This article was originally posted in the LTE World Series Blog.
By John Vetter, VP of Business Development
Directional RF antenna installations are not always done to carrier RF design specifications for azimuth, mechanical tilt and roll. Some before/after audits have shown that as many as 40% of antennas are installed more than five degrees off target. Using this audit data, simulations are possible with RF network propagation software and any market final design project. These results will prove that even when using conservative misalignment changes that induced network interference can be costly to carriers specifically for newer interference prone LTE technologies. Focusing just on carrier spectrum capital investment this number can easily become surprisingly high when considering large nationwide RF spectrum investments. The cost of ‘wasted’ spectrum due to interference does not, but could consider additional costs of ‘unused’ BTS/RAN infrastructure, unnecessary network performance troubleshooting efforts, less the credible output from RF propagation, ACP and SON tools , and more important, the effects of poor customer data experiences -all caused by misaligned RF antennas.
Having a known RF antenna baseline will have a dramatic impact on spectrum efficiency and all the items listed above. Using a GNSS antenna alignment tool with accuracy of +/- 2° (R99) for azimuth and 0.25° for tilt and roll can ensure antennas are installed to RF design position to mitigate RF interference. Data can be captured in a protected report for carrier records or to csv file for easy importing to carrier database. Other information such as precise antenna latitude/longitude, MSL and AGL will also be captured for extremely precise antenna position records. Please download our technical white paper on the Effects of RF Antenna Misalignments on 4G LTE Data throughput, considerations for maximizing return on your RF spectrum investments.
John has over 18 years of experience in engineering and operations of telecom networks. He has been involved in several successful startups, namely MetroPCS and Clearwire where his leadership has been vital to achieving company launch milestones and financial goals. He holds a BS from Christian Brothers University, and an MBA from the University of Miami.