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Tower range

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Anonymous
September 1, 2004 9:44:50 PM

Archived from groups: alt.cellular.gsm (More info?)

Does anyone have an idea of the average or maximum range of a cell tower --
say in a suburban environemnet with trees and 2 story houses?

Thanks.

Stan

More about : tower range

Anonymous
September 1, 2004 9:44:51 PM

Archived from groups: alt.cellular.gsm (More info?)

On Wed, 1 Sep 2004 17:44:50 -0400, "Stanley Naimon"
<snaimon@comcast.net> wrote:

>Does anyone have an idea of the average or maximum range of a cell tower --
>say in a suburban environemnet with trees and 2 story houses?
>
>Thanks.
>
>Stan
>
There are three issues that drive cell tower range.

1). Height. Cell phone is line of sight, so ultimate range is rougly
the square root of the height the tower is about the surrounding land
in miles. 400 feet = 20 miles. In urban areas, you tend to run out of
transmit power before you run out of line of sight range.

2). Power output. GSM defines several power output classes, depending
upon the requirements. There is a minimum signal strenght required to
maintain an acceptable call. These are typically in the 5-20 watt
class, although up to 200 watts is defined. You may find a 200 watt on
top a big hill in a rural area.... The 5-20 watts effectively limits
the range to something in the 5-8 mile range, somewhat more in open
country.

3). Timing advance. GSM operates within narrow timing constraints, so
that the signal arrival at the BTS has to fall within the window. To
achieve this, the timing at the handset is 'tweaked' under BTS
control. The limit on timing advance is 35km. If you want to get past
35km, something has to give. It has been done in Rural Australia, but
it means giving up 4 of the 8 time slots so that the signal from the
handset no longer has to arrive within it's own slot. The next time
slot is sacrificed.
Anonymous
September 2, 2004 11:03:35 AM

Archived from groups: alt.cellular.gsm (More info?)

"Stanley Naimon" <snaimon@comcast.net> wrote in message news:<u8ydnV8idt9J36vcRVn-tQ@comcast.com>...
> Does anyone have an idea of the average or maximum range of a cell tower --
> say in a suburban environemnet with trees and 2 story houses?

It would be very hard to say, because it depends strongly on the
location of the handset. If you are on the roof of one of those
two-story houses, the range can be quite long. Get down on the ground
and the range becomes much shorter. The problem is that the signal
must travel by line of sight (more or less). If you can see the tower
antenna, you'll probably have a full strength signal. Otherwise, the
signal must travel along the slant range through (or around) all the
intervening junk. What exactly is the attenuation of a UHF signal
passing through: brick? , stone?, aluminum siding?, wood?, reinforced
concrete? This "junk" kills radio signals PDQ. The water in trees does
a pretty good job on signals too. If the signal can't go through, it
might make it around by reflection and defraction but these are very
local and hard to predict. This is why you might find a cell phone
will work when you stand in one spot, but if you move 3 meters, it
stops working.

If you have to have and answer to your question, put down 3 km. It's
as good as any other number

Donald Newcomb
DRNewcomb (at) attglobal (dot) net
Related resources
Anonymous
September 2, 2004 1:07:40 PM

Archived from groups: alt.cellular.gsm (More info?)

"Stanley Naimon" wrote:

> Does anyone have an idea of the average or maximum range of a
> cell tower -- say in a suburban environemnet with trees and 2
> story houses?

Absolute maximum range for standard GSM is 35 km. This is
dictated by the Timing Advance range being restricted to values
between zero and 63, with each step corresponding to 553.5
metres from the tower.

Configuring the available timeslots in pairs, Extended Range GSM
gives 72 km usable range, but lacks GPRS capability, and halves
the number of concurrent calls possible. Using more sensitive
BTS receivers, Enhanced Extended Range GSM been demonstrated to
be usable at 120 km (with the same drawbacks as ER).

Within these limits, usable range will depend of BTS design and
power, antenna orientation, elevation, topography
(obstructions), and many other factors (including the moisture
content of any intervening foliage).

John
Anonymous
September 2, 2004 3:17:31 PM

Archived from groups: alt.cellular.gsm (More info?)

"John Henderson" <jhenRemoveThis@talk21.com> wrote in message
news:2pn31uFlgqolU1@uni-berlin.de...
> Configuring the available timeslots in pairs, Extended Range GSM
> gives 72 km usable range, but lacks GPRS capability, and halves
> the number of concurrent calls possible. Using more sensitive
> BTS receivers, Enhanced Extended Range GSM been demonstrated to
> be usable at 120 km (with the same drawbacks as ER).

I wonder if this is what my provider (Rogers, Canada) is doing in rural
Saskatchewan. I have gotten service more than 35 km from a tower on several
occasions. GPRS is still supported, but Rogers could be providing normal
GSM at 1900 MHz and Extended Range GSM at 850 MHz.

Jim
Anonymous
September 3, 2004 5:00:30 AM

Archived from groups: alt.cellular.gsm (More info?)

>Does anyone have an idea of the average or maximum range of a cell tower --
>say in a suburban environemnet with trees and 2 story houses?
>

:-)

There are so many variables that your question really can't be answered.

Things like -

what are the 2 story houses made out of?
what kind of trees?
define suburban
how tall are the cellular towers?
how many are there near your location?
What technology are we talking about?
what kind of antennas do they have?
what kind of phone do you have?

etc.....

--
John S.
e-mail responses to - john at kiana dot net
Anonymous
September 3, 2004 10:29:11 AM

Archived from groups: alt.cellular.gsm (More info?)

"Jim MacKenzie" wrote:

> I wonder if this is what my provider (Rogers, Canada) is doing
> in rural Saskatchewan. I have gotten service more than 35 km
> from a tower on several occasions. GPRS is still supported,
> but Rogers could be providing normal GSM at 1900 MHz and
> Extended Range GSM at 850 MHz.

Do the published coverage maps give any clues about range?
These can be a good indicator, if they're reasonably detailed
and accurate.

I think an Ericsson BTS can be setup as a split standard and ER
configuration in any case. As far as I'm aware, only Ericsson
BTSs support ER.

The other thing to keep in mind is that a handset's indication
of service availability counts for little in these situations.
It's mostly an indication of signal strength. Timing Advance
doesn't get calculated until the handset actually transmits.
And this happens in only 4 situations: power up/down, an
incoming/outgoing call/SMS, expiry of the periodic location
update timer, and any change of "camped-on" BTS were the new
BTS has a different Location Area Code.

John
Anonymous
September 8, 2004 3:24:12 PM

Archived from groups: alt.cellular.gsm (More info?)

"John Henderson" <jhenRemoveThis@talk21.com> wrote in message
news:2ppe4pFnm0meU1@uni-berlin.de...
> Do the published coverage maps give any clues about range?
> These can be a good indicator, if they're reasonably detailed
> and accurate.

They don't document tower locations, although I know where many of the
towers are. I know this more from practical experience.

> The other thing to keep in mind is that a handset's indication
> of service availability counts for little in these situations.
> It's mostly an indication of signal strength. Timing Advance
> doesn't get calculated until the handset actually transmits.
> And this happens in only 4 situations: power up/down, an
> incoming/outgoing call/SMS, expiry of the periodic location
> update timer, and any change of "camped-on" BTS were the new
> BTS has a different Location Area Code.

Yes. I have used a tower to place a call 35 km from the site. I have seen
many circumstances where I have a reasonably strong signal (a couple of
bars) and cannot place a call, so this might be a tower where extended range
coverage hasn't been activated.

Jim
!