Westell Technologies Value Stock - Dividend - Research Selection
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Description of the company
Westell Technologies, Inc., (the Company) is a leading provider of in-building wireless, intelligent site management, cell site optimization, and outside plant solutions focused on innovation and differentiation at the edge of telecommunication networks, where end users connect. The Company’s comprehensive set of products and solutions are designed to advance network performance for carriers, integrators, and other network operators, allowing them to reduce operating costs and improve network performance. With millions of products successfully deployed worldwide, the Company is a trusted partner for transforming networks into high performance, reliable systems.
The Company's two business segments, In-Building Wireless (IBW) and Communication Solutions Group (CSG), are engaged in the design, development, assembly, and marketing of a wide variety of products and solutions. Segment financial information is set forth in the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements.
The IBW segment solutions include distributed antenna systems (DAS) conditioners, high-performance digital repeaters and bi-directional amplifiers (BDAs), and system components and antennas, all used by wireless service providers and neutral-party hosts to fine tune radio frequency (RF) signals that helps extend coverage to areas not served well or at all by traditional cell sites.
The CSG segment solutions include intelligent site management (ISM), cell site optimization (CSO), and outside plant (OSP) as follows:
• ISM solutions include a suite of remote monitoring and control devices which, when combined with the Company's Optima management system, provides comprehensive machine-to-machine (M2M) communications that enable operators to remotely monitor, manage, and control site infrastructure and support systems.
• CSO solutions consist of tower mounted amplifiers (TMAs), small outdoor-hardened units mounted next to antennas on cell towers, enabling wireless service providers to improve the overall performance of a cell site, including increasing data throughput and reducing dropped connections.
• OSP solutions, which are sold to wireless and wireline service providers as well as to industrial network operators, consist of a broad range of offerings, including integrated cabinets, power distribution panels; copper and fiber connectivity; and synchronous optical networks/time division multiplexing (SONET/TDM) network interface units.
Industry Trends and Market Solutions
In-Building Wireless (IBW)
IBW solutions, including DAS and small cell installations, have increased dramatically in the last decade, driven by the trend for voice and data traffic to move from the outdoor macro environment to indoors. Recent studies show that over 80% of all voice and data traffic now either originates or terminates from within buildings. More people are using mobile devices and data-intensive services in areas such as stadiums, universities, airports, and office buildings. As end-user bandwidth demands continue to increase, the greater the demand for a reliable network that can manage the increased coverage and capacity requirements.
Our IBW solutions, which include our internally-developed DAS conditioners and the comprehensive suite of products acquired with the addition of Cellular Specialties, Inc. (CSI) on March 1, 2014, enable wireless service providers with a broad set of solutions to help meet growing market demand. These solutions include:
• DAS conditioners: These units interconnect the wireless base transceiver system (BTS) to the DAS head-end while conditioning signals. Active systems can also monitor and control RF performance (e.g., the BTS power coming into the DAS). Both our passive and active devices can accommodate all of the major wireless service provider frequency bands, with numerous port configuration options. Active DAS conditioners, like our Universal DAS Interface Unit (UDIT), a remotely manageable, high density, space saving unit, has additional advanced features like spectrum analysis and tone generators to help test and analyze signal measurement data.
• High performance digital repeaters and bi-directional amplifiers (BDAs): These units provide a means to amplify and appropriately filter the RF signal from a cell site, providing the additional power and improved signal to noise performance necessary to optimize wireless service seamlessly throughout a building or structure.
• System components and antennas: We offer a variety of passive system components (couplers, dividers, and tappers) for use in DAS and in-building wireless systems to direct and condition energy flow for specific frequency bands. We also offer a broad line of antennas to support in-building wireless communication.
Our IBW solutions improve network performance, provide real-time monitoring and management to reduce troubleshooting time, and minimize operating and capital costs.
Intelligent Site Management (ISM)
Telecommunication service providers and cell tower operators were initially focused on network coverage. Priority then moved to network availability. With the migration to long-term evolution (LTE) and 4th generation (4G) networks, capacity is now a primary concern. With this shifting of requirements to managing faster speeds and higher capacity, more intelligence is moving to the network edge (e.g., cell sites and in-building systems). This has increased the importance of the edge support infrastructure such as environmental controls, power systems, and security.
Our ISM solutions, acquired with the addition of Kentrox on April 1, 2013, provide comprehensive M2M communication, enabling operators to remotely monitor, manage, and control critical infrastructure and ensure the continued health and success of the network. The four important areas of focus include:
• Environmental management: heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) monitoring/energy monitoring/control, environmental monitoring, and aircraft warning light (AWL) management.
• Power management: AC and DC power monitoring, AWL management, battery monitoring, fuel monitoring, generator management, hybrid power management, rectifier monitoring, and tenant power monitoring.
• Security management: access management, asset tampering, and surveillance management.
• Communications management: microwave, DAS, and small cell management.
The comprehensive ISM solution features the Westell Remote suite of products and the Optima management system for a complete view and understanding of site assets remotely (i.e., without a site visit). This enables the ability to more cost-effectively monitor, troubleshoot, and correct problems with network infrastructure before service affecting outages occur.
Our ISM solutions reduce network operating costs; improve network performance, including quality, reliability, and availability; and improve site security. Cell Site Optimization (CSO)
The expansion of LTE and 4G mobile networks and the introduction of enhanced wireless services and devices are causing a greater demand for higher network throughput. At the same time, mobile end-users expect a quality experience every time they use a device, whether in a city or driving in remote areas. This is forcing wireless service providers to enhance their networks by optimizing the cell site coverage area and increasing RF data throughput. CSO is critical, and TMAs have become increasingly popular to enhance the RF signal performance and improve the end users quality of service, while using the existing network infrastructure.
We provide a comprehensive range of TMAs that enables wireless service providers to improve CSO by boosting the RF signal performance from mobile devices. Our single band and multi band TMAs provide one of the lowest noise figures in the industry, are a highly reliable and proven technology, and provide very low passive intermodulation (PIM) distortion and bypass loss. In the unlikely event of a TMA failure, it automatically switches to bypass mode, ensuring network availability.
We also provide turnkey services solution for optimizing RF signal performance. From sourcing, configuration, engineering, project management, deployment, turn-up, training, to follow on support, wireless service providers can be ensured a quality and timely implementation to meet their requirements.
Our CSO solutions improve network quality and capacity, expand the coverage area, increase data throughput, and improve the end users wireless experience.
Outside Plant (OSP)
Building a communications network that can sustain harsh environmental conditions while providing the required reliability to keep customers happy can be a challenge, especially while trying to minimize costs. Whether it’s an industrial, utility, transportation, or telecommunications network, the connections between devices must effectively, efficiently, and safely carry and process signals throughout the infrastructure (cables, racks, enclosures, power distribution, etc.) while providing remote management capabilities.
We provide a comprehensive range of OSP solutions to connect nearly any outdoor building or facility, including:
• Integrated Cabinets: Includes outdoor cabinets for sheltering and protecting equipment and maintaining proper operating temperature, enclosures for protecting equipment, and a “one-stop shop” for complete turnkey solutions of customer-specified equipment integrated and installed in the Company’s cabinet.
• Power Distribution: Includes fuse panels and breaker panels for installation in equipment racks to connect up to bulk power circuits and distribute power to other equipment via individual power feeds.
• Copper/Fiber Network Connectivity: A flexible portfolio of standard relay rack mount panels and wall mount enclosures for Ethernet, fiber, or coax cables to facilitate easy and simple splicing, terminations, or handoffs.
• SONET/TDM Solutions: Includes network interface devices with performance monitoring features, line repeaters, and protection panels.
Our OSP solutions help service providers reduce operating costs, increase network quality and availability, improve time to market, and minimize capital costs while improving technician efficiency.