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What is Microwave?

Microwave communication is the sending of signals via radio using a series

of microwave towers. It's a form of "line of sight" communication. There must be nothing

obstructing transmission of data between these towers. That's why microwave towers

are frequently placed on mountaintops. When positioned on a tall peak, a tower has

lines of sight to valleys below on all sides and to other mountaintop towers. The

increase elevation also reduces the impact of the Earth's curvature on line of sight.

Microwave communication is simply a high RF link that is designed to supply

signal connection between two distant points. Many integration and improvements in

microwave technology has enormously developed the system performance today in

microwave links. Its resilience in its applications have been enlarged beyond the usual

common carrier service providers.

Microwave signals propagate in straight lines and are affected very little by the

troposphere. They are not refracted or reflected by ionized regions in the upper

atmosphere. Microwave beams do not readily diffract around barriers such as hills,

mountains, and large human-made structures. Some attenuation occurs when

microwave energy passes through trees and frame houses. Radio-frequency (RF)

energy at longer wavelengths is affected to a lesser degree by such obstacles.

The microwave band is well suited for wireless transmission of signals having

large bandwidth. This portion of the RF electromagnetic radiation spectrum

encompasses many thousands of megahertz. Compare this with the so-called

shortwave band that extends from 3 MHz to 30 MHz, and whose total available
bandwidth is only 27 MHz. In communications, a large allowable bandwidth translates

into high data speed. The short wavelengths allow the use of dish antennas having

manageable diameters. These antennas produce high power gain in transmitting

applications, and have excellent sensitivity and directional characteristics for reception

of signals.

The term microwave refers to electromagnetic energy having a frequency higher

than 1 gigahertz (billions of cycles per second), corresponding to wavelength shorter

than 30 centimeters.

Discovery

James Clerk Maxwell, using his famous Maxwells equations, predicted the

existence of invisible electromagnetic waves, of which microwaves are a part, in 1865.

In 1888, Heinrich Hertz became the first to demonstrate the existence of such waves by

building an apparatus that produced and detected microwaves in the ultra-

high frequency region. Hertz recognized that the results of his experiment validated

Maxwells prediction, but he did not see any practical applications for these invisible

waves. Later work by others led to the invention of wireless communications, based on

microwaves. Contributors to this work included Nikola Tesla, Guglielmo Marconi,

Samuel Morse, Sir William Thomson (later Lord Kelvin), Oliver Heaviside, Lord

Rayleigh, and Oliver Lodge.

In 1931 a US-French consortium demonstrated an experimental microwave relay

link across the English Channel using 10 foot (3m) dishes, one of the earliest

microwave communication systems. Telephony, telegraph and facsimile data was


transmitted over the 1.7 GHz beams 40 miles between Dover, UK and Calais, France.

However it could not compete with cheap undersea cable rates, and a planned

commercial system was never built.

During the 1950s the AT&T Long Lines system of microwave relay links grew to

carry the majority of US long distance telephone traffic, as well as intercontinental

television network signals. The prototype was called TDX and was tested with a

connection between New York City and Murray Hill, the location of Bell Laboratories in

1946. The TDX system was set up between New York and Boston in 1947.

Uses of Microwave

Microwaves and radio waves are used to communicate with satellites.

Microwaves pass straight through the atmosphere and are suitable for communicating

with distant geostationary satellites, while radio waves are suitable for communicating

with satellites in low orbit.

Radio waves and Microwaves

Radio waves and microwaves are types of electromagnetic radiation. Both have

communication uses. Radio waves are used to transmit television and radio

programmes, while microwaves are used for mobile phones and Wi-Fi. However, they

have different properties:

Radio waves have longer wavelengths and are reflected by the ionosphere (part

of the Earths atmosphere).


Microwaves have shorter wavelengths and pass through the Earths atmosphere.
Radio waves are reflected by the ionosphere, but microwaves pass straight

through it effects of frequency


Different frequencies are used to communicate with these satellites:

Relatively high frequencies are used to communicate with geostationary satellites


Relatively low frequencies are used to communicate with low orbit satellites

Microwaves have a high enough frequency to pass through the Earths

atmosphere to reach geostationary satellites - which orbit high above the equator at a

height of 36,000 km. However, radio waves with a lower frequency are able to reach the

low orbit satellites.

Digital signals

Digital signals are used to communicate with satellites. Digital signals are

affected by noise less than analogue signals, and they do not attenuate (lose energy) as

quickly.

Information from Earth is transmitted to geostationary satellites using microwaves

carrying digital signals. These signals are then retransmitted as microwaves. This may

be to another satellite or back down to Earth. Satellite television dishes are examples of

the sort of parabolic receivers needed.


Microwaves are used to communicate with geostationary satellites

Communications dishes.

The wavelength of the microwaves emitted by satellites is usually between 1 and

10 cm. The dishes that emit them from satellites usually have a diameter much larger

than this. This produces very little diffraction, giving a narrow beam that does not spread

out.

As a result, the transmitting and receiving dishes must be aligned exactly. You

can see this by looking at a row of houses which have been fitted with satellite television

dishes - all the dishes point in the same direction.

MICROWAVE SOURCES

High-power microwave sources use specialized vacuum tubes to generate

microwaves. These devices operate on different principles from low-frequency vacuum

tubes, using the ballistic motion of electrons in a vacuum under the influence of

controlling electric or magnetic fields, and include the magnetron (used in microwave

ovens), klystron, traveling-wave tube (TWT), and gyrotron. These devices work in the

density modulated mode, rather than the current modulated mode. This means that they

work on the basis of clumps of electrons flying ballistically through them, rather than

using a continuous stream of electrons.

Low-power microwave sources use solid-state devices such as the fieldeffect

transistor (at least at lower frequencies), tunnel diodes, Gunn diodes, and IMPATT

diodes. Low-power sources are available as benchtop instruments, rackmount

instruments, embeddable modules and in card-level formats. A maser is a solid state


device which amplifies microwaves using similar principles to the laser, which amplifies

higher frequency light waves.

All warm objects emit low level microwave black-body radiation, depending on

their temperature, so in meteorology and remote sensing microwave radiometers are

used to measure the temperature of objects or terrain. The sun and other astronomical

radio sources such as Cassiopeia A emit low level microwave radiation which carries

information about their makeup, which is studied by radio astronomers using receivers

called radio telescopes. The cosmic microwave background radiation (CMBR), for

example, is a weak microwave noise filling empty space which is a major source of

information on cosmology's Big Bang theory of the origin of the Universe.

PRINCIPLES OF MICROWAVE COMMUNICATION SYSTEM

Microwave refer to high frequencies (above 300MHz) and short wave lengths, at

the microwave components depends on the changing electromagnetic fields instead of

current in the conductor or voltage across the 2 points a microwave propagated through

the line of sight, therefore it is necessary to install repeater station at about 50km

interval.

Microwaves are electromagnetic waves with a frequency greater than 1 GHz

(1,000,000 Hz). Microwave signal due to their inherently high frequencies, have

relatively short wavelengths, hence the name "micro" waves. The wavelengths of

microwave frequencies fall between 1 cm and 60 cm; slightly longer than the infrared

energy. Operating in the microwave region solves many problems of the overcrowding

in the radio spectrum. It also introduces additional benefits but also causes some
unique problems. Working with equipment that operates in this region requires special

knowledge and skills considerably different from those needed for conventional

electronic equipment.

For a typical microwave radio link, information originates and terminates at the

terminal stations, while repeaters simply relay the information to the next downlink

microwave station. Stations must be placed in a way that the terrain such as mountains,

buildings and lakes, do not interfere with the transmission of signals. Geographic

location of stations must be carefully selected in such a way that natural and man-made

barriers do not interfere with propagation between stations.

Types of Microwave Systems

1. Intrastate or feeder service microwave systems - generally categorized as short

haul since they are used to carry information for relatively short distances, such as

between cities within the same state.

2. Long haul microwave systems - used to carry information for long distances.

COMPONENTS OF MICROWAVE

Transmitters and Receivers

Radio transmitters and receivers are at the heart of wireless communication.

Radio stations, Television remotes, and even door bells, radio transmitters and

receivers have a variety of applications and continue to be a lead research field for

wireless communication. Advances in technology allow radio communication to be

integrated into mobile devices while maintaining low prices for consumers.
Antennas

Antennas allow the transmitter hardware of the microwave system to transmit

data from site to site. The area between the microwave system components must be

clear of any major structures, such as tall buildings, mountains, or other objects that

could potentially obstruct microwave transmission. Only when this has been achieved

can data travel through the microwave system.

This is why microwave communication is categorized as a line of sight

technology. When planning a microwave radio system, one must remember the

requirements of microwave equipment. Microwave antennas must be placed at the top

of tall radio towers to provide a clear line communication path.

This allows the microwave system data to travel the long distances required by

telecommunications service providers.

Most microwave antennas are based on a parabolic reflector. Parabolic antennas

work on the principle that the horn feed is placed at the focal point, so that the signal

reflected off the reflector element is in phase. It provides extremely high gain directivity

that is suitable for microwave and satellite communication links.

Radomes

Special covers for antennas called radomes are available to protect the hornfeed

and reduce the wind loading on the tower. These radomes vary in their construction

depending on the type of antenna. For standard parabolic dishes the radomes are

usually a conical shape constructed out of fiberglass. The radome must be constructed

such that its insertion loss is minimized. For shrouded antennas, a fabric radome is
usually employed that covers the aperture of the dish. While the unshrouded parabolic

dishes can be used with or without radomes, the shrouded construction has such a

severe wind loading that the radomes are mandatory. These planar radomes must have

a forward-sloped side profile so that water droplets cannot reside on the radome. The

high-performance shrouds are thus shaped accordingly. A radome can reduce

windloading by a factor of three. Antennas with a diameter of one or two sizes higher,

with a radome, can thus present the same wind loading as the smaller antenna without

a radome. Radomes are thus highly recommended in any installation.

Mounts

Light Standoffs are a perfect mounting solution for wireless omni- directional

antennas when separation from the tower structure is essential

Flex Sections

Flex sections (AKA Flex Couplings) are used in the exhaust system to absorb the

back and forth motion and vibration that can wreak havoc with manifolds, downpipes,

and other components.

Waveguides

A waveguide is a structure which guides waves, such as electromagnetic waves

or sound waves. The original and most common meaning is a hollow conductive metal

pipe used to carry high frequency radio waves,

Waveguide Connector

A mechanical device for electrically joining and locking together separable mating

parts of a waveguide system also known as waveguide coupler.


Grounding Kits

Grounding kits / Earthing kits are composed of two main components, a clamp

and a cable. The clamp will be screwed on a coaxial cable and in case of lightning

strokes in the antenna installation; the voltage will be diverted over a ripple in the clamp

with the combined cable and will be earthed / grounded by this way.

Universal Ground Bar

A ground bar assembly includes a ground bar for attaching to grounding

conductors and a conductive mounting bracket directly attached to the ground bar. The

conductive mounting bracket is configured to space the ground bar apart from a

mounting surface.

Hanger Support and Attachment Accessories

Hanger support and attachment accessories are available to securely fasten

each transmission line type for various applications. The type or shape of the structure,

the space available for cable attachment the type of environment the system will be

exposed to, and the ease of installation or maintenance are key considerations.

Pressure Windows

Pressure window construction is in high grade PTFE composite with an electro-

deposited copper layer which is soldered into the housing to produce a hermetically

sealed and robust unit. The housing is made from brass with an electro-tinned finish, or

aluminum with silver finish.

Rigid Rectangular Waveguide Components

Rigid waveguide components are used within equipment room or shelter where

space is limited. They provide a much smaller bend and twist radius than that of
comparable elliptical waveguide. In addition, waveguide and flange adapters can

provide quick fix solutions. Rigid waveguide components are custom manufactured

based upon the system requirements.

Pressurization System

One pressurization system is typically required for each site. The selection of a

pressurization system is based on system volume, system pressure, power

requirements, and available options. The total internal transmission line and antenna

volume at the site is calculated to properly size the dehydrator.

MICROWAVE COMMUNICATION SYSTEM DESIGN

Microwave Link Design Considerations

Site Selection

Terrain mapping for possible obstructions

Geographical location, for possible line of sight path obstruction

Adequate source of power and water

Population on each site

Be in the vicinity of any popular landmark or a City in the region

The proponents also considered the topographic map of every province

covered by the region for establishment of each site

Must have completed preliminary facility planning:


operational requirements
traffic studies (systems capacity)
expansion potential
reliability requirements
cost studies

Maps & aerial photographs are sources of preliminary studies

Final site selections are made base on field surveys

Site Requirements

Terminal sites are normally locations of existing structures


Take into account the future building construction along the path
Sites should be as level as possible. cost of leveling must be considered
Path distance is about 25 to 35 mi from 2 to 8 ghz band
Access roads, availability of ac power & telephone facilities

Site Considerations

Geographical coordinates, political subdivision, access roads & landmarks that

will identify the site


Unusual weather conditions
Max wind velocity, snow & ice accumulations, range of temp
Physical characteristics
Leveling required, removal of rocks. trees or other structures
Check if site is a potential obstruction to air traffic
Mean sea level elevation at the tower location
Full description for an access road from the nearest improved road
Building code restrictions on the site
Nearest location of commercial electric power
Nearest telephone facility
Other important facts that can be seen during the field survey

Equipment Selection

Microwave antenna
Antennas focus the radio signal in specific direction and in a narrow beam. The

increase in the signal power when it is focused in the desired direction is called gain.

Antennas should be selected and placed according to your site and your application. It

is best to use the smallest antenna that will provide sufficient protection from

interference and enough signal at the far end of the link to provide good reception even

with fading.

- Types

Semi-parabolic grid antennas are usually used where wind loading is an issue.

Solid antennas should have the option to add a radome to reduce wind loading, as a

means of ice protection, where necessary, and to prevent birds from roosting on the

antenna feeds. For short U-NII links (or links where the appearance of the antenna is a

problem) panel, patch or planar antennas might be appropriate. With these antenna

types, the front-to-side, front-to-back, and cross-polarization response are not as good,

so it is important to carefully examine interference potential.

- Antenna Polarization

The orientation of the antenna will change the orientation of the signal. The

transmitting and receiving antennas should be both polarized either horizontally or

vertically. Adjacent antennas on different frequencies can be cross-polarized to help

reduce interference between the two, if your operating license permits this.

- Diversity and VOFDM

When transmitted signals follow several paths between the transmitter and the

receiver, a condition called multipath occurs. Signals reflect off buildings, water, and
other objects, creating multiple paths to the receiver. On long point-to-point radio links,

stratification of the atmosphere can create multiple paths by refracting the signals. The

diversity feature requires the installation of two antennas separated vertically or

horizontally (vertical separation works well for longer free-space line-of-sight links, while

horizontal separation works best for partially obstructed or non-line-of-sight links). The

signals received by both antennas are combined to greatly enhance the quality of the

signal where multipath exists.

Microwave Radio

A frequency at which the links is to be operated

Low receiver sensitivity value

High transmitted output power

An indoor and outdoor unit installation for eliminating the use of waveguides for

transmission

Must be a user-friendly interface for simple maintenance management

-Automatic Transfer Switch

The ATS must have the ability to be switched on and off to different

sources that is the main power source and the backup source.

- Air Conditioning Unit


The site must contain an air conditioning unit for proper cooling and must

accommodate the whole room to maintain the proper temperature in which all the

equipment are stored so that overheating and malfunctioning of the equipment is

prevented.

Tower Selection

The capability of the tower to hold loads such as antennas and cables prior to

construction

The type of soil wherein the tower is raised must also be considered for any

ground movement to prevent the tower from swaying

The height of the tower must be enough in order to avoid obstructions

The anticipated wind loading was identified under harsh condition and additional

loading.

Power Equipment

A stand-by power equipment should be provided for possible power interruptions

at the microwave site to maintain operation.

Generator

Uninterruptible Power Supply

Grounding Protection
The grounding equipment must be installed at every equipment inside the facility

and must be coordinated with the lightning protection in order to prevent abrupt surge

entering to the equipment thus making the equipment safe.

Weather

It is important to research any unusual weather conditions that are common to

the site location. These conditions can include excessive amounts of rain or fog, wind

velocity, or extreme temperature ranges. If extreme conditions exist that may affect the

integrity of the radio link,

Rain and Fog

Except in extreme conditions, attenuation (weakening of the signal) due to

rain and fog does not require serious consideration for frequencies up to the range of 6

or 8 GHz. When microwave frequencies are at 11 or 12 GHz or above, attenuation due

to rain becomes much more of a concern, especially in areas where rainfall is of high

density and long duration. If this is the case, shorter paths may be required.

In most cases, the effects of fog are considered to be much the same as rain. However,

fog can adversely affect the radio link when it is accompanied by atmospheric

conditions such as temperature inversion, or very still air accompanied by stratification.

Temperature inversion can negate clearances, and still air along with stratification can

cause severe refractive or reflective conditions, with unpredictable results. Temperature

inversions and stratification can also cause ducting, which may increase the potential

for interference between systems that do not normally interfere with each other.

Atmospheric Absorption
A relatively small effect on the link is from oxygen and water vapor. It is

usually significant only on longer paths and particular frequencies. Attenuation in the 2

to 14 GHz frequency range is approximately 0.01 dB/mile, which is not significant.

Wind

Any system components mounted outdoors will be subject to the effect of

wind. It is important to know the direction and velocity of the wind common to the site.

Antenna designs react differently to wind forces, depending on the area presented to

the wind. This is known as wind loading. Most antenna manufacturers will specify wind

loading for each type of antenna manufactured.

Lightning

The potential for lightning damage to radio equipment should always be

considered when planning a wireless link. Lightning protection requirements are based

on the exposure at the site, the cost of link down-time, and local building and electrical

codes. If the link is critical, and the site is in an active lightning area, attention to

thorough lightning protection and grounding is critical.

Lightning Protection

To provide effective lightning protection, install antennas in locations that

are unlikely to receive direct lightning strikes, or install lightning rods to protect antennas

from direct strikes. Make sure that cables and equipment are properly grounded to

provide low-impedance paths for lightning currents. Install surge suppressors on

telephone lines and power lines.

Microwave Applications
The microwave frequency spectrum is used for telephone communications. Many

long-distance telephone systems use microwave relay links for carrying telephone calls.

With multiplexing techniques, thousands of two-way communications are modulated on

a single carrier and then relayed from one station to another over long distances.

Radar (Radio Detection and Ranging) also operates in the microwave region. It is

a method of detecting the presence of a distant object and determining its distance and

direction. Radar systems transmit a high-frequency signal which is then deflected from

the distant object. The reflected signal is picked up by the radar unit and compared to

the transmitted signal. The time difference between the two gives the distance to the

object.

Television stations and networks use microwave relay links to transmit TV signals

over long distances rather than rely on coax cables.

A growing application for microwave communications is space communications.

Communications with satellites, deep-space probes, and other spacecraft is usually

done by microwave transmission. This is due to the reason that microwave signals are

not reflected or absorbed by the ionosphere as are many lower-frequency signals.