21dBi Antenna Case Study

Stockholm September 2004

The coverage from a base station can be enhanced by increasing the output power in the downlink (base station to handset). downlink power in itself cannot increase coverage beyond the limit set by the handset and the receive sensitivity of the base station (BTS). the coverage area will be perceived to have increased thanks to the base station being able to handle the weaker signal.1.and downlink. The radiating elements are connected to a feed network that distributes the signal between the radiating elements within the antenna. Though the handset still performs at the given output power. Standard cell planning is based on antennas with half power beam width of 65 degrees opening angles. The greatest impact is achieved by increasing the coverage of a site and thereby reducing the number of sites. The feed network is typically made of coaxial cable or printed on a circuit board. High gain can be achieved by focusing beyond 65 degrees. a gain of 21dBi can in theory be achieved. a feed network design with very low losses is required. Going from a typical 18dBi antenna to 21dBi offers a coverage advantage in the region of 30-40%. As apposed to an amplifier. i. Thus. However. an antenna is passive and low cost and the most cost effective means of achieving coverage enhancement. antennas amplify the signal in both up. A standard 18dBi antenna typically includes 8 radiating elements. . e. The signal of the handset is amplified by the base station and by amplifying the signal already at the antenna by means of a Tower Mounted Amplifier. These losses offset the potential gain increase achieved by the addition of radiating elements.g. While amplifiers amplify the signal in either up or downlink. GSM 1800/1900 and UMTS. Antenna gain is achieved by the radiating elements and the degree of focusing of the antenna beam.e. SUMMARY Optimizing cellular networks in terms of CAPEX and OPEX is attracting increased focus from cellular operators. Both these feed networks have inherent losses and the longer the network is the greater the losses are. the maximum output power of the handset is limited and has a given range. the base station is able to process a signal that would otherwise be too weak. Systems are hence typically referred to as being uplink limited (handset to base station). In order to achieve the very high gain of 21dBi. 33 degrees. This means that introducing additional antenna amplification (gain) will increase the overall coverage area irrespective of handset or BTS transmit power. This is particularly true for systems operating on the higher frequency bands. TMA. By doubling the number of radiating elements to 16. By adding additional elements the gain is increased. but require special consideration in cell panning and BTS hardware configuration.

The low-loss feed network makes it possible to design a compact 2m 21dBi antenna while keeping the vertical half-power beam-width of 4 degrees with full beam shaping with regards to first upper side-lobe suppression and null-fill. Since the main part of the network rollout investment relates to the base stations and switching network. • Increased geographical coverage by 30-40% compared to standard (18dBi) antennas • Potential reduction in the number of base stations of up to 30%. an operator who has fewer sites also has lower OPEX costs. the high-gain antenna is an efficient means of lowering CAPEX for the operator. The beam shaping performance gives excellent penetration close to the antenna. The low-loss technology can further be applied to design compact antennas (15 & 18dBi) for both rural and urban use.By introducing a completely new feed network design philosophy. Operators using High Gain Antennas need to build fewer sites. site lease. This has been achieved by developing a high efficiency antenna feed network that reduces the power losses within the antenna to close to zero. CellMax has been able to develop an antenna that fully harnesses the gain potential of the antenna. resulting in significantly better performance compared to existing antenna technology. • Possible CAPEX reduction in the range of 20 – 30% • Corresponding OPEX reduction would also be achieved due to the lower power consumption. keeps the interference level low together with exceptional coverage increase. Furthermore. O&M and transmission costs • Improved in-car coverage • Improved indoor coverage • Fewer dropped calls • Improved call set-up success rate .

2 2. 3dB gain increase equals a doubling of radiated power (linear scale). . Fig 1: Radiation diagram comparison (logarithmic scale) between CellMax 21dBi antenna (red) and a standard 18dBi antenna (blue) Fig 2: Comparison of the radiated power between CellMax 21dBi antenna (blue) and a standard 18dBi antenna (red).1 The CellMax 21 dBi High Gain Antenna Radiation Diagrams The diagrams below compare the radiation diagrams of an 18dBi antenna to the CellMax 21dBi antenna. The left diagram compares the horizontal beam width and the right diagram the vertical beam width.

Fig 3: Gain comparison of the CellMax antenna and another antenna of similar length 2. Too much focusing results in a very narrow vertical beam. which is not desirable since this may cause coverage problems close to the antenna.2. .3 Vertical Opening Angle Antenna gain is a function of the number of radiating elements and focusing of the main beam.2 Feed Network Efficiency The CellMax feed network efficiency is very high as is illustrated by the graph below. Adding radiating elements will increase focusing in the vertical plane. Almost 2dB more gain is achieved with the CellMax low loss feed network compared to standard technology. It is therefore important to have enough antenna gain in order not to degrade the desired performance. The measurements were carried out concurrently at a third party measurement range. The gain curve comparison is between the CellMax antenna and an antenna of similar length from a wellknown antenna manufacturer. It is therefore very important to include null fills to overcome coverage problems close to site. Null fill on the other hand will reduce gain.

it is significantly higher than the accepted design criteria and thus does not constitute any problem.4 Grade of Service The increased signal strength increase is experienced throughout the cell and will result in: • • • Improved indoor penetration Increased call setup success Rate and less dropped calls. These improvements can be converted to increased revenue. increased call success rate. Though the signal strength is weaker than that of a standard antenna close to the site. 2. less dropped calls.The diagram below is a comparison of a standard 18dBi antenna and a 21dBi antenna using null fill. Fig 4: Received Signal Strength comparison between CellMax 21dBi antenna (red) and a standard 18dBi antenna (blue). i. .e. improved indoor and in-car penetration. the higher signal strength gives improved Grade of Service. The diagram also shows that in addition to increased range.

3.9 log f .a ( hm ) + [ 44. Coverage Increase by 30-50% High Gain (21dBi) Antennas gives a 3dB gain increase compared to standard 18dBi antenna. 1900 and 2100 MHz is given as below: L = 46.200 m 1 .1 log (f ) .20 km See the following table The clutter class values [L c] that needs to be included in the RF prediction tools are as follow: W O1 O2 F1 F2 S1 S2 S3 U1 U2 Clutter class Water Open.0.3.15 .13.7 ) hm .5 (2) GHz 30.8 ) mobile antenna height correction distance BTS .82 log hb . The Hata formula is a mathematical fit for the Okumura graphical measurement data.0.6. This gain increase equals a theoretical coverage increase of ~50% but in practice 30-40%.Lc Factor L f hb hm a ( hm ) d Lc path loss (dB ) frequency (MHz) base antenna height (m) mobile antenna height (m) = (1.1.3 + 33. 3dB gain increase means a doubling of the radiated power and received signal strength.( 1.1 Okumura-Hata Propagation Prediction Model The Okumura-Hata propagation prediction formula is based upon empirical information obtained from measurements. few obstructions Wood.55 log hb ] log d .10 m 1 .9 . mostly higher and more densely packed trees Low density suburban Leafy suburban Dense suburban Low density urban Dense urban L c (dB) 29 24 19 19 9 11 5 8 3 0 .MS ( km ) correction factor for various land usage/clutter categories added to the Hata formula Range .56 log (f ) . The Okumura-Hata equation for 1800. low density with small trees or bushes Wood. no obstructions Open. Coverage is calculated using the Okumura-Hata propagation model.

41 –0.06 km (18dBi antenna) and for L = 150 + 3 = 153 .7 ) hm .7 ) 1. d = 10  L −125.a ( hm ) + [ 44.13.22  Therefore: for L = 150.15 km dB (21dBi antenna).0.8 ) = = (1. d = 6.04 L = 46.9 .82 log hb .04 + [ 44.5 m Lc= 11 dB (S1. assumptions relating to antenna position and environment the range increase can be calculated as follows: L = 46.8) = 4.9 .6. .68] log (d) –11 L = 125.56 log (1800 ) .22*log(d) log(d ) = L − 125.58 – 0.7)*1.55 log (30)] log d –11 L = 46. Low density suburban) a ( hm )= (1.55 log hb ] log d .6.8 ) = (3. d = 5.5 .20 35.3 + 110.4.1 log (1800 ) .1 log (f ) .3 + 33.( 1.5 – (5.0.2 Calculating Range Based on the Okumuru-Hata model above.32 .0.9 – 9.20 + 35.9*log (1800)-13.( 1.35 – 20.56 log (f ) .04 + [ 44.28 = 0.22 .Lc Where: L=150 dB (standard 18 dBi antenna) hb= 30 m hm= 1.3 +33.08 –0.0.3.82*log (30) – 0.9 log f .20     35. This gives a >20% increase in range.

3. Therefore the coverage area for a 3-sector site is .3 3. the coverage area of a 3 Sector site with an antenna beamwidth of 600 can be assumed as a close approximation to three hexagons as shown below. On a flat terrain.3. Area of a 3 sector site: r 60 60deg degrees Area of a hexagon: r/2 r Area = r/2 cos 30ο R/4 = (r 2 √ 3)/16 Area = 6 x area of each triangle is calculated as follows: = = (6 r 2 √ 3)/16 (3 r 2 √ 3)/8 (9 r2 √ 3)/8.1 Cell Coverage Area Calculation Cell Area of a 3 Sector-Site Standard cell panning is based on a grid comprising 3 sectors (cells) per site.

48 2 9 ⋅ r22 ⋅ 3 r2 5. The graph below illustrates the different antenna heights required to achieve the same coverage based on a given signal strength requirement. . the following areas of use may also be considered. 4. or alternatively to build lower masts.152 8 Areaincrease = = 12 = = 1. Other Applications Besides the obvious application for the 21dBi antenna to increase coverage. Topography and other conditions may impact on this figure and in practice the increase can be expected to be in the area of 30-40% 4.06 8 Conclusion A 3 dB antenna gain increase gives a theoretical coverage increase of 48%.Therefore: the area increase is: 9 ⋅ r12 ⋅ 3 r 2 6.1 Mast Height The increase in antenna gain can be used to place the antenna at a lower position on a mast.

0 90.Antenna height for equal signal strength (-90 dBm) 100.0 10.0 Antenna height [m] 60.0 50.0 21 dBi 18 dBi 40.0 80.0 0.0 30.0 500 1000 1500 2000 Distance from site [m] 2500 3000 3500 Fig 5: Received Signal Strength comparison between CellMax 21dBi antenna and a standard 18dBi antenna. .0 70.0 20.

Figure 14.5. • • Reduced connection fees in the RNC and switch if applicable thanks to fewer sites. cooling. site establishment including civil works. mast. the cost savings are illustrated below.e. Transmission The comparison includes base station equipment. Site reductions will also give a direct saving in Operation and Maintenance Costs. i. Cost comparison table . Price is based on European levels. BUSINESS CASE A cost comparison has been made comparing a standard base station and establishment cost using a 18dBI antenna and the same using a 21dBi antenna.1 assumes green-field deployment. In addition. Based on a planned area of 100 sites for the reference case. antennas. TMA’s and feeders. 5. OPEX. The business case establishment cost. and power. site Opportunities for Additional Cost Reductions/Savings The following areas give scope for additional cost savings not included in the business case.

1 CONCLUSION A 21dBi antenna offers great CAPEX savings at a very low cost to the operator. .5. Reduced number of sites will also reduce Opex.