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Get the Maximum Available RF Signal by Fine Tuning Your Antennas

Posted by James Donovan on 14 June 2017 Connect with James on LinkedIn Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

As more and more devices join our networks and use up valuable bandwidth, what can we do to keep our networks functioning?

More and more devices are eating up available wireless bandwidth and we need to ensure that we have the maximum available RF signal by fine tuning antennas. If you think about how many mobile devices you have at home, that you and your family might take out with you that can connect to the internet, it could include mobile phones, iPads, games consoles, ebooks and cameras etc. All of these could need at least one connection during the day and some would be continually connected.

Devices like the iPhone are driving a massive increase in demand for wireless bandwidth and the problem will grow with hungry bandwidth devices with their multimedia experience, like data heavy videos and games.


5 Ways To Reduce the Strain on the Operator’s Network

Operators are feeling the strain. Growth in data traffic is putting immense strain on the operator’s network. To increase capacity, operators have five primary tools at their disposal:

  1. Adding Cell Sites – Adding cell sites is an effective but expensive approach to adding capacity. In general, adding new real estate is time consuming and increasingly prohibitive. With median inter-site distances dropping from 5 km to 2 km, and recently to less than 200 m in dense urban areas the operator has less choice in selecting affordable property. Doubling the number of cell sites approximately doubles the network capacity and the throughput per user (assuming the user density stays constant), and greatly improves the peak user and the aggregate throughput per km.
  2. Adding Sectors – Adding sectors such as changing from 3 sectors to 6 sectors is a useful way to approximate the introduction of new cells. However, this does not quite double the capacity as the “petals” of 6 sector coverage do not interleave as well as 3 sector coverage, and the fractional overlap of 6 sectors is greater. This also challenges hand-off processing when near highways. This is a common approach in dense urban areas where rooftops are available.
  3. Adding Carriers – Adding carriers (or more accurately, bandwidth) directly adds to capacity. The LTE (Long Term Evolution) standard is particularly adept at utilizing increased bandwidth without increasing control channel overheads.
  4. Improved Air Interface Capabilities – Improved air interface capabilities using techniques such as modulation can provide multiple times the aggregate downlink capacity. Improvements in air interface (while leaving everything else the same such as bandwidth and antenna configuration) is seeing diminishing returns on improvements. Something more than simply increasing modulation and coding rates is needed.
  5. Advanced Antennas – Advanced antennas provide the next substantial increase in throughput. By “advanced antennas”, we refer to adaptive antennas such as those with electrical tilt, beam width and azimuth control which can follow relatively slow-varying traffic patterns. As well as so called intelligent antennas that can form beams aimed at particular users or steer nulls to reduce interference. And finally Multiple-Input Multiple Output (MIMO) antenna schemes.


Understanding the RF Infrastructure that Underpins Your Network

If you would like to know about the technologies discussed here, the CommScope Infrastructure Academy SP6500 course contains the information you will need to make these critical decisions.

Otherwise why not browse our eBook here to better understand the passive infrastructure that underpins your network.