In-building coverage is a concern for all providers, and, historically, the solutions have been repeaters, small cells, and fully deployed DAS systems. Each has its own benefits, but each has its challenges as well. SpiderCloud has emerged a strong solution for the multi-floor, and even multi-building, deployment utilizing Ethernet (CAT), as opposed to coaxial cables. For example, the installation may leverage the existing LAN in the building.
Vertex Innovations’ DAS Project Manager Eric Neumann oversees SpiderCloud deployment for Vertex’s wireless carrier partners. In this article, he provides a detailed explanation of how the technology works and exclusive advice for its installation.
Deployment: The Nuts and Bolts of SpiderCloud
The service node may be located in your head end or other area, and it is connected by CAT 5e or 6. Note: You may have more than one service node due to size of deployment, campus setting, etc. SpiderCloud service nodes come in two different options: 50 and 100-radio node attachments. The service node can also be connected by fiber for longer runs to the individual power over Ethernet (POE) switches throughout the building. From your service node, your design may require the use of an aggregate switch to connect all of the POE switches. The switches, as well as the service node, are powered by a 110 AC outlet. The switches can be located in a telecom closet or even above a drop ceiling, as long as they have access to a 110 outlet. Each radio node is connected to the POE switch with a home run of CAT 5e or 6.
In some of our installations, we have designated the cabling to a subcontractor for a quicker installation and lower cost, then the integrator terminates the connections and installs the nodes.
Key learnings from past implementations:
Radio Nodes: SpiderCloud radio nodes are very forgiving when it comes to placement and mounting; similar to omni-directional antennas. In addition, each node is treated as an individual sector.
One caveat to keep in mind: The RF propagation must be able to penetrate floors and be seen by another radio node on the floor below for ceiling mounting, or the floor above and below for a wall mount. iBwave has recently been predicting this much better than in its first deployments.
A bit of advice: Terminate your CAT into a biscuit, and use a jumper with factory ends to connect to the radio node. Why? It offers a clean termination, allows for quick replacement of a damaged jumper, and provides flexibility if you need to relocate the radio node a few feet or several feet.
What is SpiderCloud’s Customer Information Questionnaire (CIQ)? – The CIQ is currently an excel spreadsheet with several tabs used by SpiderCloud to create files for integration. When you first open it, it may seem daunting. However, once you understand it, it is really fairly easy. It has been color-coded to help with key functionality and provides insight into each areas regarding input tasks and responsibilities. From our experience: This has aided in the RF team’s willingness to complete the document.
Word of Wisdom: Begin with the information that you have available on the first tab. The second tab is Radio Node Parameters – Here, have your integrator populate the columns for each of the radio nodes once they receive the equipment.
In the CIQ, each radio node has two entry lines: One for 700 and another for AWS. The nodes will be numbered, create the E911 dispatch location (up to 20 characters including floor number, area indicator, room number, etc.), and input the MAC address for each radio node. The RF team then inputs the cell name (eNodeB ID + the Cell ID for the radio node). Each radio node has two Cell IDs. 700 is in the series 1-100 and AWS is 101-200
^ Example of SpiderCloud CIQ
Planning Ahead: Proactiveness Pays Off
Each service node requires its own IP address and its own CIQ. Plan on having these requested as soon as you get the CIQ(s) going. Your service provider will also have a protocol for gaining access to their secure network and authentication to get through their firewall(s). Make sure you allow a few weeks for your service provider to process the firewall requests due to their internal processes and potential black-out dates.
E911/TVW is at first glance seems like a challenging one for the RF team. They will need to submit one request for each of the radio nodes, unlike an eNodeB where it is only one request. However, the time invested here is more than recovered at system provisioning.
Real-life example: In a recent business campus deployment of 205 nodes, three TVW requests (one for each service node – 100, 100, 50) were made with two line items for each of the nodes, totaling 410 on the CIQ. By doing this, the E911 now provides a very granular description for emergency services.
System Integration Steps
Now that CIQ is complete and the system is installed, integration can begin.
- SpiderCloud creates a “Site Package” with data extracted from the CIQ. It is used in their LCI portal (Local Configuration Interface) to commission the system.
- You’ll need to load three documents (LCI Site Profile, LCI Certificates, and LCI Bulk Provisioning) which takes about 10 minutes.
- Once that is complete, you go to your SpiderNet server on your network and start your provisioning.
System Provisioning Steps
SpiderCloud is a SON (Self Optimizing Network), and yes, it really does all the work for you.
- First, the system listens for any RF signal from the external macro and starts to build its neighborhood.
- Each radio node emits a test tone, and the rest of the radio nodes connected to that service node listen and begin building their local “neighborhood.” Each radio node takes about 3-5 minutes to complete its test.
- The service node compiles the data on visibility, distance, and path loss; it then establishes initial output levels and builds hand-off tables.
Once this is complete, your system is ready to be loaded with live RF and to perform TVW testing. The SpiderCloud will adjust the radio node’s output to compensate for the situations identified in Step 3 of Provisioning. The SON eliminates the need for the countless hours of initial DAS optimization as well as future tweaking. This is the key area where the time savings is truly appreciated.
In addition to overseeing the deployment of SpiderCloud, Neumann manages the following for our wireless carrier partners:
- Design sourcing
- Architecture engineering
- Coordination with fiber provider for backhaul
- Site walks
- Building the SOW
- Ordering equipment
- Integrator bidding
- Working with real estate and regulatory
- Construction management
- Execution of the CIQ by all parties
- Carrier operations and system performance once on-air
If you would like some assistance with the tasks detailed above or would like to learn about other project management services provided by Vertex, contact us today.