Special-Housing from ROSE enables a new approach to expanding the capacity of cellular networks

In September 2015 ROSE Systemtechnik was entrusted with a very special project: The topic of “Smart City” is finding its way into Porta Westfalica. In close cooperation between the design department at ROSE and the communication technology specialist Kathrein, a product was developed that fully meets current and future requirements in terms of protection class, impact resistance, technical conditions of use and resistance to environmental influences.

Kathrein Werke KG is a leading international specialist for reliable, high-quality communication technology. The company is the innovation and technology leader in today’s networked world. Thanks to Kathrein’s solution and system competence, people can communicate worldwide, inform themselves and use media – whether at home, in the office or on the road. The company covers a broad spectrum: from mobile radio solutions for outdoor and indoor areas to satellite reception, broadband, and broadcasting technology to transmission and reception systems in vehicles.

Kathrein Street Connect – capacity expansion in cellular networks with optimal use of existing infrastructure

In cooperation with the Swiss mobile operator Swisscom, Kathrein developed an antenna that can be integrated into the ground. Kathrein Street Connect is a system that can expand the capacity of a cellular network at hotspots with high data traffic.

Kathrein Street Connect is embedded in the ground in the immediate vicinity of a base station through a core drill hole and is therefore not visible. This brings the antenna closer to the existing infrastructure than fiber- or broadband-cables. With this solution, highly frequented locations such as pedestrian zones or stadiums in the cellular network are supplied by powerful microcells in order to offer customers high data rates.
The cover over the antenna is extremely stable, so that the system can also be installed in roads with heavy traffic up to 40 tons.

The housing of the antenna must offer protection class IP 68, as the core drill hole can be completely filled with water. At the same time, the housing comes into contact with road salt, vehicle oils or brake dust, for example. The standards of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute, ETSI EN 300 019-1-5 and ETSI EN 300 019-1-8, come into play here.

ROSE Systemtechnik faces every challenge

When Kathrein approached ROSE with a request for a compatible housing, the design department was faced with a major challenge and at the same time an exciting, innovative project. Since the antenna construction of the Kathrein company was already completely fixed, ROSE Systemtechnik had to plan the housing around it extensively.

The protection class was implemented structurally through the use of a special tongue and groove sealing system. To ensure the electrical performance of the broadband antenna system, a material was chosen that has a constant and firmly defined dielectric constant: The basis for this contemporary product is a fiberglass-reinforced polyester material; to supply the desired signal.

As a further challenge, the project was subject to a certain time pressure: Kathrein wanted the first 40 prototypes of the housing within four weeks of the first discussion of the drawing.

Using a vacuum prototype process, the first units were manufactured from a material that not only had the contour but also the mechanical and electrical properties of the end material – after all, these housings should already be able to undergo rigorous suitability tests.

These tests quickly provided information about further requirements. The product was perfected with just one correction loop. Protection class and impact resistance tests were then carried out according to customer requirements.

“The internal tests of the Kathrein company and the final design adaptation were quickly completed, so that the press tool for production could already be ordered in February 2016,” reports Heiko Felsmann, sales director at ROSE Systemtechnik. “The initial sampling then went through the strict quality management at ROSE Systemtechnik and was finally checked to the bone in the in-house laboratory”, Felsmann continues.

After the final approval of the initial sample and the corresponding test report, the product successfully went into series production.

Conclusion: After careful coordination with Kathrein – and a few drawing and test runs – ROSE has succeeded in developing a suitable housing. The development of special solutions together with innovative customers is one of the company’s core competencies. “Particularly demanding projects are in good hands with us,” concluded Felsmann.