The Impact of Return Loss on Base Station Coverage in Mobile Networks

When designing and building cellular infrastructure, one objective is to maximize the RF signal level seen throughout the coverage area. Assuming the noise level remains constant, higher signal levels mean faster data rates and fewer dropped calls, ultimately resulting in happier customers. In many cases, the personnel building a cell site do not control every variable necessary to ensure strong signals. Some of the variables outside the installer’s control include transmit power levels from the radio, cable type, antenna gain and antenna height. Important variables that installers do control are losses in the cable feed system due to reflections and absorption. Minimizing these losses will improve the quality of the system. This paper focuses on thses losses due to reflections. The reflections are measured using a cable and antenna analyzer such as the Anritsu Site Master.

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