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Antenna Isolation Considerations in WCDMA Repeater Deployment
Azah Syafiah Mohd Marzuki, Amir Razif Abd Rahim, Benyazwar Mohmd, Khaidir Khalil, Amran Naemat and Azlinda Tee,,,,,
Abstract Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA) or widely known as 3G in Malaysia, promises more data-enriched services at higher data rates. However, 3G cell radius is much smaller compared to GSM and thus more base stations are required to cover a comparable GSM area. Another solution to solve the coverage problem is through repeater deployment. Channel-selective repeater is one of the promising solutions offered in the market. However, one must first consider antenna isolation in order to avoid self-oscillation before installing the repeater. This paper attempts to give some introduction to repeater system with emphasis on the antenna isolation issue. Factors that affect antenna isolation are elaborated and a case study is reviewed to illustrate the antenna isolation measurement. Lastly, the result shows that the antenna isolation highly depends on the antennas separation and antenna loss.

Mobile & Wireless IP Access, Telekom Research & Development Sdn Bhd, Idea Tower, UPM-MTDC, 43400 Serdang, Selangor, MALAYSIA

The repeater or remote cell is a bi-directional amplifier connected to a particular base station or donor cell. Both remote and donor cells share the same traffic channel elements. Channel-selective repeater utilizes a heterodyne receiver structure which downconverts the WCDMA input signal to an intermediate frequency (IF) to select the desired 5MHz operating channel. The filtered IF is then upconverted back to the original WCDMA signal for amplification and retransmission. Since the input and output frequencies are the same for channel-selective repeater, the requirement for the antenna isolation becomes quite critical. 3GPP TR 25.956 explains the importance and factors that influence antenna isolation. Network planners in particular must give careful considerations in selecting suitable sites and determining the optimum repeater operating parameters.

Keywords: 3G, Repeater, Isolation

2. Repeater System 1. Introduction
In cellular communication system, repeaters have been widely used for cell extension, cell shaping and capacity enhancement [1]. This simple and costeffective solution replaces the need of base station in area of low level signal such as cell edge, shadow area, blind spot, in-building, underground, tunnel, etc [2]. A repeater is strategically located between a base station and the intended coverage area as shown as in Figure 1.
Repeater System

A repeater system consists of repeater unit, donor and server antennas, and feeder cables as shown as in figure 2. Depending on the intended application, the repeater and antennas specifications must be properly selected.

Donor Antenna


Server Antenna


Figure 2: The Repeater System.

Base Station


Car Park M* AML

Figure 1: Repeater Application Example.

The donor antenna is likely to be directional since it points straight to a particular base station (line-ofsight). It intercepts the base station signal (downlink) as well as transmits back the amplified signal from the user equipment to the base station (uplink).

0-7803-9745-2/06/$20.00 ©2006 IEEE.


as illustrated in Figure 3. Similarly. Firstly.37 dB = -17 dBi). The antenna isolation can also be improved by introducing additional shielding factor in the feedback path. the repeater gain must be set at most 15 dB lower than the measured isolation. Secondly is using antennas with higher attenuation at the required direction.. B. Any obstacles which can further attenuate the signal level such as water tank or concrete wall can be used to increase the isolation between the antennas. The antenna radiation pattern shows the angular attenuation in horizontal or vertical plane. even after the wanted signal is removed repeater self-oscillation will persist. However. The following equation gives an approximate on the antenna isolation. Vertical installation like on a pole typically uses 90° signal attenuation while horizontal installation such as on rooftop exploits the 180° front-to-back ratio for antenna isolation. Similarly for the uplink case.f is in GHz. the shielding between donor and server antennas is very minimal. 20 dBi . A. There exists some degree of coupling or feedback path between donor and server antennas used. there are several parameters which can be changed according to the above equation. Antenna Isolation In a repeater system. The antenna isolation will determine the maximum allowable repeater gain in a particular installation [5]. 3. If the repeater gain is set too high. increasing the distance will increase the isolation. essential. Higher antenna isolation figure allows for higher repeater maximum gain which gives even larger service coverage area. Both donor and server antennas are characterized amongst others by their gain and radiation pattern. The frequency of operation. In order to meet the 3GPP antenna isolation requirement for the repeater application. In cases where the antenna installation is already made with a specific spacing or antenna type. d is in meter. Narrower vertical beam width for vertical installation gives higher loss or lesser feedback for improved isolation. the separation distance between donor and server antennas is proportional to the path loss. the server loss. The measurement must be performed to confirm that the minimum required antenna isolation is met for the intended repeater maximum operating gain. C. the antenna isolation might not be sufficient to prevent signal oscillation leading to repeater system instability. (b) horizontal. 348 . While the first factor depends on the antenna radiation pattern. a donor antenna with 20 dBi gain and 37 dB attenuation at 90° vertical direction gives a donor loss of 17 dBi (i. Antenna isolation in general depends on two factors: attenuation level towards the other antenna and the path loss between the two antennas. if the downlink signal transmitted from the server antenna is also picked up by the donor antenna at a comparable power level to the wanted received signal from base station. and (c) 90°. The separation distance between donor and server antennas. If possible it is best that the antenna is mounted such that its maximum attenuation is directed towards the other antenna. the separation distance between the two antennas is important to achieve higher antenna isolation figure for optimum repeater performance.44 + 20log d+ 20logf (2) A (a) B (b) C (c) Figure 3: Repeater installation type (a) Vertical. downlink amplifier oscillation will most likely occur [4]. the later is a function of separation distance. For example. The free space path loss equation is an approximation. a site-measurement on the antenna isolation is very Donor loss. In any set-up. Iant for a particular installation set-up [6]: Iant FSPL+ Donor Loss + Server Loss where an (1) FSPL =32. Server antenna radiation pattern usually has wider beam width that depends on the intended coverage area. it is more critical for outdoor installation where donor and server antennas are in close vicinity to each other that we need to ensure enough isolation. Thus.e.Vice-versa. the server antenna transmits the downlink signal to as well as intercepts the uplink signal from the user equipment. For example. The separation is denoted by d. Ls is the server antenna gain at an angle directed towards the donor antenna. Therefore before any repeater installation is made. Ld refers to the donor antenna gain at angle directed towards the server antenna. not taking into account reflections from nearby structures and obstacles. The repeater antenna installation can be done in vertical or horizontal separation for outdoor environment. Antenna isolation can be estimated by calculation and verified with measurement. Both results are somewhat different since the later method involves environmental reflection effects. This attenuation or loss in the feedback path is called the antenna isolation and in general must be at least 15 dB higher than the repeater gain to give sufficient margin against potential selfoscillation in the repeater system [3].

However. dBi Loss. Table 1: Antenna Specification. Maximum power. 3dB beamwidth. 'antm is the difference between transmitted signal power from SMIQ-03B. respectively. During both measurements. the antenna isolation increases with increasing antenna separation.5 8 12 at 90° 16 at 180° 70 H-plane 55 E-plane 50 Vertical 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Psa. Power level through the feedback path is measured at various separation distances for both vertical and horizontal set-up.. Results and Discussion . From Table 1. installation. dB 74 69 77 79 75 75 79 82 79 82 Iant-c. MHz Input impedance. dBm -59 -54 -62 -64 -60 -60 -64 -67 -64 -67 Iant m.. While for horizontal installation. (b) d.. PSAThe calculated antenna isolation. W Polarization Overall. the vertical and horizontal installation antenna losses are 12 dB and 16 dB. I. 349 . the antenna height is fixed and the same for both antennas. Signal generator. personnel are not recommended to stand between or near the antennas. Q VSWR Gain. a 5m pole is used to hold the donor and server antennas. m SG signal generator SA spectrum analyzer Figure 4: Antenna isolation measurement: (a) vertical and (b) horizontal installation. dB 71 77 81 83 85 87 88 89 90 91 From Table 2. It is better to verify the isolation between the antennas before connecting the repeater for operation to ensure system stability. Antenna Isolation Measurement mounted pointing towards the donor cell and intended serving area respectively. The measurements are taken at Im to 5m vertical antenna separation in Im spacing. is given by equation (1) where antenna losses. Table 2: Horizontal Installation. The measured antenna isolation.4. 5. SA is Rohde & Schwarz FSH3. The test was conducted on a flat three-storey building rooftop. If the repeater system utilizes this antenna configuration. This is due to multipath fading effect on the signal level received at FSH3. Test signal (PSG) is a 2140 MHz CW at 15 dBm while both donor and server antennas are of same type as specified in Table 1.- 6 (a) Antenna Donor SA Tables 2 and 3 present the measured and calculated antenna isolation for horizontal and vertical installation respectively. the repeater gain can be set at only 67 dB maximum. the measured antenna isolation differs from the calculated isolation by about 8 dB. the repeater will possibly be operating below the claimed maximum output power. donor and server antennas will be Once a site has been identified for repeater For vertical installation. dBi 824 to 960 1710 to 1880 50 <1. The measurements are taken from Im to 10m with 1 meter horizontal spacing. PSG and received signal power at FSH-3. Hence. 82 dB of isolation is obtained at 10 m horizontal separation. Frequency range. SG is Rohde & Schwarz SMIQ03B and spectrum analyzer. Ld and LS are equal. Figure 4 shows the measurement set-up for antenna isolation.

IEEE Proceedings of Southeast Conference.tekotelecom. From the antenna isolation measurement. T.956. Wideband Multipath Measurements. usually the feedback path is already highly attenuated through various walls and longer feeder cable.emswireless.pdf [6] EMS Wireless. 2004. However. Lemon. server loss and donor loss. "Antenna Isolation Measurements for On-frequency Radio Repeaters".0. Netherlands. pg 110 [4] W. shielding material and more complicated installation set-up. [2] C. "3GPP TSG RAN: UTRA Repeater planning guidelines and system analysis".T Slingsby. This attenuation is a factor of antenna loss in the direction towards the other antenna as well as the path loss between the antennas. antenna isolation is better at greater antenna separation. v6. 2002. "Antenna Isolation. S. Else. d. shielding can be used to introduce more loss. This requirement has greater impact on the outdoor installation in which the feedback path between donor and server antennas has relatively lower attenuation. Krishnamoorthy. Rees. This is due to higher antenna loss at 180° for horizontal installation compared to 90° for vertical. http://www. This paper focuses primarily on the separation distance effect on the antenna isolation for horizontal and vertical installation.R. the antenna isolation depends on the antennas spacing. J. Basically. T. "Repeater Application in UMTS". frequency. 2002. dBm -50 -55 -49 -58 -63 Iantm . W. For indoor application. For the repeater to be operated at maximum gain. the variation between the measured and calculated is smaller compared to the horizontal installation. importance and factors that affect the antenna isolation have been discussed. Conclusion A channel-selective repeater in 3G network is very useful to extend and enhance the coverage. "How to design a Teko Telecom Coverage Enhancement System to empower RF coverage of an outdoor dead spot". 2004. However. Operating frequency has minimal impact. http://www. Chris G. Kummertz.P. pg 11 [3] TSG RAN 25. More investigations will be carried out to study the effects of antenna types. 1995. Therefore. Dec 2004.J. Anderson. Eindhoven.Table 3: Vertical Installation. Ranson. higher antenna spacing gives higher path loss. it is better to have antennas with narrow beamwidth and high front-to-back ratio especially for donor antenna. m 1 2 3 4 5 Psa. References [1] Allgon Product Application 010. On average for the same antenna separation. -notes/ 350 .H. the antenna isolation must be at least 15 dB larger than the repeater gain.G. Proceedings of IEEE gth International Conference on Antenna and Propagation. pg 239 [5] Teko Telecom. antenna isolation issues must be resolved before a repeater is installed. Meanwhile. higher antenna isolation is obtained for horizontal installation.dB 63 69 73 75 77 Similarly for vertical installation.0. and Interference Mitigation for On-frequency Repeaters". J. The 6. Also. "Antenna Isolation Calculations". McGeehan. one must ensure enough antenna isolation is available to prevent self-oscillation in the system. it is concluded that the antenna isolation can be improved by increasing the attenuation in the feedback path between the two antennas. dB 65 70 64 73 78 Iantc .