RF Propagation Tool

Welcome to the March issue of GL's Consulting Newsletter. In this issue, we will focus on one of the Radio Frequency (RF) design tools, "RF Propagation Tool". RF engineers use this tool to perform propagation analysis to design commercial, cellular, microwave, public safety and other wireless networks. Readers may recollect that October 2007 newsletter focused on two other important RF design tools for conducting "Intermod" and "Microwave Path Profile" analysis. The "RF Propagation Tool" is an addition to the fleet of GL's on-line tools that will help engineers design radio systems.

RF Propagation Studies

Radio propagation studies are important to engineers for planning wireless systems. With applications of WiFi, WiMAX and other wireless technologies becoming more ubiquitous, RF propagation studies have become critical, more than ever, to insure highly reliable networks. For example, one of the key outcomes of an RF propagation study would be prediction of coverage area of a transmitter. It would help a network planner optimize the location of the transmitters to achieve service reliability in a cost effective manner.

RF propagation is transmission of radio signals from a transmitter to a receiver. Propagation of RF signals depends on the radio frequency, geographic terrain, foliage, buildings, and varying weather conditions. Radio network designers predict RF coverage based on a set of system requirements that include proposed site locations, antennas, radiating power and various other parameters. Such a prediction is crucial to determine whether intended service objectives can be met.

GL's Tools

GL has developed an array of tools that engineers use to plan RF networks. As discussed in our October 2007 newsletter issue , GL offers some of these design tools free of charge to our customers for preliminary system design before they commit to major development costs. "RF Propagation Tool" is another powerful tool being offered at no cost on a limited basis (for US customers only). These tools are available online at www.gl.com.

RF Propagation Analysis Tool

Some aspects of propagation and the importance of adequate RF coverage for a radio system were covered in our August 2007 newsletter issue. GL's RF propagation tool supports Cellular, PCS, Land Mobile Radio and other radio network planners in predicting the coverage of their proposed networks or in evaluating the coverage of existing radio systems.

RF propagation studies are divided into two categories, Downlink (Talk-Out) and Uplink (Talk-Back) analysis. With inputs such as site locations, antenna types, AGL (Above Ground Level) and AMSL (Above Mean Sea Level), the tool can analyze the links, predict the coverage, and point out deficiencies and dead spots. The tool also provides expected RSSI levels in different regions of coverage. Some examples of the results of analysis are provided at RF Propagation Tool.

In addition to the above tools, GL has developed, in-house, an extensive array of other advanced wireless system design tools. They include Drive Testing and Evaluations, Microwave Inter-Connect, Erlang Calculator, Radio Frequency (RF) Coverage, 2D and 3D Terrain Maps, Service Area Boundary Contours Study. You can contact us to obtain additional information.

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