December 7, 2021

The truth about tower loading

One of the most difficult challenges facing the telecoms industry is how to add the capacity that is being demanded by consumer and enterprise alike, without significantly expanding infrastructure. Cell towers across the globe are full to physical capacity but not able to deliver with the network capacity needed. It is a conundrum that is an ever-growing concern for operators but is there a way that they can make the demand for coverage and tower loading limitations add up? Asad Zoberi, Director of Sales at RFS explains how new technologies can make this possible.

Asad Zoberi, Director of Sales

A towering problem 

It’s no secret that the problem of tower loading is a huge weight on the shoulders of operators. They have a constant need to expand the coverage and capacity they can offer to their customers and yet the limitations of the amount of equipment that each tower can house make this increasingly difficult. It becomes especially challenging when put into investment terms. Let’s say a tower is absolutely, 100% full, what can be done? It is possible to reinforce or rebuild a tower however this is often cost prohibitive. Alternatively, acquire an additional site, but this is easier said than done. Logistically it is challenging and that is before taking into consideration that the cost of a new site will come with at least a five if not six figure cost attached. These costs have the potential to not only slow roll outs but halt upgrades all together at certain sites as the CAPEX and OPEX costs are unjustifiable. 

Making infrastructure investments and capacity add up 

So, the question has to be, is there a work around that allows capacity to be extended as 5G rollouts continue, without tower challenges and the related cost implications hampering progress? 

In short, the answer to that question is yes. Dual-band microwave systems offer a real-world ready solution to the tower loading/capacity equation. They incorporate the latest antenna technologies that combine multiple bands in a single antenna to offer ultra-high capacity backhaul to help operators address the capacity problems they face. Not only does it work to increase capacity, it also reduces loading on a tower by replacing two antennas that would previously have served a single band each and combines them to a single solution. The immediate benefit from a tower loading perspective is less equipment is needed, but also operators benefit from the fact that due to its nature of combining two bands, they have an increasingly robust microwave solution. 

A real-world solution 

And it is not just a theoretical answer but one we are seeing in the field as more of our operator customers embrace a new approach to backhaul that solves capacity and tower challenges. One of our tier one customers recently estimated that by taking a dual band approach they would save hundreds of thousands of dollars in tower rebuild or expansion costs when compared with other approaches to addressing the capacity challenges. Not only this, but the lower cost has prevented rollouts from being slowed due to cost issues. 

At RFS we place a big emphasis on helping our customers realize the vision of connectivity everywhere and we’ve been delighted to see how the dual band solutions are having a material impact in achieving this – even in the most hostile climates. Capacity demand is only heading in one direction and innovations that condense equipment and help to combat site footprint challenges will be a vital part of meeting that demand as quickly and efficiently as possible. 

If you would like to hear more about how our customers are using the dual-band solution to address tower challenges and capacity demand, get in touch with Asad Zoberi, Director of Sales.