Telecom Vocabulary: Typical Mix-ups

Telecommunications can hardly be considered a topic for everyday discussions. Rarely do you get the chance to say “how’s your AC inverter and PSU doing?” Or: “the GSM network is cloudy with 3GPP today, isn’t it?” This is largely due to the fact that the vocabulary used is highly specialized. Listening to two telecom engineers chatting, you might even come to believe that they are speaking a completely different, elusive and encrypted language - one full of acronyms and odd terms.  It takes some time to get used to this robotic idiom and possibly even more time to master it. Mistakes are to be expected during that process. In an attempt to discuss telecommunications matters, we often mix-up terms, sometimes unknowingly.  This article highlights some of the most frequent mix-ups that arise when talking about telecommunications. Its ambition is to give you cues that will help you navigate through the maze of telecom vocabulary.  Cell tower and cell site  Let’s start with an easy one....
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Are lithium-ion batteries safe? and other legitimate concerns demystified. Interview with Autonom’s CEO

Colin: In October 2016, Samsung took the decision to suspend the commercialization of its new flagship product, the Galaxy Note 7, after cases of fire or even explosions were disclosed. Responsible for these accidents was the lithium-ion battery, whose ill-adapted design caused overheat and eventually fire to the whole device. This was one of the incidents involving lithium-ion batteries that have been the most covered by the media and it reinforced global suspicions toward this battery technology, at a time where electric cars, drones, and hoverboards also occasionally burst into flames. Yet numbers of applications for lithium-ion batteries kept on growing; I am joined here by Autonom’s co-founder and CEO, Hugues Marceau, whose company seeks to make an impact on the telecommunications sector. Hello there! In a few words, can you tell us about what your company is doing? Hugues: Hello! Autonom’s mission is to improve telecom companies’ operational efficiency with smart backup power solutions. In a nutshell, we make sure that...
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Investigating Small Cells

Investigating Small Cells

Unbeknownst to urban citizens, a new creature is about to invade our city rooftops, traffic lights, and lamp posts. She hardly makes any noise, does not look anything special and yet she may very well transform our everyday life. She is slowly crawling her way into unthinkable places above our heads where she hides, waiting patiently and communicating with her kin. Don’t run away! This is not yet another article on aliens or any other conspiracy theory of the kind, in fact we would like to dwell on a very down-to-earth subject: the deployment of small cells, the latest telecommunications infrastructure.  A small cell is a low-power, short-range and small-footprint radio access point that provides cellular coverage to nearby users. Small cells serve the same function as the big cell towers that can be seen near highways (also known as macrocells), only their reach is way smaller. Several types of small cells exist according to their range and power output - femtocells,...
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Lead Acid vs Lithium-ion Batteries

Lead Acid vs Lithium-ion Batteries

Most people are not aware that batteries really are everywhere around us. They give life to almost every single device we use, from the alarm clock in the morning to the Netflix series displayed on our laptop in the evening. And our crave for batteries ramp up day after day, as electric vehicles are steadily making progress on the international stage. With this unquenchable thirst for batteries, there is little wonder that the battery industry itself has developed over the decades and gave birth to several battery generations. Given the simplicity of the basic functioning principle, different combinations of materials and designs were plenty. Now is a time of transition in the battery environment; dinosaurs are competing against youngsters. Honorable lead-acid batteries are facing a serious challenger in the form of emerging lithium-ion batteries. When considering investing in a battery backup system, it might be useful to refer to some guidelines regarding the current state of battery technology. Lead-acid batteries...
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Batteries or Power Generators for Telecom Backup Power?

Batteries or Power Generators for Telecom Backup Power?

Power outages are one of telecom companies’ worst nightmares, as they lead to loss of revenue, customers, image, and so on. In response, internet and telephone providers have expressed a keen interest in having a power backup system.  But power can be obtained via different processes. Back in the XIXth century, the first electric battery involved a frog leg. Nowadays, we can produce power in so many ways: from solar beams, nuclear fission, fossil fuels combustion, to name just a few. Hence, one could believe  that there is a wide choice for telecom companies regarding which backup system they want. In this article, we dive into the main possibilities available and we try to determine which are the best suited to backup current and future telecom operations. We will focus first on traditional power suppliers, diesel and natural gas generators (i), then we will have a look at fuel cells (ii), and eventually we will wrap everything up with batteries (iii). 1. Diesel...
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5 Reasons Why Backup Power is needed for Telecom Companies

5 Reasons Why Backup Power is needed for Telecom Companies

Batteries are a trendy topic in today’s energy debates. Big players such as renewable energy producers or car manufacturers have for instance loudly expressed their interest for that technology. One industry that stayed under the radar though is telecommunications.  Yet no power is deadly for telecom companies. During power outages, if not properly backuped they simply cannot operate. They need assurance that their network is always available for their consumers.  Is having backup power really worth anything ? Here are the five reasons why telecom companies need power backup systems.  1. Emergency first Cellular sites play first and foremost a pivotal role for our modern societies: they keep people together, especially during dramatic times.  In critical situations, no one can afford rescue operations or ambulances to be delayed… because of a sudden lack of power. In case of a major shutdown, having data service might very well be one of the only obstacle to complete chaos. In fact, restoring communications services is a very sensitive mission,...
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