Our new eBook Understand Passive Infrastructure Download

85 RF Path Terms To Be Aware Of

Posted by James Donovan on 15 May 2015 Connect with James on LinkedIn Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

I recently challenged myself to reach beyond the comfort blanket of the infrastructure technologies that I have been involved with for the last 20 plus years, to extend my knowledge to wireless infrastructure.

Wireless clearly has dominant part to play in all aspects of network connectivity moving forward, so I thought it has to be a good career choice to understand it a little more.

Learning New Wireless Terminology

The first challenge however was getting to grips with the lingo! So here I have created a list of 85 RF path terms gleaned from colleagues and customers that you will want to remember and get to know.

RF Path Terms;

In future posts we hope to detail full descriptions of each term, but for now, this is the jargon anyone dealing with wireless infrastructure will come across:

  • Transmission Theory, Radio Waves, Units of Measurement, Amplitude, Wavelength, Frequency, Velocity, Impedance, Attenuation
  • Component matching, Phase and Frequency, VSWR-Gain, Amplitude Modulation
  • Signal to Noise Ratio, Radio Equipment
  • Frequency, Spectrum and Bands, Cellular Multiple Access Schemes, Cell Types
  • Standards Relative to Cellular Communications, 1G, 2G, 3G, 4G, 5G and WiFi Networks
  • Path Loss, Propagation, Building Material Density
  • Link Budgets, Downlink, Uplink Parameters, Intermodulation Distortion, Carrier to Interference Ratio
  • Free Space Path Loss, Connector and Cable Loss, Link Budgets, Receiver Sensitivity, Dynamic Range
  • Cell Site Development, Antennas, Splitters, Couplers
  • Coaxial cable, Connectors, Amplifiers, Filters, Mixers, Oscillators, Circulators, Diplexers, Duplexers
  • Antenna Types, Dipoles, Antenna Patterns, Polarity, Linear Array, Antenna Gain, Aperture and Beamwidth
  • Electrical and Mechanical Downtilt, AISG, Adaptive Arrays, MIMO
  • FTTA, RRH’s, Multiband Antennas, Combiners, Amplification
  • Tower Mounted Amplifiers, Receiver Desensitization
  • Horizontal and Vertical Separation, Bandpass Cavity
  • RF Test and Measurement, PIM and VSWR Fundamentals, Line Sweeping, Insertion Loss, Return Loss
  • Troubleshooting, Sweeping for Faults , Inspection, PIM Causes and Measurements
  • Microwave Backhaul, Microwave v Fiber, Microwave Antennas, Frequencies
  • Microwave Paths, Link Lengths, Antenna Gain, Beamwidth, Front to Back Ratio

Taking it Further

Just knowing these rf path terms is not enough however. The next challenge appears when you come to learn about these topics and specifically how they relate to wireless infrastructure.

In my case I started a search for relevant learning and information, and as the content piled up, it struck me that this would be an ideal opportunity for a new course. And so the SP6500 RF Wireless Infrastructure Fundamentals course was born.

Making sense of the Terminology: SP6500 RF Wireless Infrastructure Fundamentals

The course aims to help students understand the basics of RF wireless systems, their associated infrastructure – and helps students learn about and clarify the terms listed above. It steps through wireless design, cabling, antennas, modulation schemes, spectrum, data rates, radio channels and microwave backhaul. Other topics included are antenna design, fiber optics, fault finding, PIM and VSWR.

While the course covers much, it does not claim to cover all, so please help its evolution by suggesting subjects to add to the list.

Suggestions welcome in the comments section below!