Fierce Wireless – Verizon installs 5G in Denver in special ‘smart poles’

Fierce Wireless – Verizon installs 5G in Denver in special ‘smart poles’

The Boulder, Colorado-based company Comptek Technologies has designed stand-alone poles to house wireless small cell equipment that is completely hidden within the poles. The City of Denver has approved the design of these Comptek City Poles, and Verizon is now deploying them in Denver for 4G and 5G small cell equipment.

AGL – Collaboration Speeds Denver Small Cell Deployment

AGL Media: Collaboration Speeds Denver Small Cell Deployment

Comptek Technologies is providing Xcel Energy with the first in a series of dual-purpose street light and small cell poles that the company calls CityPoles. The company has engineered the poles to accept 4G and 5G small cell technology. So far, installers have placed 300 small cells in Denver. The CityPole forms the centerpiece of a collaboration among the utility, wireless carriers and the municipal government.

The Denver deployment represents an interesting interplay among policymakers, the city, the telecom industry and the infrastructure providers, according to Mike Hoganson, COO of Comptek Technologies. “The utilities don’t necessarily see themselves as active participants in the telecom environment,” he told AGL eDigest. “What happened in Denver is they got very active.”

Two years ago, Comptek began helping the unified city and county of Denver government put together its small cell standards, because government representatives were concerned that there would be an influx of standalone poles used for small cells that would add to the existing vertical infrastructure such as streetlights.

The concern inspired some communication and work between the infrastructure providers and Excel Energy as the largest street light owner in Denver, Hoganson said. “What resulted was a standard utility pole that is uniquely configured to accept any one’s small cell equipment,” he said.

The city’s specialists developed one standard that deals with aesthetics, and the utility created a technical standard that specifies the thickness of the walls of the poles.

“The City and County of Denver recognized that deploying on Excel infrastructure was the easiest way to minimize the number of new poles in the right of way,” Hoganson said. “It takes a village. We were able to work effectively with the City/County and the utility and then, ultimately, with the wireless carriers.”

The Xcel series of CityPole smart poles carries a single meter with separate RF and power bays and disconnect switches. Six hand holes provide access for cable management, and low-profile D-rings provide a mounting option to attach a remote radio unit or city banner flag.

The poles feature multiple lighting possibilities and support more than 1,000 pounds with an effective projected area of 40 square feet. It is designed for multitenant equipment and future IoT technologies.

“It is uniquely configured to accept anyone’s small cell equipment,” Hoganson said. “These poles are technology hotels; Excel Energy is the hotel owner; and we build the hotels so they can have any type of technology on board – more than 150 different combinations.”

Excel has developed a strategy that focuses on rapid deployment. The carriers themselves work directly with Excel on getting their sites permits and deploying them. As a result, Hoganson said, Excel expects to deploy more concealed poles in this market than all the carriers combined by the end of the year. – Sharpe Smith, Senior Editor

5G Benefits and Value to Utilities

5G Benefits and Value to Utilities

5G is the next big step in wireless communications. The technology will bring a number of new capabilities – higher bandwidth, lower latency, lower power requirements and a number of technical innovations (network slicing, beamforming and edge computing) that will allow for a number of new products and services to be implemented.
By using higher frequency bands, commonly referred to as millimeter wave frequencies, 5G will push mobile speeds to upward of 10 Gbps, an increase that will make next-generation wireless competitive with fiber-optic wired networks.
With all that new capacity, networks will easily be able to support of billions of connected sensors and smart devices – the Internet of Things (IoT).

5G will be crucial for connected and autonomous vehicles, micro / smart energy grids, connected infrastructure and smart-city services. There are many examples of how smart-city services will improve utility services, benefit society and enhance public safety – reduce traffic congestion, provide instant crime reporting, smart streetlights that dim when not needed, and sensors that monitor air quality, parking space availability and garbage collection. Rural America will also benefit with sensors for smart agriculture, telemedicine and beyond. It is impossible to predict all the services that will evolve as a result of 5G.
The biggest challenge for 5G will be in the massive deployment that will be needed in a timely and cost-effective fashion. 5G networks will be made up of 100’s of thousands of small cells integrated into new and existing structures (towers, poles, buildings, street furniture, etc.). The magnitude of the problem is larger than ever before, but the issues are the same – needed is a physical location to attach the 5G small cell, fiber-optics to provide connectivity back into the core network and electrical power.
Many of these 5G small cells will be in locations or potentially on assets controlled or owned by the utilities, providing a potential source of income. Existing wireless operators will need the help of the utilities to expedite this deployment. For utilities that have access to fiber-optics they will have the ability to be a one-stop shop for wireless operators.
Public Safety is engaged in the deployment of 4G services, that will evolve to 5G. The FirstNet / AT&T organization that is supporting that deployment will have the same issues and needs as more traditional wireless operators.
Internal communications requirements of the utilities may also be addressed in these deployments. As smart grids require more two-way bandwidth and sensors become more pervasive some of these applications may be best suited to run over commercial versus dedicated utility networks. New frequency bands are becoming available that will enable utilities to support their mission critical communications needs.

The net of this is that 5G provides a significant business opportunity for utilities as a revenue source, new service offering and improved internal operational efficiencies. The time is now to build 5G’s impact into your business.

Modular Design Future-proofs Multiple-use Small Cell Poles

Modular Design Future-proofs Multiple-use Small Cell Poles

Small cell infrastructure needs to fit in with the communities where it is placed, according to Mike Constance, director of operations for Comptek Technologies. Speaking at the Connectivity Expo conducted by the Wireless Infrastructure Association on May 22, in a session about the next generation of smart poles that are more than small cells, Constance said there is no one-size-fits-all solution. “You don’t want to be adapting every two, three or four years,” he said. “It is an expensive proposition to put in infrastructure.”

Telecommunications towers do a great job supporting wireless communications in particular ways, Constance said, but in urban areas, the use of small cells represents a huge opportunity. Capitalizing on that opportunity requires addressing the needs of stakeholders that Constance identified as the wireless companies, the municipalities and the power utilities.

“Many people influence what infrastructure fits in, and you also need to support different life cycles,” Constance said. “We want the pole to last as long as possible. Ten years would be great. Thirty would be even better. Construction costs become an immediate challenge. Radios have a shorter life cycle. Some of our poles that have been in the field for less than two years are on their third cycle of radios… [Read more]