blog post is adapted from an article I wrote that was recently published in Voice & Data.
Wireless networks today are facing a
massive capacity crunch. With a data hungry mobile society and its love for
bandwidth-hungry applications, networks are constantly under pressure and
struggling to keep pace, especially in LTE environments.
An effective way to solve the capacity
problem is through sector sculpting. It is an ingenious approach to antenna pattern shaping that
enables operators to carve out more capacity, improve coverage and limit
Sector sculpting deals with all these
issues and boosts network performance by controlling interference between
sectors. It also helps in increasing the number of accessible subscriber
What is sector sculpting? It has to do
with advanced features that are available in the latest base station antennas.
Sector sculpting is basically specialized RF pattern shaping that is made
possible with directional antennas, both in azimuth (horizontal direction) and
elevation (vertical space). Sector sculpting allows precise wireless coverage
with minimal interference with neighboring cells.
A critical performance metric is the overlap
of energy between neighboring cells and sectors. The sector power ratio is a
comparison of signal power registered outside and inside a desired receiving
area as a consequence of an antenna's radiation pattern. The lower the ratio,
the better the antenna's performance.
Interference can increase due to
overlapping competing signals and eventually reduce performance. This causes
performance issues, like dropped calls. Usually, interference can be minimized
through sector sculpting techniques. With sector sculpting and the resulting
improved containment of interference, the same frequencies or codes can be
reused in cells that are closer to each other while also increasing spectrum
efficiency, capacity and network performance.
Sector sculpting becomes even more
important for 4G/LTE networks since interference needs to be minimized if one
desires to maximize the potential of MIMO.
An increasing demand for faster speeds and seamless services means selecting
the right antennas and using sector sculpting techniques will become important
considerations for all operators.
What do you think? Can sector
sculpting provide relief for the capacity crunch?