Over the years, at Vecta Labs we’ve come across many avoidable failures when testing mobile network locations – the simple fact is that if best practice is applied when designing, building or upgrading sites, a large number of interference issues will be avoided. However this is not always the case as interference sources external to the network can have dire impacts to network quality.
During a six-month period, Vecta screened the spectrum for 100 sites in a cellular network in Asia, looking for external interference sources. Every one of the sites that were checked were found to have an external interference source impacting its performance, in total 109 interference sources were found.
Approximately 1/3 of the interference issues were RFIDs (Radio Frequency ID used for car parks and gated communities), while approximately 2/3 of the interference sources were cellular repeaters (ironically decreasing the performance of the network).
The network improvements measured when these external interference sources were removed was nothing short of stunning. Dropped Call Rate (DCR) reduced by up to 70%, and Call Setup Failure Rate (CSFR) was measured to reduce by 94%.
One thing we’ve learned over the years is that interference sources are vast; no one should be blamed for interference but testing and training must be done to ensure cell sites work as required.