Reducing Signal Degradation

Reducing Signal Degradation

18 October 2017 | Reading Time: 2 minutes

Reducing Passive Intermodulation (PIM) is crucial to maintain an efficient network. For your networks to maintain optimum performance and best long-term channel capacity, it’s important to that you are able to understand the causes, and so reduce signal degradation.

Passive Intermodulation (PIM)

For a wireless cellular network to achieve its full operating potential, each sector within the network must perform up to its design standard. Reducing Passive Intermodulation (PIM) is a key component of maintaining an efficient network.

When this does not occur, the economic impact to the service provider can be substantial:

  • lost revenue at that site
  • customer dissatisfaction and churn
  • increased infrastructure cost
  • reduction in cell site coverage area

To achieve the full operating potential of each node in the network, each Radio Frequency (RF) component and interconnection of RF path components must be properly installed, verified and maintained to insure optimum performance over time.

The RF path

Viewed from the RF perspective, to maximize performance, it is essential that:

  • the carrier signals be efficiently propagated from the transmitter output through the RF path components with minimum loss and distortion
  • upon reception of the RF signal from the handset at the base station antenna, the signal must be efficiently propagated back to the base station receiver
  • interference/noise at the base station receiver within the frequency band of the handset uplink signals must be lower in magnitude than the receiver noise floor

There are more components than ever in the RF path; each additional component is another potential source of signal degradation. All of these components contribute to INCREASING system Insertion Loss and REDUCING the overall Return Loss value, which simply stated means “The system performance is getting worse”.

Wireless operators have invested a lot of money into 4G networks and will continue to do so for the next generation of technologies, whether it’s HSPA+ (High Speed Packet Access), LTE (Long Term Evolution), or others. These investments are often overlaid on the existing network, utilizing existing tower equipment such as coaxial feeder cable, filters and base station antennas.

How to fix signal degradation

Operators are increasingly taking steps to avoid potential signal degradation that can result from overlays, especially when adding new frequency bands. Passive Intermodulation (PIM), being one of the causes of signal degradation, is enough of an issue today that many operators are deploying PIM testing equipment to the field to confirm PIM performance of the site.

The net result? The incidence and cost of PIM is no longer simply a nuisance, it is a critical threat to network efficiency, channel capacity, and bottom line profit.

Understanding all aspects of passive infrastructure – and all components in the RF path –  is crucial to ensure your networks perform at best capacity and efficiency. To ensure you’re able to do so, our Passive Infrastructure courses cover every aspect you need to know; from RF Wireless Infrastructure Fundamentals, to Fiber Optic Infrastructure, to Structured Cabling Design and more.

You can take a look at the full course listing here, and specifically a PIM course here

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