Friday, September 13, 2013

The Inner Workings of Cell Towers and the Wireless Network

We use cell phones every day and pass by cell phone towers on our way to work, to the grocery store, or when we’re driving to the mall. You may not be able to pick them out, but they are there sending signal to your phone so you can stream music or make a phone call while driving on the highway. But you may have never taken the time to understand the mechanics behind the wireless network you use so frequently.

There are three parts to the wireless network: the cell site, the base station, and the switch. Sounds fairly simple, right? The cell site is the structure that supports the antennas and equipment of the cellular carriers. The heights of these towers are determined by technical analysis to determine optimal transmission and reception to and from a wireless device. The base station is the actual equipment placed at a cell site to provide transmission and reception of the wireless signal. The switch is a central location where all calls are routed. The calls are routed through the public switched telephone network to a landline or another mobile device, or through another method to a wireless device or landline. (Source: PCIA)

Below is a picture of a basic wireless network design. “Wireless network design is determined by the wireless service provider, and in order to meet service demands and network needs the service provider must have the ability to quickly deploy the necessary infrastructure,” according to the PCIA. 

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