Yes, the legacy 1900 MHz antennas will remain mounted during a transition phase. My supposition is that -- even after the new 800/1900 MHz dual band antennas and radios have been mounted -- CDMA1X 1900 will continue to operate from the legacy 1900 MHz infrastructure during at least part of that transition phase. So, the mere presence of antenna mounted radios does not mean that you are experiencing Network Vision enhanced coverage -- yet. But I will leave it to Robert to chime in and confirm or correct my supposition.
This is correct. Based on the Lawrence drawings and the Chicago cluster sequencing docs, the antennas/radios (RRU's) appear to go up first, side by side with the operational legacy equipment. New base station cabinets get installed beside legacy base equipment. The NV contractors will deploy antennas, RRU's and base station cabinets over the entire cluster, while leaving legacy equipment active during that time.
Once the entire cluster is prepared with tower hardware complete, the next phase will include connecting new enhanced backhaul, preparing additional carriers (as needed for capacity), preparing and programming base hardware/software. New coax runs from the base cabinets to RRU's will be installed side by side with legacy coax.
At this time, the NV side will become live and testing will commence. However, most customers will be oblivious. Testing will occur in G Block, even CDMA testing, so as to not interfere with customers. They will start with with 1x testing on G Block, including 911 drive route testing in each cell. Once accepted, they will perform EVDO testing in G Block frequencies. Then finally LTE testing. Then all carriers get configured to their permanent frequency set.
Once everything is tested and confirmed ready, the switch over will begin. Legacy systems are disconnected and new NV configuration goes live. Over the entire cluster. This is likely when Sprint customers will notice something different is going on with how the network is performing.
In most cases, there are two or three clusters being worked on in a market at any given time. Each cluster takes about two to four weeks to complete, based on size, number of sites and complexities. The number of clusters in a Sprint market is highly variable based on the density population and coverage of each market.
After all the NV sites are confirmed operational, legacy equipment will start to be decommissioned and removed. This is exciting stuff to me. I have an article planned on this subject. Hopefully I can get to it this week.
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