Philip Sorrells, vice president of strategic marketing, Wireless, CommScope

Philip Sorrells, vice president of strategic marketing, Wireless, CommScope

Wireless networks today are facing a massive capacity crunch. With a data hungry mobile society and its love for bandwidth-hungry applications, networks are constantly under pressure and struggling to keep pace, especially in LTE environments.

An effective way to solve the capacity problem is through sector sculpting. It is an ingenious approach to antenna pattern shaping that enables operators to carve out more capacity, improve coverage and limit interference.

Sector sculpting deals with all these issues and boosts network performance by controlling interference between sectors. It also helps in increasing the number of accessible subscriber channels.

What is sector sculpting? It has to do with advanced features that are available in the latest base station antennas. Sector sculpting is basically specialized RF pattern shaping that is made possible with directional antennas, both in azimuth (horizontal direction) and elevation (vertical space). Sector sculpting allows for precise wireless coverage with minimal interference with neighbouring cells.

A critical performance metric is the overlap of energy between neighbouring cells and sectors. The sector power ratio is a comparison of signal power registered outside and inside a desired receiving area as a consequence of an antenna’s radiation pattern. The lower the ratio, the better the antenna’s performance.

Interference can increase due to overlapping competing signals and eventually reduce performance. This causes performance issues, like dropped calls. Usually, interference can be minimized through sector sculpting techniques.With sector sculpting and the resulting improved containment of interference, the same frequencies or codes can be reused in cells that are closer to each other while also increasing spectrum efficiency, capacity and network performance.

Sector sculpting becomes even more important for 4G/LTE networks since interference needs to be minimised if one desires to maximize the potential of MIMO. An increasing demand for faster speeds and seamless services means selecting the right antennas and using sector sculpting techniques will become important considerations for all operators.

What do you think? Can sector sculpting provide relief for the capacity crunch?

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Commscope are silver sponsor of the Antenna Evolution Focus Day. Download a flyer here.

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