Cell towers are an important part of our telecommunication infrastructures. Sometimes called a cellular tower, this is where you will find all the most important electronic communication equipment and antennas. The purpose of these giant towers is to speed the signal reception of cell phones, television, or radio channels. Even if you do not make any calls for a full week, know that you still interact with cell towers every day. However, do you know how they work, or how important they are? Let’s find out in the following article.
Types of Cell Towers
Despite looking similar from afar, these metallic structures are sometimes pretty different in the way they were built. As a matter of fact, there are four different types of cell towers:
- Stealth tower: This type of tower is a solution offered by tower companies to locals who refuse the construction of normal towers in their neighborhood. Therefore, it is more expensive than the other more common tower structures, since it requires specific materials to hide its appearance. Also, they do not provide the same amount of capacity offered by other towers.
- Monopole tower: This one is a single steel tube/concrete tower. The latter is normally not higher than 50 meters and needs one foundation, which is an advantage over other types of towers. Lastly, the antennas will be attached to the exterior sides of the tower.
- Guyed tower: This once used to be the cheapest tower to build, but, unfortunately, requires a spacious area for its foundation. Most of the time, television and radio towers are guyed towers. Its name comes from the fact that it is connected by guy wires that support its structure. These solid wires are attached to the ground in all directions, a bit like a web.
- Lattice tower: And finally, the Lattice tower, also called the self-supporting tower. It is often used in heavy loading conditions with the ability to afford the greatest flexibility. Normally, these towers are built with 4 triangular sides with similar-shaped bases.
How Do Cell Towers proceed
The cell towers will start their process once you start using your cell phone (or any other telecommunication device). For example, when you’re making a call;
- It will radiate the electromagnetic radio waves or radiofrequency.
- After that, the antennas from a nearby cell tower will receive the signal. The antennas can both transmit and receive signals from mobile phones.
- Next, the signals will be transmitted to a switching center. Its job to connect your call to another mobile phone or telephone network.
Parts of a Cell Tower
The cell towers are made from many parts and also present a couple of features for people who work with them on a daily basis:
People who attach their own receivers to the cell tower will use the supporting equipment installed in cabinets or in shelters. Wireless carriers can place the equipment outside the cabinets on concrete pads. Also, they might use the equipment shelters that are prefabricated to that effect.
There are usually several antennas attached to a cell tower. Usually, they are stuck on a head frame. Some cell towers have fifteen antennas per carrier while some have only a few of them. Generally, the amount of antennas depends on the technology, coverage, performance, and capacity of the tower and of the antennas themselves.
At the cell tower area, utilities are mostly installed on the site to be used by the carriers. Normally, each and almost every carrier have on-site power and phone service runs.
In order for the cell towers to work effectively, it will require access by the carriers for both initial installation and repair activities. Sometimes, accessing the cell tower site may require a separate track.
Range of the Cell Tower
The range of cell towers is not a fixed figure. Besides, it does not only depend on their height as most people may think. There are many factors that should be considered which the cell towers’ range may depend on:
- The transmitter’s rated power.
- The frequency of the signal in use.
- The height of antennas over the surrounding area.
- The local geographical and weather conditions.
- The direction of characteristics of the antennas array on the site.
- The ability to absorb and to reflect radio energy by the vegetation or the buildings.
Why does my cellphone signal weak? Is it because of the cell towers?
We’ve all experienced not having a good signal at one point or another. This is probably due to the fact that you are far away from a cell tower or that there is an obstruction. Also, it is possible that the signal is blocked by the thick walls of the building you’re in, or by hills and forests, and other structures. Moreover, the signals might decrease if many people use a cell tower at the same time like during an event, or in a traffic jam.
In addition, we could also say that a cell tower is smart. It has the ability to allow our mobile phone to switch from one tower to the next. For instance, when you are driving, your smartphone will keep track of your position and will try to find the strongest signal from the nearest tower. Then, your phone will release the channel from the previous cell tower it was using, which will free up the tower’s traffic for other users.
If you were wondering anything about the intriguing structures, hopefully, this will help you out in understanding them better. On that note, just remember that we are very lucky to have these giant towers and their workers allowing us to connect with our phones and other devices.