Track 3: 5G Infrastructure Preparedness

Connecting Small Cells Using the Communications Power Grid

September 25, 2019 9:15 AM - 10:15 AM

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Mike Burkhalter



Small cell networks are vital for implementing 5G. Market forecasts for small cell networks are bullish, with the Small Cell Forum forecasting over 10M outdoor small cells by 2025. Projects are being built today, but deployment is still far from routine as network builders work through issues with spectrum, backhaul, and siting. And still another, under-the-radar problem is looming on the horizon — not all outdoor small cell sites have access to utility power. The obvious answer to get the utility to provide a connection to the grid. However, this can be a costly, time-consuming activity that can put budgets and timelines at risk. Fortunately, telecom wireline and CATV service providers both have networks that can solve this problem. We call these networks the Communications Power Grid (CPG). The telcos and MSOs have vast, far-reaching networks of copper cables distributed throughout their serving areas. Often, order to meet bandwidth requirements, these twisted pair and coaxial networks are being decommissioned. But these copper-based networks still have life as they can be repurposed for delivering power; hence, the CPG. The CPG is not only capable of delivering enough current to power the small cells, but also enables service providers to rapidly power and connect to large, distributed networks. This talk provides an overview of how the CPG energizes small cells. We describe the powering method for both twisted pair and coaxial networks. And we conclude with examples of networks already in service using each technique.