Long Term Evolution- RF Planning and RF Testing.
Evolution of 4G/LTE networks is expanding the customer base by adding tablets, modems and smart phones. In long-term it was estimated that the amount of mobile data downloading might double every year for next 10 years and it is due to the increase in connected devices and the increased availability of mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. It is estimated that the LTE network will grow faster than 3G and the number of LTE subscribers will reach 400 million by 2016.
RF planning in mobile radio communication systems like LTE refers to the process of assigning frequencies, transmitter location and other parameters of the system to enable enough coverage and volume of the required service. The main parameter in RF planning includes network performance and coverage. RF planning comprises of four phases, namely, Initial Radio Link Budgeting, Detailed RF Propagation Modeling, Fine Tuning and Optimization and Continuous Optimization.
RF planning in LTE network is a complex process as LTE network involves a complex physical layer which involves multiple antennas (MIMO) and operates with bandwidths up to 20 MHz. These factors raise the test standards and demand high level of testing. The RF testing aspects in LTE network comprises of testing the transmitter and receiver characteristics that includes transmit power, output power dynamics, and output RF spectrum emissions among various others. The growing LTE network and volume of RF planning associated with it is driving the RF test equipment market.
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