In response to the changing landscape of demand necessitated by the 5G rollout, companies throughout the telecommunications sector are being forced to innovate or disappear. Some companies, however, are turning the whole process on its head, and creating significant, positive results for both themselves and their partners in the process.
Vecta is a specialist assembly and testing service provider for telecommunications equipment owners and operators. As a key partner of one of Australia’s leading telecom operators, TPG Telecom, Vecta has torn up the rulebook for cell site assembly, testing, and installation, delivering an innovative, proprietary new method that is set to change the process of network rollouts forever.
“Through the Sector Assembly concept, we are driving innovation in the construction of 5G networks,” says John Bonello, Executive Director of Vecta. “Radio systems can now be assembled and tested in a factory and, for the first time in the industry’s history, system level testing is being carried out in a precision laboratory.” The results, Bonello explains, are profound. “We’re delivering radio sites that work first time after installation, backed by reduced cost, improved network performance, reliability, health and safety and environmental impact.”
In the past, the component elements of a cell site would be manufactured, shipped separately to the site, and then painstakingly assembled and activated by riggers working at high altitudes, clinging to massive structures in high winds and poor weather conditions. “You've got more people on site for a lot longer, working in more dangerous situations,” says Bonello. “What Vecta is doing is building and testing everything in a controlled factory environment and transporting the finished unit to site. One crane lift and it's up the tower, ready to go. It all works first time.” As a result, tower installation and site off-air time has been reduced by up to 70% when the Sector Assembly technique was compared to traditional installation methods.
Prefabrication of cell site equipment also allows for more effective testing in controlled factory settings - especially with regard to detecting and eliminating passive intermodulation. “Passive intermodulation is a problem for many telecom networks. It's an effect that basically creates self-interference, which reduces network capacity and quality of service. It's something that you don't want in your mobile network,” Bonello explains. By testing the cell site equipment in controlled conditions using Vecta’s fully shielded anechoic chamber, “We're currently the only business worldwide that's able to offer passive intermodulation, or PIM, testing for cellular products to the ISO 17025 accredited laboratory standard.”
Vecta was chosen by TPG Telecom to develop and deploy its Sector Assembly method in order to support and speed TPG’s rollout of a standalone, future-proofed 5G network, contributing to the successful delivery of 5G to 85% of Australia’s largest metros ahead of schedule.
“Vecta is adding significant value to TPG Telecom as they fast track the 5G rollout using this innovative process,” Bonello says. “In modern networks, mobile operators face performance, value, safety and environmental challenges that must be overcome. In partnership with TPG Telecom, the sector assembly method was developed to help remove these obstacles, resulting in an incredibly strong solution that meets the TPG Telecom KPIs for their 5G rollout.”
He added that “Working in close collaboration with Yago’s team has resulted in a highly successful product with a level of factory assembly, testing and inspection never seen before in a network deployment.”