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Help determine this service provider, antenna pics

Discussion in 'Northeastern US Wireless Forum' started by DandyDon, Dec 29, 2004.

  1. Andy

    Andy Diamond Senior Member
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    Thanks for adding on to that, Jones. I guess one of the most reliable ways to tell whose cellsite it is is to throw your phone into field test and walk around the site watching your PN Offsets change(or not). And of course having a very low Rx Power :)
     
  2. Rasputin

    Rasputin Bronze Senior Member
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    The thickness has to do with the lower frequency, the higher the frequency the shorter the wave length is. You should have seen some of my 19ft 220mhz antennas back in the day, it was heavy pulling up a tower even with a pulley.
     
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  3. Andy

    Andy Diamond Senior Member
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    Yes, Rasputin, that's what I figured it had to do with. You are a network engineer, correct? Do you work for VZW, if I may ask?
    So the thickness of the panels are generally a good way of telling whether it's an 800 or 1900 carrier, correct?
     
  4. bobolito

    bobolito Diamond Senior Member
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    Sometimes the thickness depends on the spread pattern they want to accomplish. Usually, single panel sectors have one fat panel per sector. However, if it is a multi-panel sector, it will have thinner panels.

    But I've seen other things I can't explain. For instance, T-Mobile has been replacing their old thin panels with thicker (but not fat) panels. An example below:

    BEFORE
    [​IMG]



    AFTER - Notice the lower set of panels have been changed.
    [​IMG]
     
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  5. Andy

    Andy Diamond Senior Member
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    T-Mobile has been replacing some panels in my area as well over the last year. They don't look exactly like the ones your pictured, but also have the red sticker on the bottom :)
    You should have asked the techs on the scene ;)
     
  6. DandyDon

    DandyDon Senior Member
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    Well instead of starting a new thread I'll continue this one. Drove by the same site today, and ANOTHER provider is going up. I think it's Nextel this time (middle sector), not only are all the panels the same but the outside shelter appears to have 2 seperate GPS recievers sticking out. Who else besides TDMA operator (iDEN) would use GPS for their network? GSM?

    Sorry the pics arn't super clear.

    [​IMG]

    The GPS antenna's are the two white dots on both sides of the shelter.
    [​IMG]
     
  7. jones

    jones Silver Senior Member
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    Looks like another Cingular/attws Buildout
     
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  8. jrip

    jrip Senior Member
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    Panel size and shape depends on many factors. Materials used for the panel itself, desired radiation pattern, desired coverage(range)and frequency among others. There are panels the radiate such a narrow beam that you can pick out a house to provide coverage for a mile away. And the people next door wont have a strong enough signal to make/recieve a call. And panels that will cover damn near 180 degree radius. Different materials "resonate" at different frequencys, so different sizes/shapes will be required. Most providers buy their arrays from the same suppliers. Generally based upon whose is the cheapest today, and what the coverage "gods" decide that day.
     
  9. TKR

    TKR Senior Member
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    The middle array looks similar to another new Nextel installation here in metro Atlanta.
     
  10. RichXKU

    RichXKU Once had +5 dBm RSSI
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    ...And don't forget dual-pole antennas. They are basically two antennas inside one thicker panel. If the site has lots of radios and combining them into fewer antennas is not feasible.

    The reason for multiple panels most of the time is because of Diversity Gain. Think about when you listen to a weaker radio station in the car and you come to a stop. If the station is fuzzy, you can roll the car foreward a few feet and the station will come in stronger (or vice versa). If you car had a radio antenna on the front and back, the station wouldn't have faded out at all.
    At a cell site, one panel is receiving your portable signal in one location, the other antenna or antennas are receiving it from a few feet away up on the same tower. Sooo... If one antenna doesn't hear you very well, theres a very good chance the other one (or ones) can.

    Edit: I'm not sure if any providers run diversity on transmit though.
     
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  11. Andy

    Andy Diamond Senior Member
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    Ah-so the amount of panels these days doesn't mean more/increased capacity. That's why newer Verizon sites in my area often only have one thick panel per sector.
     
  12. Airb330

    Airb330 Silver Senior Member
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    Don, it looks like Nextel to me. Maybe Nextel is adding panels to all Sprint sites. Most Nextel-owned sites already have Sprint panels on them. Nextel actually destroyed their own short tower in Kenton, and is now 2nd on a much taller Sprint site there.

    Cingular's always been weak in Fenwick on TDMA. Since, I never got down to the beach last year I couldn't tell if GSM was better. Now that they own a network in OC, it should be better.

    Have you seen the one site right where OC starts? It's just a telephone pole near a gas station, and has the panels just facing south towards OC. It's Verizon and I always thought it was one strange site.
     
  13. RichXKU

    RichXKU Once had +5 dBm RSSI
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    Correct, depending on the technology, you can combine radios and have more than one going into an antenna, 3, 6... 8.

    On CDMA I'm not sure how they can add capacity other than adding another 1.25 MHz channel, or if they only need one radio per 1.25 MHz channel at a site.

    I think I've seen one of those big thick Verizon panels in State College, PA before downtown. Not sure what the specs are on them, or why they didn't go with diversity gain like they usually do.
     
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  14. RichXKU

    RichXKU Once had +5 dBm RSSI
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    Nope, if they are though, its not due to the merger.
     
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  15. Airb330

    Airb330 Silver Senior Member
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    Rich, you have Nextel now? Verizon and the 4400 not working out (god I HATED that phone! lol)? Nextel does have awesome service in Delaware, but it's just not for me, plus a co-worker of mine has them--loves Nextel but admits to strange drops and echoes.
     
  16. macaddict

    macaddict New Member

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    Diversity antennas usually have 2 built-in (you can see 2 cables coming out of them), however the radio is only using 1 at a time. It pretty much listens on both antennas and picks the antenna with the best signal over the other.

    On a full diversity radio, both antennas are being used at the same time (instead of turning on and off one antenna over the other) and the radio compares the signal on both of them and 'recreates' one signal that is better.

    Note that I put 'recreates' on quotations as the radio only decides which antenna is better but it doesn't turn them off.

    This is used to decrease the effects of multipath distortion. This is not used to add bandiwth or capacity to a radio/antenna setup. I can hipothetize that the 'fatter' antennas are diversity antennas.

    I only know this from setting up a 802.11 network at work and having to deal with multipath distortion. If there are some engineers here, please correct me. :)

    -M
     
  17. RichXKU

    RichXKU Once had +5 dBm RSSI
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    Well it's slightly different than that. you can't tell how the antennas are being used just by looking at them up on the tower. Antennas with 2 connectors are generally called "dual-pole". these are used when you have alot of radios that need to be combined together and dont want to add more load to the tower. Dual pole antennas won't help you if you are looking for diversity. It depends on the radios being used at the site, (there are so many kinds) whether it listens to both, one, the other, or three! Unless the seperate antennas being listened to are spaced apart to some degree it doesn't really count as diversity.

    Airb: Yep, I'm on Nextel now, but I've never had a problem with Verizon. You've got PM.
     
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  18. DandyDon

    DandyDon Senior Member
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    Concerning the merger, I have seen applications for new sites, Wireless Provider: Sprint-Nextel.

    Airb330 I have seen that tower, it was on 143rd street in 7-11's parking lot. It did look odd, a telephone pole with 2 antenna's on top. It's gone now though.

    Could the panels operate 1900 and 800 MHZ, or would that require 2 seperate panel configurations?
     
  19. Andy

    Andy Diamond Senior Member
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    As far as I know, generally, one antenna/panel can operate both bands, if it's a dual band antenna or whatever they're called.
     
  20. DandyDon

    DandyDon Senior Member
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    Well it will be a Nextel Site......WOO HOO!!! The guys were cool, I took some "inside" pics of the shelter. They said it will be done today, in about 5 hours.

    From directly under the antenna's:

    [​IMG]

    The trapeze:
    [​IMG]

    The equipment:

    [​IMG]
     
  21. Andy

    Andy Diamond Senior Member
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    Nice shots, Thanks!
     
  22. larry

    larry Sprint loyalist and former mod
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    I wonder when Nextel and Sprint will start building their new sites so that both carriers are together on the site?
     
  23. DandyDon

    DandyDon Senior Member
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    I asked about that, they said they can easily install the equipment inside the shelter. I asked if the anntennas can handle both or need to be swapped out. They said they would just add the antenna's for Sprint, wherever they aren't already co-located.
     
  24. Airb330

    Airb330 Silver Senior Member
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    Cool, glad for ya! I wonder how Cingular is in the area. In my travels in Sussex, Cingular GSM has beaten the pants off Verizon, and there are lot of Nextel users are down there (so it must be good!). hopefully I'll get to the beach more often as my uncle is building a house inland of Bethany (I'll also be in Fenwick as a friend works at Fishers)....hopefully Cingular will be better than Verizon! I wonder why Verizon removed that funky tower in OC?

    In Kent county, almost all Nextel sites are co-located with Sprint (whether they be owned by Spectrasite, AT, etc.).

    Don, shouldn't you be in for an upgrade soon? A friend's friend works for Nextel in Ocean City and he has the i860, nice phone, but kinda big.
     
  25. Runagun

    Runagun New Member

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    Dummy me thought it wasn't nextel! its good to have expanded coverage. 2999 towers to go for this year ;)
     
  26. larry

    larry Sprint loyalist and former mod
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    Sprint and Nextel have been co-locating for years on towers here in So. Cal. I bet this was another factor in Sprint's purchase of Nextel.
     
  27. RichXKU

    RichXKU Once had +5 dBm RSSI
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    For the record, Sprint purchased no one. It is a merger, not a buyout like Cingular/AT&T
     
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  28. Airb330

    Airb330 Silver Senior Member
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    Somehow I came across this old thread. This tower is about 2 miles from my best friend's parent's house. It provides minimal VZ coverage inside, when before it barely worked outside. Seems like the providers are Sprint, VZ, and Nextel. I definitely had 100% ATT signal when I passed this tower. My orange coverage dropped and switched over to ATT (this was pre-integration). So...somehow I feel ATT is on this tower! I have Sprint now...I'll see how it works around the area.
     

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