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Designing a Wireless System and Dealing with Wireless Path Loss

When designing a wireless system, there are several areas of concern when it comes to performance. After all, you want to your wireless system to perform as efficiently as possible. But perhaps no wireless communication concern is bigger than range. This is because buildings, foliage, other obstacles and a lack of antenna height can all contribute to a decrease in signal strength.

To estimate the communication distance or transmission range of a system, you need to consider four factors:

  1. Transmit Power: This refers to the power broadcast by the transmitter, which is typically measured in watts or milliwatts.
  2. Receive Sensitivity: This is a measure of the smallest signal strength a receiver can discern.
  3. Antenna Gain: This is the amount of signal gain provided by antennas.
  4. Path Loss: This is the primary area of concern. Path loss is the signal decrease that occurs as the radio waves travel through the air. The level of signal degradation varies with the frequency of the signal and the type and density obstructing materials.

Determining how close a System is to Failure

Link margin, the difference between the system gains and losses, can be calculated to help measure how close the link is to failing (Link Margin = Transmit Power – Receiver Sensitivity + Antenna Gain – Path Loss). Successful communication takes place when the link margin is greater than zero.

  • Transmit Power: The volume of the person speaking
  • Receiver Sensitivity: The minimum volume required by the listener to discern the message.
  • Antenna Gain: Equivalent to the use of a megaphone.
  • Path Loss: The signal loss that occurs as the voice travels over a distance or through obstacles.

If communication in a particular area is not strong, upgrading to a radio set with a better link margin can help improve signal reliability.

Indoor Wireless Path Loss

The numerous obstacles found in typical indoor environment make it difficult to determine the path loss in a system. To determine how a system will perform in an indoor environment, on-site testing should be used.

For any further questions on Wireless Path Loss, simply contact ARK Systems at 1-800-995-0189 or click here today.

This entry was posted on Thursday, May 17th, 2012 at 8:46 pm. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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