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Cows????

Discussion in 'GENERAL Wireless Discussion' started by Rollindown95, Dec 31, 2006.

  1. Rollindown95

    Rollindown95 Junior Member
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    i was glancing thru the "cell sites" section and i saw towers referred to as "cows" at racetracks, and generally these towers were that of nextel, whats the story on a "cow", is it just a tower with lots of carriers on it or lots of microwave dishes on it? :confused:
     
  2. chuikov

    chuikov Senior Member
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    COW stands for "cellular on wheels". They often require a microwave because a permanant T-1 costs lots of money. Since Nextel sponsors NASCAR they go to extra effort to provide coverage at races.

    http://gallery.wirelessadvisor.com/showimage.php?i=2927
     
  3. Jonathan Kramer

    Jonathan Kramer Telecom Atty/RF Engr.
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    Now, Chuikov, you know that your photo reference is "utterly" silly! Let's show Rollindown what a real COW looks like. ;)

    [​IMG]

    Happy New Years,

    Jonathan
     
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  4. billp

    billp Junior Member
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    seen them in my area after lat june early july floods on the mohawk the brought them in to help handle the over load on the system verizon was smart here keep their towers out of flood plain lol but vzw was the one to bring them in and set them up for the service workers and red cross
     
  5. Rollindown95

    Rollindown95 Junior Member
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    whats the purpose of some towers having those microwave dishes on them and others not? and i thought t1 lines were sometin to do with internet? arent the microwave dishes used to communicate tower to tower, but then again, why would the towers have to communicate? what does a permanent t1 line to in comparison to a microwave dish, are u saying a microwave dish is just a cheaper way to get the benefits of a t1 hookup?
     
  6. Jay2TheRescue

    Jay2TheRescue Resident Spamslayer
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    When you make a cellular call it generally travels over the internet from the tower. Using microwave dishes the cellular companies can bring internet service for the tower to a temporary or inaccessible area. You will often see the microwave dishes on towers along side rural highways. Each tower relays the microwave internet connection to the next. This saves a lot of money because they don't have to lay cable to provide service to those sites.

    -Jay
     
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  7. wirles

    wirles I'm baaaaaaaaaack
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    Well, yes and no. It is PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) not the 'Internet' per se. Of course, that is me picking nits on semantics, but there is a difference. The T1 is a TDM type of circuit and gets broken down into DS0's on site for channeling purposes. The T1 provides what is commonly referred to as backhaul which is the connection from a base transmitter station (BTS) to the mobile switching center (MSC). When microwave is used for either temp. backhaul circuits or permanent alternative to a wireline circuit, it would connect to a site that already has a wireline connection to a Telco service provider and would merely be in a host/slave configuration for sharing the T1's from the wireline equipped site to the COW, for example.

    Here is a diagram to further explain:
    [​IMG]
     
  8. Jay2TheRescue

    Jay2TheRescue Resident Spamslayer
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    Yes, that is true. I was just trying to boil it down to the simplest answer.

    -Jay
     
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  9. Jonathan Kramer

    Jonathan Kramer Telecom Atty/RF Engr.
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    Although Jay and wirles have already given you a lot of good information, let me add a bit more from my government-side perspective.

    Carriers generally like to use microwave for backhaul (the link from the site back to the mobile telephone switching office/center). This is because it can save them hundreds of dollars a month per site in telco line lease fees. Governments usually want to minimize the visual impact of sites, so the ones 'in the know' usually require a carrier to use landline circuits where available.

    Jonathan
     
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  10. wirles

    wirles I'm baaaaaaaaaack
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    Ok, not to get too far on a tangent..but how can they 'require' it unless the requirement for stealth is already in place which would greatly inhibit the installation of a wireless backhaul solution? I would venture an educated guess that it is a small percentage of sites in an even smaller percentage of locations/jurisdictions that a government entity could limit the use of a wireless backhaul solution. It couldn't be on the grounds of spectrum/channel interference because there are spectrum free (RFI/EFI) solutions available.
     
  11. Jay2TheRescue

    Jay2TheRescue Resident Spamslayer
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    They just make it part of the building codes for wireless sites. That way it doesn't matter how stealthy the backhaul is, they won't get a building permit for it. It doesn't have to make sense. We're talking about local politics here.

    -Jay
     
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  12. wirles

    wirles I'm baaaaaaaaaack
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    That's what I mean though, the Telecom Act restricts some of that nonsense legislation from being allowed and could easily be challenged in court. PG and Fairfax Counties have tried unsuccessfully to restrict dishes and have been forced by judicial challenge to change the language of their regulations to size/surface area in specifically zoned areas like residential. So other than that, they would be hard pressed since it is a zoning issue, not a building permit/code issue. I know some of the smaller municipalities try to play games with illegal regulations that are only good until they are challenged.

    It was my staff zoning attorney that challenged the FFX rule and got them forced to modify it.
     
  13. Jonathan Kramer

    Jonathan Kramer Telecom Atty/RF Engr.
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    Guys, guys, hang on...I didn't intend to start a brush fire here. :wink:

    The issue of dishes versus dishes needs to be defined. Dishes for satellite reception are one thing; microwave dishes are another. Also, it's not just a matter of legislation, but once of how the courts have viewed the issues of aesthetics. Some courts look to the 'least intrusive means' test to determine whether a site denial was reasonable. That test doesn't generally apply beyond wireless.

    Yes, some jurisdictions do adopt sweeping wireless siting regulations, and some of those may go too far. I know of one consultant that 'gives' the jurisdiction a massive wireless ordinance, but then contracts with the jurisdiction to administer the same massive ordinance paid for by what are alleged to be very high fees charged to the carriers under the ordinance. Those things happen, and as they do they get challenged to determine whether they're legitimate/legal.

    The only black and white issue is.....ah.....I'm not sure! ;)

    jlk
     
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  14. Jonathan Kramer

    Jonathan Kramer Telecom Atty/RF Engr.
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    The issue of wireless backhaul versus wired backhaul usually comes down to aesthetics. I've had cases where a carrier proposed a microwave backhaul and the dish was not visible. Okay, no harm, no foul. Go for it. But where a backhaul soultion busts aesthetics, and there is a viable alternative available, then the alternative may well become the primary. Of course, where there is no viable alternative to a wireless backhaul, then that may the overriding consideration.

    jlk
     
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  15. wirles

    wirles I'm baaaaaaaaaack
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    True, but a backhaul antenna/transciever can easily be proven to be a lesser aesthetic affect than the panels themselves which would bring us back to my pre-existing stealth regulation being the only 'real' enforcement tool.
     
  16. Rollindown95

    Rollindown95 Junior Member
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    so where do the cell panels on the woers play their role? why is internet involved if im just making a phone call? when i see a cell tower, and i live outside of philadelphia, so we have some out here, are they capable of both receiving and sending signals?:confused: i thought i read that the purpose of the those stick like poles, called antennas are the signal receivers? what transmits then? the panels? :confused:

    ps- why dont all towers have those microwave dishes?:confused: :confused:
     
  17. wirles

    wirles I'm baaaaaaaaaack
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    The radios on the ground of a tower use the antennas up top (panels) for both transmit and receive to enable 2 way communication from your cell phone. They need to connect to a switch and out to public network (PSTN/Internet) for your call to be able to connect to someone not on the carrier's own network. For example, if you call from a Cingular phone in Philly to a landline phone (say Verizon) in New Jersey, the cell site connects to a switch using the T1 line (backhaul) to the wireless carrier's network. The switch then routes your call through the PSTN to Verizon's switch which then routes the call to the house you called (using the phone number as the 'address'). A site that has wired circuits (T1's) can share those connections to another site downstream using microwave dishes (or another means of wireless backhaul). So instead of the downstream site having it's own connection to the switch, it connects to the other site and gets connected from there to the main switch.
     
  18. Rollindown95

    Rollindown95 Junior Member
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    so if i see a tower with microwave bowls on it, that means that a tower nearby has a "true" t1 line buried in the ground, for the towers with microwave dishes to bite off of? so where does the internet come in here, someone posted above said it had to do with internet?
     
  19. Jay2TheRescue

    Jay2TheRescue Resident Spamslayer
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    The internet is so you can surf the internet via your phone, and calls may be carried via VOIP.

    -Jay
     
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  20. Rollindown95

    Rollindown95 Junior Member
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    but am i correct in my understanding with my prior statement?
     
  21. Jay2TheRescue

    Jay2TheRescue Resident Spamslayer
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    Yes, if the tower has microwave antennas it is either getting or supplying a T1 from/to another nearby tower.

    -Jay
     
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  22. bobolito

    bobolito Diamond Senior Member
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    A tower with microwave dishes is basically not physically wired to anything. It receives/sends all its communication via the microwave dish because it doesn't have any wired circuit to do that, like T1, fiber, etc. Any link from the tower to the rest of the network is a point-to-point connection, meaning nothing else goes through that connection. The internet has nothing to do at this point.

    The Internet is routed internally from some other location through a private network and it is solely for the purpose of your phone being able to browse the internet. The internet is not used to carry voice calls. All your calls are routed internally.
     
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  23. chuikov

    chuikov Senior Member
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    But you brought up the "Z word" - zoning - pretty much an automatic brush fire. ;)

    Some municipalities have cut-and-pasted each other's wireless ordinance and it requires antennas to be no more than 5' long and 9" wide. It obviously limits the use of microwave dishes due to the width limit. I think thes length and width limits are completely arbitrary, but it has the effect of limiting the use of dishes out of dumb luck. It also discriminates agaist carriers that operate more efficiently with 6' or 8' antennas (specifically prohibited by Telecom Act).

    Anyway, it could be fought in the zoning process and/or in court, but it's not worth the time, money and probable ill will. The carriers usually just comply even though the law is poorly written.
     
  24. Jay2TheRescue

    Jay2TheRescue Resident Spamslayer
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    That's good to know. I thought in some cases it was routed via VOIP.

    -Jay
     
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  25. Jonathan Kramer

    Jonathan Kramer Telecom Atty/RF Engr.
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    Well, in honor of this thread (and the fact that every January 2nd I trek to the Rose Bowl to hunt herds of COWs), I offer you the following photo, which I shot in Pasadena about 1.5 hours ago.

    -Jonathan

    [​IMG]

    Moo, you!
     
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  26. Rollindown95

    Rollindown95 Junior Member
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    Thankyou Jonathan, my only questions are as follows. I see that the names sprint and nextel are on the vehicles there, but sprint and nextel towers are different correct? so which towers are they? and are they pcs or not?

    Great pic though.:browani:
     
  27. Jonathan Kramer

    Jonathan Kramer Telecom Atty/RF Engr.
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    The towers for each carrier are attached to each COW. The Sprint COW has its antennas extended up high enough so that it has to be guyed (in this case to some stakes and a fence). The Nextel antennas are lowered, so there's no need to guy them.

    j
     
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  28. bobolito

    bobolito Diamond Senior Member
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    In this day an age, we are still using circuit switched voice when you make a regular call. Now, if you use a phone card to call internationally or dial an access number to get cheap international calls, you may be using VoIP at some point but that being outside of the wireless carrier's domain and done only at the point where the call enters the 3rd party long distance provider.

    Also, if you somehow use software with a PDA (like Skype) and are able to stream two-way voice over your EVDO or EDGE/HSDPA connection, then that would be VoIP. But as long as you are using your cell minutes, you are not using VoIP on your cell carrier's network.
     
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  29. Jay2TheRescue

    Jay2TheRescue Resident Spamslayer
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    Thanks Bobolito.

    -Jay
     
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  30. Jonathan Kramer

    Jonathan Kramer Telecom Atty/RF Engr.
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    Aw, heck, why not another COW, also at the Rose Bowl today. I'll let you figure out which carrier this COW belows to.


    [​IMG]

    Moo, too!
     
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