Fundamentals of cable/antenna test tools for base station deployment, upkeep and improvement: Page 4 of 4

October 27, 2014 // By Alain Mignot, Livingston FR
It is recognised that one of the main issues pertaining to the overall performance of a modern mobile communication network will stem from the numerous base stations on which the network is reliant. If these base stations have not been correctly constructed or there has been a failure for timely maintenance to be carried out, then the level of service that a network operator provides to its subscribers might be put in jeopardy and significant revenue may be lost.
So that more can be done with just a single item of equipment, additional functions may be integrated into unit. Spectrum measurement, for example, can be of use as it allows sources of interference to be determined. As a result more advanced models will often incorporate a spectrum analyser. Increasingly network operators will expect field engineers to accurately log the position where testing was undertaken, so GPS is becoming an important supplementary feature. Furthermore, passive inter-modulation (PIM) is now regarded as one of the critical phenomena that needs addressing when base station infrastructure is being deployed. Some analysers now also have the capacity to provide a basic indication of the presence of PIM, though utilisation of a separate dedicated PIM tester will be needed to scrutinise it properly. The detailed mapping out an interference profile, using a directional antenna, can be beneficial to the field engineer, so units that provide this facility are likely to be very attractive.

In many cases analysers are only required for short periods of time. This means that it may not be economically viable to purchase such items of equipment. Instead, in many cases, it will be more attractive, both technically and financially speaking, to partner with an equipment rental firm. Among the products in test sourcing specialist Livingston’s portfolio that are widely used in antenna/cable analysis are Anritsu’ Site Master, JDSU CellAdvisor and the ZVH from Rohde & Schwarz. These are offered with a full range of accessories, plus a comprehensive calibration management service. The flexibility that this sort of engagement permits means that as well as having complete control of how long the analyser is kept in use (so that the monetary investment matches well with the revenue generated), different analysers options can be tried out. If one analyser model proves to not be as suitable as first expected, then an alternative can quickly be sought without any cost penalties being accrued.

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