Welcome to the Comm Zone
by Jay Maciejewski, Director of National Accounts
Pivotal developed the Pivot 5G™ network repeater to expand the coverage of high capacity, fiber-connected gNBs beyond their line-of-sight. Pivots do this by redirecting and extending gNB mmWave signals. Pivotal explained why Repeaters Are Not Small Cells in a previous blog. This blog explains why the best place to attach Pivots on a utility pole is in the lower communications (“comm”) zone instead of in the upper power supply zone. This way, Pivots can see where gNBs cannot.
In early 2022 four mmWave network repeaters from Pivotal Commware were deployed with two gNBs to supply fixed wireless access (FWA) coverage to the apartment building in Figure 1. Before the Pivot 5G repeaters B, C and D were installed, mmWave coverage was absent on all but the east side of the building, which will be eventually blocked by a high rise just north of gNB 2. This deployment highlights some important observations about gNBs and repeaters working together, particularly gNB 1 and Pivots C and D.
gNBs 1 and 2 reside atop new 55’ utility poles funded by the carrier. Their proximity to power lines required higher cost labor than that used to install the four Pivots in the lower comm zone at 18’ to 23’.
At 55’ high, gNB 1 coverage without Pivots C and D was limited to the top, westside floors of the building. On the other hand, gNB 1 was high enough to “see” the Pivots C and D, which, in turn, were low enough to provide coverage to the entire west and north sides of the buildings.
Given the reality of mmWave propagation, this repeater deployment shows how gNBs and repeaters can work together effectively to provide coverage at minimum cost. Carriers are beginning to understand that their partnership works best when repeaters are mounted in the lower comm zone of a utility pole.