BCL (Broadcast Communications Limited) is an experienced wireless solutions partner in the New Zealand communications industry supplying broadcast and telecommunications services for over 60 years. Today, its broadcast service covers nearly all New Zealanders. BCL's Extend wireless broadband network provides broadband services to rural and provincial users, meeting the challenges posed by New Zealand's widespread population and mountainous terrain.
BCL worked with Airspan Networks to provide the broadband access technology. Airspan are a leading provider of wireless DSL systems worldwide, with licenses in frequency bands between 900 MHz to 4 GHz and they have deployments with 90 operators in over 45 countries. Their technology is based on a patented DS-CDMA design that has been optimised for use in fixed wireless access environments, delivering a robust and reliable radio service. The system used in New Zealand was the Airspan AS4020 wireless DSL system.
In turn, Airspan selected Cobham Antenna Systems (then European Antennas) to develop and supply 60 degree, 90 degree and 120 degree sector antennas for the BCL system. Airspan were confident that Cobham would develop exactly the antenna they wanted, approved to ETSI specifications, to meet the deployment deadlines specified by BCL.
The base station antennas designed by Cobham were a key component within the Airspan Networks' system ensuring that frequency re-use is optimized throughout the network.
Meeting radiation pattern requirements within the 2.0 to 2.3 GHz frequency band, all designs are based around phased-array printed circuit technology for slim, neat antennas that are rugged and reliable, and ideal for environmentally sensitive areas.
Matt Bostwick, Communications Manager of BCL New Zealand advises: "A key issue BCL faced was building a network in some of the most inhospitable locations imaginable to meet the unique challenges posed by New Zealand's rugged landscape and dispersed population. That means that every aspect of our network had to meet the highest standards of reliability - including the antennas."
The slim panel 60 degree sector antenna has 17 dBi gain, vertical polarization, and weighs 2.4kg (5lbs). The 90 degree sector has 15 dBi gain, whilst the 120 degree sector has 14dBi gain. Elevation beamwidths of approximately 7 degrees, when combined with electrical down-tilt, mechanical elevation adjustment and null-fill, provide from short to long range coverage. They can be mounted on masts or poles to provide a versatile solution to all manner of communication systems.
The base station antennas shown in the photographs are part of BCL's Extend network in New Zealand.