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RF Globalnet Article on Cell Base Station Antennas and Their Environment


Last January RF Globalnet, a newsletter for wireless technology types, published an article entitled "Antenna Location Is Not An Architectural Decision: Antenna system design and placement is critical to proper system performance”, by Alfred T. Yerger II of Bird Technologies Group, a frequent contributor to the publication. Mr. Yerger argued that technical issues are the key one in antenna design and shows little interest in architectural issues. He states, “As you can imagine, much of this does not fit well with a landlord’s or building owner’s idea of where the antennas should be placed, or a tower owner’s desire to fill a particular space on the tower.”

This week RF Globalnet published my response to the Yerger article, “Consistency With The Architectural Environment Is A Key Issue In Practical And Pragmatic Cellular Antenna Engineering”. The key issue of the response is stated as

“The point of this essay is to emphasize that good engineering is more than about making systems that work in a nominal sense, it is about making systems work in the real world with real constraints such as cost, size, weight, battery life, and compatibility with their environment in the case of systems that are intrusive into their locations as many cellular base stations are. It is this engineering to meet practical constraints which is a key difference between engineers and physicists.”

My article ends with

“Mr. Yerger ends his article with, "Remember, antenna location is not an architectural decision!" Perhaps not, but in the real world, antennas and other engineered systems have to work in the environment in which they are placed. Being compatible with the local environment and acceptable to neighbors is part of that. The cellular operators and suppliers should start making some real efforts to examine base station design for suburbia from a fresh piece of paper and stop focusing on using products in today's catalogs unless forced to do a very expensive custom design. Alcatel-Lucent deserves praise for ‘thinking outside the box’ with their new concept (lightRadio™), whether or not it ever has a significant role. The rest of industry should rethink its current approaches, also.”

Readers are invited to read both articles and post here with their views of the proper role of architecture/city planning issues in antenna system design. All responses will be posted here subject to constraints similar to present broadcasting FCC limits.

Best wishes to all for a Happy Thanksgiving!
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