Long-Distance Links

Telecommunication Engineering
Propagation of Wave
 The propagation of electromagnetic waves is dependent
on the frequency
 The propagation characteristics are the result of changes
in the radio-wave velocity as a function of altitude and
boundary conditions
 The wave velocity is dependent on air temperature, air
density, and levels of air ionization
 Ionization (free electrons) of the rarified air at high
altitudes has a dominant effect on wave propagation in
the MF and HF bands
 The ionization is caused by ultraviolet radiation from the
sun, as well as cosmic rays
Propagation of Wave
Propagation of Wave
Propagation of Wave
Propagation of Wave
 The dominant ionized regions are D, E, F1, and F2
 The D layer is located closest to the Earth’s surface at an
altitude of about 45 or 55 miles
 For f > 300 kHz, it acts as a RF sponge to absorb
(attenuate) the waves
 The attenuation is inversely proportional to frequency
and becomes small for frequencies above 4 MHz
 For f < 300 kHz, it provides refraction (bending) of RF
 It is most pronounced during the daylight hours, with
maximum ionization when the sun is overhead, and
almost dissapears at night
Propagation of Wave
 The E layer has a height of 65 to 75 miles, has maximum
ionization around noon and disappears after sunset
 The F layer has a height of 90 to 250 miles
 It ionizes rapidly at sunrise, with its peak ionization in
early afternoon and decay slowly after sunset
 The F region splits into two: F1 and F2 during the day and
combines into one layer at night
 The F region is the most predominant medium in
providing reflection of HF waves
Propagation of Wave
 Three dominant propagation characteristics:
 Ground wave
 Sky wave
 Ground wave propagation is the dominant mode of
propagation for frequencies < 2 MHz
 Here, the wave tends to follow the contour of the Earth
because the diffraction of wave causes it to propagate
along the surface of the Earth
 What is the lowest radio frequency that can be used?
Propagation of Wave
 For efficient radiation, the antenna needs to be longer
than 1/10 of a wavelength
 For example, for signaling with a carrier frequency of 10
kHz, the antenna length is minimum 3000 m
Propagation of Wave
 Sky wave propagation is the dominant mode of
propagation in the 2 to 30 MHz frequency range
 Here, long-distance coverage is obtained by reflecting the
wave at the ionosphere and at the Earth’s boundaries
 In the ionosphere the waves are refracted gradually in an
inverted U shape because the index of refraction varies
with altitude as the ionization density changes
 The refraction index of the ionosphere is given by
= ÷
refractive index n =
free electron density (electrons/m ) N =
frequency (Hz) f =
Propagation of Wave
 Typical N values range between 10^10 and 10^12
depending on the time of day, season, sunspots
 In an ionized region because and outside the
ionized region because
1 n < 0 N >
1 n ~
0 N ~
Propagation of Wave
 In the ionized region the waves will be bent according to
Snell’s law
 The layer D is present during the day and absorbs
frequencies below 4 MHz
 That’s why in AM broadcast, the distant stations cannot
be heard during the day, but at night the layer disappears
and distant AM stations can be heard via sky wave
 Sky wave propagation is caused by reflection from the F
r i
n ¢ ¢ =
angle of incidence
¢ = angle of refraction
¢ =
Propagation of Wave
 LOS propagation is the dominant mode for frequencies
above 30 MHz
 Here the electromagnetic wave propagates in a straight
LOS Systems
 The LOS mode has the disadvantage that for
communication between two terrestrial stations, the
signal path has to be above the horizon
 Otherwise, the Earth will block the LOS path
 The antennas need to be placed on tall towers so that
the receiver antenna can “see” the transmitting antenna
LOS Systems
 To the optical horizon, k (bending characteristic) = 1
 To the radio horizon, k =4/3
 The design of an LOS microwave link involves 5 basic steps:
 Setting performance requirements
 Site selection and preparation of a path profile to determine antenna
tower heights
 Carrying out a path analysis (link budget)
 Physically running a path/site survey
 Installation of equipment and test of the system prior to cutting it
over to carry traffic
3 [ ]
[ ] 2.9
h m
d km =
[ ] 2.9 2 [ ]
d km h m =
Site Selection
 Select operational site where we will install and operate radio
 Path profile of each link to determine the heights of radio
tower to achieve LOS
 Steps to obtain path profile:
 Obtain good toplogical maps of the region
 Draw a straight line with a long straight edge connecting the two
sites identified
 Follow along down the line identifying obstacles and their heights
 Calculate earth curvature (EC)
 Calculate the Fresnel zone clearance for each obstacle
 Add a value of additional height for vegetation and a growth factor
 Draw a straight line from left to right connecting the two highest
obstacle locations on the profile
Site Selection
 To calculate the EC we must account for the radio ray
path bending by using K-factor
 When K-factor is greater than 1, the ray beam bends
towards the earth
 Whne K-factor is less than 1, the ray beam bends away
from the earth
 The following formula applies
where is the distance from the “transmit” site to the
obstacle in question and is the distance from that
obstacle to the receive site
| |
1 2
0.078d d
h m
Site Selection
 How to find the K-factor?
 Fresnel zone clearance
| | | |
| | | |
1 2
[ ] 17.3
d km d km
R m
F GHz D km
1 2
D d d = +
Link Budget
 A path analysis is carried out to dimension the link
 Establishing operating parameters such as transmitter
power output, parabolic antenna aperture (diameter),
receiver noise figure
Link Budget
Link Budget
Link Budget
 For operating frequencies up to about 10 GHz, path loss
is synonymous with free-space path loss
 Free-space path loss is given by
 EIRP is calculated by adding decibel units: transmitted
power (in dBm or dBW), the transmission line losses in
dB, and antenna gain in dBi
 Example: If a microwave transmitter has 1 W of power
output, the waveguide loss is 3 dB and the antenna gain is
34 dBi, the EIRP is
[ ] 92.4 20log [ ] 20log [ ] PL dB F GHz D km = + +
| | | | | | | |
. output trans line
EIRP dBW P dBW Loss dB G dBi = ÷ +
0 3 34 31 EIRP dBW dB dBi dBW = ÷ + =
Link Budget
 Isotropic Receive Level (IRL) is the RF power level
impinging on the receive antenna
 Receive signal level (RSL) is the power level at the input
port if the first active stage in the receiver
| | | | | |
| | | | | | | |
. . rec ant trans line
RSL dBW IRL dBW G dB Loss dB = + ÷
Link Budget
 Example: Suppose the IRL was -121 dBW, the receive
antenna gain was 31 dB, and the line losses were 5.6 dB.
The RSL would be
 The thermal noise level of a receiver is a function of the
receiver noise figure and its bandwidth
 The thermal noise power level in a 1-Hz bandwidth of a
perfect receiver operating at absolute zero is
 The thermal noise level of a perfect receiver operating at
room temperature is
121 31 5.6 95.6 RSL dBW dB dB dBW = ÷ + ÷ = ÷
| |
P dBW Hz = ÷
228.6 10log290 204
P dBW Hz K dBW Hz = ÷ + = ÷
Link Budget
 We can convert noise figure to noise temperature in
kelvins with the following formula
 The thermal noise power level of a device operating at
room temperature is
 Example: A microwave receiver has a noise figure of 8 dB
and its bandwidth is 10 MHz. The thermal noise level is
| | ( )
10log 1 290
NF dB T = +
the effective noise temperature of a device
T =
| | | | | |
204 10log
P dBW Hz NF dB BW Hz = ÷ + +
( )
204 8 10log 10 10 126
P dBW Hz dB dBW = ÷ + + × = ÷
Link Budget
 S/N is widely used in analog transmission systems as one
measure of signal quality
 In digital systems the basic measure of transmission
quality is BER
 In digital radio links, the ratio Eb/N0 is used as the
measure of signal quality
 Eb/N0 means energy per bit per noise spectral density
 N0 is simply the thermal noise in 1 Hz of bandwidth or
| | | |
204 N dBW Hz NF dB = ÷ +
Link Budget
 Example: Suppose a receiver has a noise figure of 2.1 dB,
what is the thermal noise level in 1 Hz of bandwidth. The
N0 is
 Eb is the signal energy per bit and defined as
 Example: The RSL into a certain receiver was -89 dBW
and bit rate was 2.048 Mbps. The Eb value is
 Then, the formula for Eb/N0 is
204 2.1 201.9 N dBW Hz dB dBW Hz = ÷ + = ÷
| | ( )
or 10log
E RSL dBm dBW bit rate = ÷
( )
89 10log 2.048 10 152.11
E dBW dBW = ÷ ÷ × = ÷
| | ( ) | | | |
10log 204
E N RSL dBW bit rate dBW NF dB = ÷ + ÷

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