High power passive intermodulation measurements are a must for revealing network problems

June 06, 2012 //By Gert Vluymans, Electro Rent Europe
The Quality of Service (QoS) issues that arise as a result of passive intermodulation can directly impact a Mobile Network Operator’s (MNO) ability to retain customer loyalty and minimise churn. For MNO’s an effective PIM management strategy is essential to improve quality and increase revenue.

In order to represent real-traffic network conditions PIM measurements must be made at the base station radio power level or higher. PIM tests that are performed at low power can mask the presence of passive intermodulation in the network. The ability to exceed the current 20 W specification gives operators much more measurement confidence and with UMTS and LTE carrier power levels likely to be specified at 40 W the ability to test at these levels will become mandatory.

PIM testing at 40 W

Communications Components Incorporated’s (CCI) range of precision Passive Intermodulation (PIM) testers provide 40 W PIM testing for all of the current and proposed mobile communications standards including LTE, UMTS, GSM900 and GSM 1800. This comprehensive range of solutions, available from Electro Rent Europe, means that Mobile Network Operators can be assured that their PIM testing requirements can be met now and in the future.

Peter Jackson, European Director for CCI commented: “In order to better represent real-traffic network conditions, PIM measurements should be performed at the BTS radio power level, or slightly higher. Testing for PIM at 40 W has been demonstrated as a more stringent network test and a device that meets the desired PIM performance at 2 W, may well fail if subjected to higher power levels of 20 W or 40 W. PIM tests that are performed at low power can also mask the presence of PIM, and although performing PIM testing at 40 W is considered to be a more stringent test then is currently required, it exposes a cell site’s PIM vulnerabilities in a significantly more quantitative manner leaving little room for conjecture as to the integrity of the devices or components under test.”

The CCI PIMPro 900 is a full band unit, for use across the whole 900 band, which includes E-GSM, UMTS900 and LTE band 8. The PIMPro 1800 is a full band unit for whole of the 1800

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