RF Propagation & Network Planning

An understanding of radio frequency (RF) propagation is essential when it comes to planning and optimising any radio-based communications network.

From a campus-style location based site to a nationwide, multifaceted unified comms network, the initial propagation building block is the same.

Simoco Wireless Solutions offers decades of radio frequency (RF) propagation experience that will help to ensure your network is designed for optimal performance.

What is RF propagation?
Essentially, RF propagation describes the behaviour of radio waves as they move from one point to another. Like other types of waves, they are subject to phenomena including refraction, reflection, scattering, diffraction and absorption – and all of these can have an impact on how clearly and reliably those waves are transmitted.

Comprehensive geographical and topographical mapping provides a starting point for predicting RF propagation. However, 3D clutter data and a range of sophisticated algorithms, built up over decades of radio network deployments, are essential to make sensible propagation predictions in complex terrain like wooded and urban areas.

Other important factors in network planning are environmental conditions such as weather, temperature and air pollution levels, all of which affect the performance of network hardware. You also need to consider licensing, since frequencies may be re-used between different user groups, as well as the evolving standards and protocols that shape the communications landscape, such as MPT1327, POCSAG, TETRA, DMR and LTE.

Our approach
Simoco Wireless Solutions has an unrivalled history of innovation in mission-critical communications, from designing military-grade radio communications in the years prior to the Second World War, to developing our own Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) network – Simoco Xd. As such, the knowledge and experience we bring to RF propagation and network planning is second to none.

We use a combination of both physical radio surveys and desktop studies that visually map out the entire environment covered by each network project. Our sophisticated software, which draws on decades of algorithm development, enables us to accurately predict RF signal across the entire terrain in question, including line-of-sight link calculations and path profile analyses. We not only calculate the RF path, but also its reliability, predicted received signal level and fade margins.

Our RF propagation and network planning projects range from simple predictions based on fixed tower and antenna locations, to sophisticated analyses of multiple different options, so that we can advise on the very best selection and positioning of equipment.