The devil is in the details. For anyone not familiar with this saying, it means that the success or failure of an effort often results from the small tasks inherent in that effort. Paying attention to the small details is important for a project’s overall success. When it comes to wireless networks, some of the details that lead to success or failure are equipment mounting and installation. To operate at their best, cell sites need proper mounting and installation for all wireless infrastructure, especially in microwave backhaul and LTE networks.
With microwave backhaul, a lack of proper installation procedures, low-quality antennas or simple mistakes can lead to misaligned and/or under-performing microwave links, which decreases throughput, slows the network and hurts quality of service. Without backhaul, there is no phone service, which can be the difference between an e-911 call going through or not. Low-quality antenna mounts or poor installation has led to catastrophic incidents such as antennas falling off of towers and plummeting to the ground. Good mounts need to hold microwave antennas in proper alignment despite wind, rain and other environmental factors.
Advanced technology standards such as LTE require high-performing, optimized network equipment. LTE installations can involve dozens of new components for a cell site—base station antennas, remote radio units, trunk and sector fiber cable, and various supporting equipment. Many sites utilize a sector frame intended to support fewer pieces of equipment of lower total weight as part of 2G and 3G networks. Installers need to know how to recognize when an LTE site is getting overloaded and what can happen with conventional remedies.
I will be speaking about these mounting and installation issues at two educational sessions at the National Association of Tower Erectors (NATE)2013conference in Fort Worth, Texas. I am joining Scott Kisting, vice president, Midwest Underground Technology, on Tuesday, February 19, from 8:00–10:00 a.m. to present on “Proper Microwave Antenna Installations.” I fly solo on Wednesday, February 20, from 8:00–9:00 a.m., when I speak about “Proper LTE Installations.” Both sessions are in Meeting Room 202.
I hope we can help each other learn at NATE 2013 about what works out in the field. For those of you who will not be able to make the show or my presentations, let me know in the Comments what mounting or installation topics concern you the most. I will gladly discuss these issues here, as well.