pedestrian precincts, mobile networks are being pushed more and more to the limits of their capacity. Constant upgrading is required so as to continue to provide customers with excellent data throughput rates. For this purpose, the macro cells are supplemented with micro cells. The latter are attached to lamp posts or buildings, for example. But there are two problems involved here: the availability of suitable locations and linking the cells to the so-called core network. For this reason, Swisscom conceived the model of a micro cell whose base station is installed in existing landline cable ducts. In order to implement this innovative idea, the mobile network operator chose network supplier Ericsson for the base station and Kathrein for the antenna solution.

Kathrein solution

The new antenna system Kathrein Street Connect is installed in the ground and makes intelligent use of the existing infrastructure. The base station of the micro cell is integrated in existing cable ducts while the antenna is let into the ground by means of core hole in close proximity. Here Kathrein had to solve the problem of designing the antenna and its holder in such a way that it is resistant to vibrations. The solution is designed for use in environments with a high density of buildings. It also has MIMO capability. MIMO stands for “Multiple Input Multiple Output” and refers to a method for using several transmission and reception antennas at the same time. The cover above Kathrein Street Connect is extremely robust so that the system can be installed in roads with heavy goods traffic too.

Results

“I’m proud to have set a further milestone in our history of innovation”, says Heinz Herren, CTO and CIO of Swisscom. “We are pleased to have gained the services of Kathrein - an experienced, competent and service-oriented partner whose sound expertise finally brought our idea to fruition.” In future, the new system Kathrein Street Connect will also be available to network operators in other countries.