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New mobile transmission technologies are emerging while antennas and base stations are shrinking. This is increasing the requirements that connectors must meet. We are responding to them with an ingenious idea: a cluster that integrates the whole range of connection types, from coaxial across DC to AISG and fiber optics.
Our approach masters key challenges: the SPINNER Cluster Connector can grow to meet your need for new technologies, while at the same time ports can be packed closer together. We are so confident of these benefits that in October 2018 we submitted the SPINNER Cluster Connector to NGMN for recommendation as a future industry standard.
Self-driving vehicles, the Internet of Things, virtual reality: all of these technologies are now taking off. This is naturally increasing the pressure on mobile communication networks to support them. A wide spectrum of transmission and connection technologies have already appeared, and they in turn will inevitably spawn a steady stream of new versions and adaptations. This trend is mirrored in mobile communication equipment: typically a whole gamut of different connections already emerge from base stations or feed into mobile antennas: coax, DC, AISG, fiber optics ... the list goes on and on.
To make it easier to manage this diversity, SPINNER has developed a concept that bundles connectors in an array. The SPINNER Cluster Connector works like a container that merges multiple technologies, accepting multiple kinds of connectors to funnel them to an antenna or other equipment. The current plans for the SPINNER Cluster Connector call for it to initially support 2.2-5, 1.5-3.5, NEX10 as RF interfaces, DC, AISG and fiber optics.
These prototypes have 9, 11 and 13 ports: two of them for fiber optic connections and the other for 2.2-5 coaxial interfaces.
Looking ahead, the SPINNER Cluster Connector will be able to accommodate virtually any number of different interfaces. They only need to be the right size and meet certain mechanical requirements. This means that manufacturers of antennas and base stations, as well as network operators, will be able to flexibly decide how many connections and which technologies are needed. The most charming thing about the cluster is that it can embrace widely varying technologies.
Just like conventional connectors come in male and female versions, both male and female clusters are possible. A female cluster is permanently installed on the equipment by the manufacturer and accepts female connectors.
The cluster also supports advancing miniaturization. Conventional connectors need a certain amount of free space around them to let installers easily use their tools. The SPINNER Cluster Connector permits the individual connections to be placed much closer together, because it is preassembled and then installed as a unit.
Compared to conventional 4.3-10 connectors (left), the SPINNER Cluster Connector (right) reduces the required space by 75%.
The male connectors slide into the cluster and lock into place. The male jumper cluster is connected to a corresponding device cluster. For installers, this results in a straightforward procedure: connect the clusters and lock. Finished!
A Cluster Connector with nine connections, for example, can be very quickly connected. In the traditional approach, the installer has to individually mount nine different jumpers. Using a cluster instead slashes the total installation time by up to 90% compared to connecting and screwing down the connectors one at a time. This enormously reduces the associated costs.
After plugging in the male cluster, it is locked onto the housing by a toggle latch on each side. This protects the connectors inside it from moisture and dirt. This assembly step is also quick and easy to perform.
For assembly to work without problem, the male connectors are mounted on floating bearings that can also be rotated. This lets them shift to accommodate any dimensional variations between the male and female clusters. The jumpers can also be easily realigned to connect right-angle connectors, for example.
The cluster housing is asymmetrical, letting it be intuitively plugged in with no risk of error.
Here at SPINNER we’re so convinced of all of these benefits that we submitted the SPINNER Cluster Connector to NGMN in October 2018. It is now being evaluated there, and by early 2019 a design will be finalized that works for all equipment manufacturers and users. Our approach is currently supported by Amphenol, Kathrein and Telegärtner. We expect NGMN to arrive at a decision before the end of this year.
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