Huawei’s RuralStar self-contained cell-site solution expands cellular coverage to areas where it was previously uneconomical.
RuralStar economically extends cellular coverage even to very small communities with minimal site preparation or infrastructure requirements. It is the most innovative rural-connectivity solution on the market today, requiring the lowest power to operate and the lowest TCO through advanced engineering to simplify a secure installation.
Based on LTE self-backhaul rather than satellite or Microwave, RuralStar utilises existing infrastructure such as utility poles to provide full coverage. RuralStar introduces non-line-of-sight (NLOS) wireless backhaul technology, which can provide backhaul for up to 40km, and can operate in a wide variety of hitherto difficult geographical terrains, such as the Thai rainforest, Ghanaian prairie, and Myanmar’s mountain ranges.
Antenna alignment is automatic, further reducing civil work costs. The NLOS cellular relay requires no crane installation and the pole height can be as low as 12m rather than a typical 30-50m Tower used with microwave. Anti-theft fencing and anti-climbing barbed wire help to secure sites and prevent damage or theft.
The solution’s Low Power Draw BBU and RRU are the most efficient in the industry. New PA design and breath voltage requires the industry’s lowest power consumption, making solar power a viable option. The RuralStar Solar Panel efficiency is up to 18.3% and generates 300W. OPEX savings compared with diesel fuel costs and maintenance saves up to USD$12k per site annually. New technology enables Lithium battery and lead-acid battery to work together, extending battery lifespan from 2 years to 5 years and can be deployed underground to prevent theft. RuralStar can provide continuous stable long-term operation in temperatures ranging from -40°C to +50°C (including solar radiation), the temperature range which covers most of the global population.
RuralStar is not a reduced-feature solution for emerging markets. It supports 2G, 3G, 4G and can be upgraded via a software download to support Huawei’s CloudAir air interface cloudification solution for no drop-off of features or performance compared to urban service. Traditional voice and texting, VoLTE, VoIP, NBIoT and other OTT services are all supported.
By the end of 2017, the solution was installed at over 2000 sites in nearly a dozen countries in Southeast Asia, Africa and Latin America, including installations in Algeria, Congo, Cote d’Ivorie, Ghana, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Mexico, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Sudan. Customers using RuralStar for remote and rural connectivity can connect approximately 160 million people, adding coverage to 20% of the current unconnected population coverage.
Each RuralStar is capable of covering up to 3,000 people per site, so by the end of 2017 Huawei’s RuralStar installations are capable of covering over 6.7 million people and with the expected build-outs providing coverage for 160 million people.
RuralStar supports capacity expansion by software upgrade and the additional RF modules. RuralStar supports low cost coverage extension using 3 cascading hops by wireless, and as RuralStar site capacity increases it can also support LEO satellite connectivity for higher backhaul capacity.
The lower power consumption BBU and RRU makes pure solar power viable in the long-term as well as over the short-term. Compared with traditional diesel-powered sites, RuralStar not only eliminates fuel costs, but also reduces CO2 emissions by 1.68 ton/site/year to deliver zero carbon emissions and provide a healthier environment.
To reduce environmental impact, the RuralStar radio module uses potassium nitride materials and a unique high intergradation design, which enables low power consumption and high reliability. The majority of RuralStar components have a mean time between failures (MTBF) of more than 45 years, which allows maintenance-free operation for the life of the system and guarantees RuralStar’s long-term operation with no service outages.
RuralStar is decoupled from core network products, and is compatible with other vendors’ core network equipment.