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Articles & News

Articles & News

 

NATE UNITE 2018: IT'S A SMALL (CELL) WORLD AFTER ALL

By Kelly Hill on FEBRUARY 22, 2018

NASHVILLE, Tenn.–Network densification efforts mean new strategies — and new challenges — for infrastructure installation, from zoning to painting, according to Ryan Peters, who is the manager for Seattle-based Legacy Telecommunications’ distributed antenna system and small cell division.

Peters, speaking at the National Association of Tower Erectors conference this week, shared insights on some of the ways that small cell and outdoor DAS deployments differ from traditional macro deployments — and it isn’t just a matter of smaller equipment, he warned.

Small cell deployments are “very heavy on the project management side,” Peters said, because carriers don’t have all the processes figured out themselves — so they rely heavily on their contractors to work everything out once a siting permit is acquired. Installation may require multiple teams of people from multiple agencies or companies to be at a site on the same day, including traffic control, the local utility and a subcontractor’s own crew, he said — so having good relationships are important, even if it can be difficult.

It’s crucial to get everything right in an installation on the first try, Peters said, because it can cost upwards of $10,000 to get all the people and equipment back to a site if a test or photograph is overlooked. He urged contractors to become fiber experts, because the amount of fronthaul fiber being installed means that technicians are now being asked for more fiber skills and additional testing of miles of fiber, not just a few hundred feet on a tower.

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Amanda Duffy