The BNTL-RAN550 O-RAN radio unit from Benetel connects to a distribution unit, bringing 5G to indoor facilities.
Whenever I shop at a certain grocery store, my cell phone tells me there’s no service. That’s because the store is on the lower level of an office building that’s built into a hill. Thus, the store is underground except for the front entrance. If not for the store’s Wi-Fi, I’d have no way to communicate with home should a crucial item be unavailable. At least I can send a text message over Wi-Fi. This store is just the place for the BNTL-RAN550 O-RAN radio unit from Benetel. That is, if I had a 5G phone.
The time will come when most of us will have 5G phones and we may use other 5G-connected equipment as well. Because indoor cellular use is so important but 5G signals may not penetrate buildings, the BNTL-RAN550 radio can help. It takes advantage of the open RAN concept by connecting to a distribution unit (DU) using what’s called the 7.2 functional split. This split puts the higher physical layer (PHY) functions in the DU, relieving the radio unit (RU) from doing all the work. The 7.2 functional split provides the flexibility to locate the DU at the optimal location.
Two 10 Gbps Ethernet ports provide connectivity to the DU. An RJ-45 socket lets you power the unit using Power-Over-Ethernet. You can also power the unit from a 12 V DC power supply.
Supporting the 5G band n78 (3.3 GHz to 3.8 GHz), the radio provides up to 24 dBm of transmit power to each of its four antennas. Each corner of the case holds one antenna said Benetel’s Olli Andersson in a video call with 5G Technology World. Thus, it supports 4T4R MIMO. The unit also provides 100 MHz of instantaneous bandwidth. It’s RF signal uses 256 QAM for downloads and 64 QAM for uploads. Future versions of the radio will support the n77u band (3.7 GHz to 4.2 GHz) and the n79 band (4.4 GHz to 5.0 GHz) with one frequency band per unit.
Benetel CEO Adrian O’Connor told 5G Technology World that the BNTL-RAN550 uses an Analog Devices RF transceiver with the baseband processing performed by an FPGA. Benetel’s engineers developed the FPGA functions in house.
The BNTL-RAN550 will be available in January 2021. The company announced the BNTL-RAN550 on December 8, 2020. That same day, Analog Devices and Marvell announced a 32T32R hardware reference design with Benetel. That design should be available on the latter half of 2021.
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