EXFO has added an enhanced common public radio interface (CPRI) protocol test functionality to its all-in-one Ethernet/optical FTB-700G series and FTB-800 NetBlazer series of portable field testers.
This latest feature gives field technicians the capability to install and maintain mobile fronthaul networks by testing connectivity and data integrity between the remote radio head (RRH) and baseband unit (BBU) in new fibre-fed cell towers.
The enhanced CPRI test functionality reduces the need for unnecessary tower climbs, hence reducing maintenance costs and overall operational costs, according to EXFO.
Legacy cell towers with copper cabling are being upgraded to fibre-optic infrastructures. These new fibre-fed architectures offer incredible flexibility and scalability, helping mobile network operators to guarantee service coverage and increase the capacity of their fronthaul radio access networks.
Alongside fibre, CPRI is playing a major role in the advancement of the tower. CPRI is a protocol that runs between the BBU and RRH which digitises incoming radio frequency signal over fibre. With CPRI, the base station no longer needs to be directly adjacent to the antenna on rooftops or any other costly, inefficient locations. Instead, the base station can be installed in locations where size, climate and availability of power are more easily managed.
The extended CPRI functionality is fully integrated into EXFO’s FTB-700G and FTB-800 NetBlazer series portable field testers, with user-friendly interfaces. This greatly facilitates the work of field technicians new to CPRI and fibre since the test instruments are designed and pre-configured to deliver comprehensive results with minimum training, the company claims.