Axsera has over 15 years of RF experience supporting telecom service providers, Utilities, transportation and industrial companies all over North America. Axsera provides a range of RF offerings including:
- Spectrum Clearance
- Interference Hunting
- Equipment Installation Services
- Troubleshooting of wireless networks
- Network performance optimization
With increased channel size, higher throughput and lower latency introduced by 5G NR networks, demand for spectrum clearance & interference mitigation are crucial for operators to ensure a robust and optimized network. In addition, frequency bands being assigned to 5G involve re-purposing spectrum used for completely different applications. This requires network operators to conduct Spectrum Clearance studies to identify potential presence of signals that may have never been identified before.
What is Spectrum Clearance?
The term Spectrum Clearance is often referenced to an activity that involves verification of the noise floor or presence of any signal within the channel or band of interest. Axsera classifies Spectrum Clearance as a process of identifying unwanted signals that can possibly compromise the performance of a cellular network. This Application Note focuses on Spectrum Clearance Services.
RF spectrum pollution refers to situations in which the presence of unwanted RF energy sources. Polluted spectrum degrades the normal operation of a cellular communications system, this often results in dropped calls and lower data rates.
There is no specific level of unwanted signal to be considered as a reference for pollution of the spectrum. The threshold levels can vary tremendously depending on the characteristics of both the unwanted RF energy source and the affected cellular system.
The presence of an unwanted RF source may come from a wide range of applications. Prior to the deployment of 5G networks it has become imperative that service providers conduct Spectrum Clearance sweeps.
Spectrum Clearance Components
Axsera works with a wide range of technologies to conduct Spectrum Clearance. This includes equipment that allow for both manual and automated Drive Testing as well as Walk Testing. The following is a list of some key components Axsera uses for Spectrum Clearance sweeps:
- Drive Test Scanner Spectrum Analyzer
- Walk Test Scanner Spectrum Analyzer
- Personal Computer with Drive Test Software
- Filters tuned to the designated frequency band of interest.
- Magnetic mounted omni-directional antenna with built-in GPS antenna for mounting on vehicles
- Directional antenna with built-in GPS antenna
- State of the art software and algorithms to direct & pinpoint potential unwanted RF sources
Spectrum Clearance Process
During the Spectrum Clearance process, Axsera can provide both automated and manual Drive and Walk Tests. Drive testing is typically used in sub-urban, remote and rural areas where there is relatively open terrain with limited multi-story buildings. Walk Testing is used in more dense urban areas where there are many multi-story buildings. Walk Testing often involves access to roof tops to obtain optimal spectrum clearance information.
In both testing cases, Axsera uses a combination of RF Engineers and certified technicians to conduct automated spectrum clearance sweeping according to the client’s needs. This includes the following:
- Selecting the target geographical region of interest and path to conduct the Spectrum Clearance Sweep
- RF Engineers configuring the test platform to the client’s specifications, including:
- Frequency channel to be analyzed.
- Resolution Bandwidth (RBW) and Video Bandwidth (VBW) settings.
- Reference threshold power (dBm) alarm level etc…
- In the case of drive testing, certified technicians will drive along designated routes with the test equipment operating at the specified settings and recording potential RF energy levels.
- RF Engineers validating the data collected during the Drive Test or Walk Test including:
- Performing post processing of the gathered data.
- Organizing the processed data as per the client’s requirement.
Interpreting and summarizing the outcome of the processed data.
Summary & Conclusions
Spectrum Clearance is an essential part of building LTE & 5G NR networks. Once the Spectrum Clearance process is completed, the client will have a detailed map identifying of unwanted RF energy sources. This data can then be used to determine further steps towards clearing the spectrum prior to network deployment.
With Axsera’s expertise and state of the art equipment, the Spectrum Clearance process ensures efficiency and accuracy in the most cost-effective way possible.
Contact us to find out more via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Photo Provided by Rohde & Schwarz)