The Problems with Overweight Cell Towers

Phillip Sorrells - 11-5-13--thumb Philip Sorrells September 2, 2014

Tower_WeightWhy is it important to focus on weight and wind load for a wireless tower? Four key reasons:

  • Performance
  • Revenue
  • Expenses
  • Safety

When you think about it, it’s easy to see how weight and wind can impact the performance of a wireless system on a tower. Improperly designed, configured or installed equipment on a tower—or even choosing the wrong mount—can cause mis-alignments and even total failure. Drawing a direct line from those kinds of impacts to revenue is easy.

In terms of expenses, in many cases, the cost of leasing tower space is based largely on how much loading a base station antenna adds to the tower structure. That’s why wireless operators often use wind load data presented by base station antenna manufacturers when deciding on which antennas to deploy. Therefore, it is important for operators and tower owners to fully understand how wind load data is calculated so fair comparisons can be made between various antennas.

Safety must always be paramount to operators as well. As networks become larger and more complex, overweight towers or configurations that present wind resistance can cause equipment to loosen or mounts to fail, which can represent a danger to residents nearby. The safety of maintenance crews must always be taken into consideration, since overloaded towers or those with little concern for weight and wind load can present a danger to even veteran crew climbers.

What areas do you need to pay attention to in regards to weight and wind load? Access our new white paper Technical Keys to Successful Network Modernization: Weight and Wind Load to find out. We talk about antennas, cables, mounts and specially designed structural supports. The good news is that there are many very good solutions that address weight and wind load factors inherently and holistically, as a complete system.

About the Author

Phillip Sorrells - 11-5-13--thumb

Philip Sorrells

Philip Sorrells is vice president of strategic marketing for CommScope, a global leader in infrastructure solutions for communications networks. He is responsible for marketing strategy, linking key trends in the industry into marketing strategies for telecommunications networks.  Mr. Sorrells has 20 years of experience in the telecom industry with Allen Telecom, Andrew Corporation and CommScope, having spent 10 years prior with Texas Instruments. He has led the wireless industry in adopting many antenna system innovations—including remote electrical tilt (RET) technology for network optimization—and pioneering the concept of “agile networks,” which formed the basis for current initiatives in self-organizing networks. Mr. Sorrells has three patents related to antenna systems and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering from Texas Tech University.