Safety Interlock Device Makes Small Cells Safer

Originally Published by AGL Media Group
Author: J. Sharpe Smith 

To reduce the safety risk should something force a small cell to fall, PerfectVision’s new interlock disconnects a small cell if something knocks it over.

“With people being afraid of 5G, we thought it was time to initiate the conversation with the carriers, real estate and site acquisition professionals and the municipalities on a way to make them safe,” said George Kerstetter, national sales manager, PerfectVision.

When small cell 5G wireless communications base stations are working normally, they pose no hazard to the general public, but if some force – whether it is a car, high wind, a fallen tree or an earthquake – knocks a small cell to the ground, first responders could come into close proximity to the live antenna.

If a small cell leans to a 40-degree angle from vertical, the First Responder Safety Trip (FRST) interlock cuts commercial power to the antenna.

“To work safely on a site, you must power down the antenna,” Kerstetter said. “There have been instances where vehicles have ended up on top of a small cell, and first responders have been in close proximity to the small cell antenna. We want to prevent RF exposure to first responders while they perform critical live-saving measures.”

Kerstetter said he believes the interlock interlock is a tool site acquisition professionals can use to allay concerns that a municipality may have about safety, as they endeavor to obtain small cell approvals. PerfectVision markets the interlock to carriers and third-party operators as a way to limit potential carrier liability. The price of the interlock adds only a small additional expense to the small cell or DAS node.

“With hundreds of thousands of small cells set to be deployed across the country mostly in populous areas, people are beginning to worry about them,” he said. “Here is a tool to get more sites approved by helping the site acquisition professional get over any hurdles at the municipalities’ zoning level. We want to keep ahead of any possible hysteria concerning 5G.”

PerfectVision is close to beginning a beta test for the product in the field.

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