Cell-Site Physical Security Should Not Be a Black Box

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By Jake Saunders | 2Q 2019 | IN-5461


Cell-Site Security: Often Poorly Coordinated with No Accountability


Mobile telcos have several financial, operational, and logistical challenges managing the various operational components of their networks. One of the most operational challenging areas of the network are the thousands, or even hundreds of thousands, of cell sites that maintain the last mile connections to end users. As of the end of 2018, there are approximately 7.2 million installed macro cell sites worldwide, spread across approximately 700 mobile operators. By the end of 2023, that number is expected to grow to 9 million.

A typical cell-site has a variety of valuable and complex hardware and software elements:

  • Baseband Unit: Processes the baseband signal channels
  • Transceiver: The unit which incorporates the Radio Frequency (RF) transmitter and receiver
  • Power Amplifier: Amplifies the transceiver signal for transmission through the antenna
  • Combiner: Combines multiple RF signals from multiple transceivers
  • Duplexer: Isolates “transmit” and “receive” paths so that they can sh…

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