RF Shaping - Cell Footprint Optimization

RF fundamentals for wireless networks begin with proper cell footprint. A cells coverage needs to meet the desired coverage objective and only the objective. RF Shaping is critical to short term performance gains, maximum parameter optimization, and getting the most from costly and limited wireless spectrum. RF Shaping can best be summed into three reasons:

  1. Maximizing Coverage
  2. Minimizing Interference
  3. Long Term Savings $$

Each cell in a wireless network should have a desired coverage objective. The cells footprint should only cover the objective in order to minimize interference from unnecessary cell overlap. Cell footprints may be looked at through detailed drive, planning tools, geodata, and user traces. What is critical is to efficiently evaluate configurations and validate observations through set inputs. A cell with 4Mb/hr of traffic next to a cell with a 1Gb/hr most likely isn't covering its share. It is this balance of coverage and interference mitigation through RF shaping that is vital to improving the customer experience. RF Shaping may be a combination of many physical configuration changes: antenna swaps, RC changes, tilts, power, azimuths, site replacements, site takedowns, etc. All networks can benefit from continued footprint optimization, the cost benefit of each change needs to be evaluated based on the existing performance and expected growth.

As spectrum continues to become scarce, squeezing the most out of it is critical. The basis of this is RF Shaping. With proper cell footprint, OEM spectral efficiency features have a greater affect (load sharing, interference cancellation, MIMO, etc) further stretching the amount of traffic that can be carried on a given amount of spectrum.

RF Networks have been built over time. These living networks have had holes filled in, sites swapped, sectors added, technologies gained, and the areas they cover change. RF Shaping needs to be continually looked at and adjusted to meet these changes. Without continually evaluating the network cell footprints and determining short and long term improvements for them, network performance and spectral efficiency will suffer.

About RFAssurance

RFAssurance is a Telecom Technology Services, Inc department specializing in the support of wireless networks. RFAssurance provides support and consulting for RF RAN and Core Network tools, processes, and results to improve network design, optimization, and general performance. Our managers, engineers and software developers are subject matter experts with various design & optimization tools, database structure, web implementation, and their practical applications. For how we can help support your network, contact us via email at rfassurance@ttswireless.com