OPT-thumbFor a wireless cellular network to achieve its full operating potential, each sector must perform up to its design standard. When this does not occur, the economic impact to the service provider can be substantial. This could equate to:

  • 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.

To maximize RF performance, it is essential that:

  • The carrier signals are 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. This simply means  the system’s performance is getting worse.

Service providers have invested a lot of money in 4G networks and will continue to do so for the next generation of technologies, such as 5G. These investments are often overlaid on the existing network, using existing tower equipment such as coaxial feeder cable, filters and base station antennas. Service providers 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 such an issue today that many service providers deploy PIM testing equipment to the field to confirm PIM performance of the site.

So, what is 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.

I recommend you get certified to avoid these issues. That’s why the CommScope Infrastructure Academy offers a PIM related course--SP6160 PIM/VSWR Certification.

How are you testing for PIM today?

About the Author

James Donovan

James Donovan is Vice President of the CommScope Infrastructure Academy. James joined CommScope in 1993 and has held positions in Sales, Technical, Marketing, Training and Business Development and served most recently as VP of Digital and Creative Services for CommScope. James oversees the CommScope Infrastructure Academy, which is CommScope’s partner and customer training platform. Prior to joining the company, he held positions at GEC, ITT and Alcatel. He holds a Masters Degree in Engineering and a BSc Honors degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering.

See all posts by this author

Add Your Comment

Please submit your comment using the form below

 
(required)