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Hong Kong Debuts World’s Highest Capacity Cellular Subway DAS Network

Early in February 2015, RFE, a BAI Communications company, successfully completed the deployment for HKT – which operates leading mobile carrier CSL – of a pioneering Distributed Antenna System (DAS) on the West Island Line subway of Hong Kong’s MTR Corporation Ltd.

RFE and HKT worked closely together with the MTR to design, implement and test what is possibly the world’s first six band 2G, 3G & LTE (4G) subway DAS network adopting Multiple In Multiple Output (MIMO) LTE technology for all mobile users in Hong Kong. The network covers the new extension’s stations, tunnels, high speed elevators and public access areas, and uses multi-band optical amplifiers covering over 20 sub bands from 800-2600MHz that serve all mobile users in Hong Kong.

MIMO is a method for multiplying the capacity of mobile networks using multiple ‘transmit’ and ‘receive’ antennas in the wireless carriers’ base station equipment and in customers’ phones, which effectively doubles throughput.

This means that in the new extension customers can experience extremely fast data services of up to 300Mbps.

This new DAS network is substantially more complex than previously deployed networks, requiring the highest quality standards in engineering design, installation and interference control(intermodulation) management. It is built with the highest traffic capacity of 4 to 6 sectors per station covering all sub-bands from 800 to 2600 MHz.

RFE Managing Director, Paul Chan, said, “CSL built the world’s first 2G subway DAS in MTR in 1992. With generations of technology evolution in the last 2 decades, we are proud to have had the privilege to work with HKT again with the latest technology breakthrough to build a multi-band subway DAS with LTE MIMO. The MTR network has some of the busiest stations in the world, and our West Island Line system is capable of delivering the highest cellular data throughput of over 5 Gbps for each station and connecting tunnels. RFE’s engineers were committed to completing this high quality project on time and within budget. This is a real win for the HKT’s and MTR’s customers and for essential communication services.”

HKT Engineering Managing Director, Peter Lam said, “HKT is delighted to be the lead mobile carrier tackling and overcoming the technical challenge of rolling out the multi-band DAS system with LTE MIMO capability to deliver ultra-high data speed of 300Mbps to CSL customers in the MTR stations. By working closely with RFE as a strategic partner, HKT is fully committed to delivering a new paradigm of user experience in mobile broadband even under very high user density condition in MTR stations and connecting tunnels.”

The West Island Line (WIL) is an extension of the MTR’s existing Island Line consisting of three new underground stations: Sai Ying Pun, University and Kennedy Town, with approximately 3km of new dual-bore tunnels.

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