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Tower Mounted RF Electronics for Wireless Infrastructure Estimated to Exceed $4.5B by 2017

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August 06, 2012

Tower Mounted RF Electronics for Wireless Infrastructure Estimated to Exceed $4.5B by 2017

By Ashok Bindra
TMCnet Contributor


To cope with the challenges of growing mobile traffic, operators are adding more RF electronics to towers, as well as expanding the base stations network. Consequently, the RF electronics of a typical base station design are subject to great innovation namely in the form of tower mounted amplifiers (TMA), remote radio heads (RRH) and active antennas.

In fact, according to ABI Research (News - Alert), tower mounted amplifiers represent one of the best values for improved base station performance for service providers.

Using TMAs, the system link budget equation can therefore be easily accomplished at nominal cost, according to the ABI study.

However, RRH heads will pose a threat to TMA market growth, according to ABI. In fact, based on this research, RRHs have become one of the most important subsystems of today's new distributed base stations. Furthermore, the study indicates that RRH contains the base station's RF circuitry plus analog-to-digital/digital-to-analog converters and up/down converters.

Concurrently, for beam forming and shaping in a crowded environment, active antennas are being deployed for wireless infrastructure base station applications. The active antennas include RRH functionality. Since RRH is now part of active antenna, its growth could affect the RRH as a standalone market, as per the ABI study.

“Tower top active RF electronics will become more important as LTE (News - Alert) roles out over the next few years,” said Lance Wilson, research director for mobile networks at ABI Research. “This will be especially true for remote radio heads and active antennas.”

All three of the above major RF electronics sub-systems have therefore become intertwined as functions start to converge. This study details TMA, RRH revenue and shipments by air interface, frequency, technology, output power and configuration.

The ABI study details projections for the market of active antennas, which are just emerging, for five years, from 2012-2017. It also investigates the impact of active antennas on RRH sales from 2012 to 2017.

These findings are part of ABI Research’s Tower Top RF Electronics Research Service, which includes additional competitive analyses, vendor matrices, market data and insights.

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Edited by Braden Becker

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