Pivotal Turnkey = mmWave Solved
In 2016 there were 35 million households living in multiple dwelling units (MDUs) with that number set to expand in the coming years and mobile network operators have jumped on the opportunity to provide high-speed Fixed-Wireless Access (FWA) to these units. Pivotal Turnkey is an end-to-end solution for planning and deploying FWA on existing mobile mmWave networks. Operators rely on Pivotal Turnkey to expand and direct mmWave coverage from typically underutilized gNBs to nearby, qualified MDUs and single family homes.
In our Turnkey deployments we've faced a number of obstacles, but our mmWave ecosystem is uniquely designed to work around them by being adaptable. Below are some challenges we've faced in bringing high-speed 5G to buildings across the US. To learn more about Turnkey, visit Pivotalcommware.com/Turnkey.
Currently 50% of the commercial window sales and 80% of the residential window sales are low emissivity (low-E) glass. That presents a serious challenge for mmWave signals to penetrate indoors, especially since losses can vary widely based on glass thickness and type. One location showed a 24 dB loss difference between two windows that appeared to have the same type of low-E glass. The difference in thickness between the two windows was just 1/16" and it was the thinner window showing the worse loss at 41 dB.
Installers can't simply select a standard loss for Low-E — they have to measure, and that's where Turnkey installers shine. Pivotal has done extensive testing on Low-E glass and completed multiple deployments where Low-E posed a serious obstacle to FWA coverage. Low-E glass isn't the only point of entry and the beam from a Pivot 5G repeater can be pointed elsewhere. Low-E glass often coexists with clear glass, and even stucco and siding, which can have a loss under 10 dB, can be the path to bringing FWA indoors.
You can read some of our previous work with Low-E glass here.
gNBs and other small cells are large and permitting can take over a year, even if no additional fiber needs to be installed to connect to the gNB. Part of this problem is because the gNB's size and weight often requires the construction of a new pole or the replacement of an existing one.
Pivots don't require fiber and the installation process can be as little as three months, including siting and permitting, with the installation done in 90 minutes. Because each Pivot unit is a fraction of the size and weight of a gNB they can use a variety of existing pole types from traditional telephone poles to streetlights.
Our mounting equipment and our installation teams are versatile and aren't just limited to poles either. Our Use Cases page showcases some nontraditional Pivot installations.
gNBs are large and obvious out in the wild. In addition to the permitting issues of a larger device, many municipalities are averse to installing more gNBs because of the eyesore they create. Pivots have a much smaller footprint — both the donor and service unit of both generations come in at smaller than 25% of a cubic foot and weigh between 8 and 25 lbs depending on the installation type.
Not only do Pivots have a much smaller footprint, they can also be painted to match the color of the pole or the surrounding architecture. This has been a common request of municipalities who want any new installations to match either the color of the pole or the surrounding buildings.
To the left is a Pivot installed on a pole in front of an MDU. Even at close range the Pivot is barely visible.