I hope all of you in the USA had a great Independence day and all of you in Canada had a great Canada Day last week! Also, congrats to the FIFA Women’s World Cup soccer champs, USA! Also to Japan for 2nd, England for third, and Germany for 4th! All great games last weekend!
I thought I would start to cover the different kinds of mounting options you have. One of them is Strand mount. This is for an outdoor Metro setting where you would mount the small cell and possibly the antennas on a strand. It would be for an outdoor small cell installation. First off, let me tell you why you do this. to save on site acquisition costs! Want to know more, then stay with me!
A strand is the steel cable that you see running from pole to pole supporting other cables, like telephone and cable company cables that run from pole to pole. This is often where the cable companies will mount their equipment. Why you ask? No rent, no permitting, and no hassles. They can do this anywhere and if someone owns the pole, chances are the small cell owner won’t have to pay rent because it is not physically attached to the pole. It is in mid-air on the strand. Zoning allows for this as well because they overlook the strand since the equipment is not mounted to anything except a wire. Currently it is a big loophole, but that may change in the future.
Remember that you want the strand in the telecommunications space, stay out of the electrical space on a utility pole. This is very important for you to remember because you don’t want to be killed or start fired with your lifts! There is no reason to be in the electrical space. I know that some carriers want to mount at the top of these poles, but it is a real hassle to do work in the hot space. I would recommend having the electrical workers, the linemen, do that work because they need to coordinate an outage. They know what to do, who to call, and have the expertise to work in that area. Just let them have the work. After all, safety first. If a carrier thinks it will save them money, then let them coordinate work in the power space!
So when mounting to the strand you need to be sure you only connect to the strand and don’t pinch any other cables in the clamps. The strands also need to be able to support what you are attaching to it. Don’t forget that the clamps in the pole need to be able to support what you are mounting as well. For information on loading and cable types go here, here, here, here, and here.
When you install the equipment, make sure that you still do the grounding, it matters. Follow what the OEM has told you to do. Chances are you could be mounting not only the radio but the antennas on the strand.
Also, bucket trucks will be used! You will need a bucket truck, it seems like the best way to reach that height and be stable. Make sure you have the proper training for the lift that you are using and that you have the proper PPE to be up in the bucket. It matters and I will do a post on bucket truck safety. Finally, stay out of the power zone with the bucket, pay attention and be careful up there.
If you’re running the bucket on a busy street then you will need traffic control. Otherwise you risk a fine and it looks bad for your company. Remember that you want the drivers to be safe as well. In the past we would do a lot of this at night because most cities were lax on traffic control between 11:00PM and 5:00 AM local time. In the cities there are generally plenty of street lights so it really is a nice time to work. I did the work in the south, Alabama and Florida and it was so much cooler to work at night. Know the rules of the road about traffic control! If you are going to have your people work in a city or town, they need to know if they need to just put cones in front of and in back of the truck or if they need to have a flag person waving traffic around. Build time into the SOW and charge for what you need!
What about backhaul? Usually strand mounted units rely on DOCSIS, which is the cable interface. You should expect the power and backhaul all to come in from the cable company. The unit may need an interface that will take the incoming cable connection and breakout the power and backhaul into 2 separate connections. This is what you need to be ready to connect. This is something that would be of great interest to some cable companies. I know that Cox has been testing with some of the OEMs to make sure the interfaces work. One more thing, not all cable companies use the same power, so it matters what interface you will be using.
I am building my email list and listening to you! Want to know more, let me know.
Be smart, be safe, and pay attention!