Kathrein has announced an innovative solution to meet the growing demand for mobile data traffic in buildings and across campus-wide environments. The German-based antenna and electronics manufacturer has developed a new Micro C-RAN system called K-BOW that will be launched at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in 2014.
Kathrein’s K-BOW system bridges the gap between established network architectures and those required to deliver future wireless service provision indoors and over mixed indoor/outdoor sites. K-BOW supports multi-operator, multi-band and multi-standard operation and uses the flexibility of a mobile communications capacity pool to dynamically meet changing demand for data. In this way, operators have the flexibility to adjust their in-building networks to meet customer requirements and react quickly to changes in user behaviour.

Remote adjustment to capacity demands
As changes to coverage and capacity can be done remotely and do not involve physical changes to the installation, Kathrein’s Micro C-RAN solution drastically reduces the cost and time for network operators. This contrasts to conventional static indoor cell architectures, which are very expensive to modify or upgrade.
K-BOW aggregates data traffic with a centralised RAN platform and transmits multiple combinations of signals to individual radio units (RUs). The solution is remotely-controlled over a network monitoring system so that capacity in any area within the building can be easily increased or decreased. This allows for the creation of self-organising networks (SONs) in buildings, while LTE MIMO can also be directly introduced to offer end user data rates equivalent to those outside of buildings.

Top signal quality at all times
“With mobile communications continuing to change dramatically, K-BOW is setting the standard for mobile data transmission in buildings by simultaneously overcoming multiple technological challenges,” stated Dr. Michael Weber, CTO at Kathrein. “We provide network operators with the flexibility they need to respond rapidly to their customers’ demands. We are opening up exciting new possibilities for indoor network optimisation, providing users with the best possible signal quality at all times.”

Energy expenses significantly decreased
K-BOW’s energy saving potential is particularly innovative. Signals from individual frequency bands can be switched on and off, based on demand from every small cell. Network operators can, for example, switch to a 1,800 MHz base signal at night, ensuring coverage provision within the building while saving electricity costs from the other amplifiers. This feature can reduce energy expenses of the entire system by up to 50 per cent.
“Most traditionally structured antenna systems have not been designed to save energy, despite this being a major cost factor in all companies,” explained Dr. Weber. “What’s more, users are placing totally new demands on the system’s flexibility, whether it is about response times to network changes, data rates or service level improvement.”

K-BOW offers an innovative, future-proof solution for in-building mobile communications challenges. The system will be introduced at the MWC in Barcelona and will then be made commercially available at the beginning of 2015.