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Interference Troubleshooting Guide utilizing Anritsus Handheld BTS Master, Cell Master, Site Master S332/62E, Spectrum Master

r w/ Options 25/27/31 and Master Software Tools

What is Interference? Types of Interference Types of Interference When to Hunt Uplink Interference Do I have Uplink Interference?
Interference is a receiver issue. Receiver de- Harmonics are signals that occur at multiples Transmitter back feed can create IM, as One of the most important things to know Rx Noise Floor tests can be done by hooking
sense occurs when an un-desired signal of a radios carrier frequency. Often, the shown below. If the antenna and filter about interference hunting is when, and up to a Rx test port,
enters the receivers front end and causes a worst harmonic is the third. For example, if a frequency response where, to start looking for the signal. As the or the Rx antenna, for
reduction in sensitivity. This reduced carrier is at 300 MHz, the harmonic at 3 x allow, and if the flow chart shows, there are a number of the affected sector
sensitivity, in turn, lowers the apparent 300, or 900 MHz, would be the strongest. antenna isolation is diagnostic clues that indicate interference. and make
carrier-to-interference ratio (C/I) of the poor, one The most critical step in this decision tree is measurements when
desired signal. transmitters signal the Rx noise floor. If it is possible to monitor calls are not up. It is
can reach the this from the switch, this becomes a powerful best if the receive
transistors in another monitoring tool. If the Rx noise floor is high, pre-filter is between
transmitters output it is time to start looking for the interference the spectrum analyzer
stage, creating IM. that makes it high. and the Rx antenna, since that will allow the
spectrum analyzer to see the same signal the
Shared antennas can create IM if the
receiver does.
Sometimes harmonics become much worse antenna or antenna cable run is corroded.
Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) base
than the legal limit. For instance, a Environmental diodes also can create IM. stations, such as
transmitter with a class B output stage may Rusty roofs, rusty fences, corroded cables,
GSM, CDMA, and W-
lose a transistor, only amplifying half of the and corroded connectors all can provide the
CDMA, can use the
signal. This will produce a Picket Fence array rust needed for intermodulation.
The unwanted, or interfering, signal does not spectrum analyzers
of harmonics across the spectrum.
need to be on the receive channel. If strong Near Far problems may occur near the edge channel power
enough, it only needs to be within the radios In other cases, legal harmonics may be an of a metro area, or near microcells, where one measurement, but
Rx duplexer or pre-selector frequencies. issue. For instance, the third harmonics of a network operator has use it at the receive
United States UHF TV station on channel 38 better coverage than frequency. This
In extreme cases, receiver blocking occurs through 41 will be in the PCS uplink bands. If another. If a cell approximates the switchs Rx noise floor
and the desired signal is lost entirely. the UHF station is physically close to the PCS phone is a long ways measurement. The measurement must be
band cellular receiver, the cellular receiver from its tower, it will made during a quiet time when no calls are
Types of Interference may be de-sensed or blocked by this legal be transmitting at up. The same screen also normally has
Self Interference is common within cellular signal. high power. If, at the occupied bandwidth, to aid in signal
systems. Common sources of self- Intermodulation Distortion (IM) is caused by same time, it is near identification.
interference include: another operators
two or more strong signals and a non linear Time Division Duplex (TDD) systems, such as
Coverage issues due to power device such as a transistor, tower, one it cannot TD-SCDMA and
settings, mast height, or antenna tilt. diode, or an environmental hand off to, it may be transmitting within the WiMAX can use the
diode created by rust or other base stations pre-selector and cause gated power
Enhanced RF propagation over water.
corrosion. The two or more de-sense. Near Far problems can be reduced measurement on the
Errors in the PN Offset or Scrambling strong signals need to be by co-location. Power vs. Time
Code settings for CDMA and W-CDMA stronger than +7 dBm, or so, Unintentional interference occurs when radio screen to
systems. to make the non-linear operators are unaware they are transmitting approximate the
Aliasing of PN Offset or scrambling device switch. IM is often called the Rusty in anothers band. This is usually easily switch Rx noise floor
codes. Bolt effect. More accurately, it is called corrected. measurement. Again, the Rx noise floor
Multipath, when the number of paths Passive Intermodulation (PIM). The formula measurement must be made during a quiet
for the most common IM products are: Intentional interference does occur, often time, when no calls are up.
exceed the number of receiver fingers. with the best of intentions. Employers want
2f1 f2 to keep their employees off the phone; drivers Receiver De-Sense can be caused by strong
Impulse noise is a common source of signals outside the
interference. It is mostly a problem at lower 2f2 f1 want other drivers to keep their eyes on the
road, and so on. A web search will spot many channel, but within
frequencies, save for arcing base station RF Where f1 and f2 represent the frequency of
different types of cell phone jammers. the pre-filter. The
components, which cause problems centered strong suspect source signals. illustration shows a
on the carrier frequency. Impulse noise Heres an example of potential IM between a Repeaters can cause interference in two signal just outside a
shows up as an intermittent rise in the PCS 1900 MHz band transmitter and a cell site ways. The W-CDMA Rx channel
spectrum analyzers noise floor, or if in a wide on the new AWS-1 2110 MHz band: spectrogram shows (indicated by the
span, in a shape similar to the illustration. a small office vertical dotted lines)
Sources include: repeater, illegally which is lowering the cells receive coverage.
Lightning arrestors installed, that had Once interference is seen at the Rx antenna, it
insufficient isolation is time to find it again at ground level and
Arcing antennas
between the two locate the source.
Arcing duplexers antennas which
Electric motors created an oscillation. Downlink Interference
Bakery ovens A different repeater issue comes up when a Downlink interference is also a receiver issue.
network operator installs a large area repeater In this case, the interference hunt needs to
Welders that unintentionally amplifies other operators start from the area identified as faulty by
Electric fences signals. This can lead to unexpected excess customer complaints.
coverage problems and frequency re-use
issues.
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Interference Troubleshooting Guide utilizing Anritsus Handheld BTS Master, Cell Master, Site Master S332/62E, Spectrum Master w/ Options 25/27/31 and Master Software Tools

Interference Monitoring Master Software Tools Identifying Interference Locating Interference Locating Interference
If the interfering signal is not present when Once data is captured, it can be moved to a Visual Recognition by signal shape requires Spectrum Analyzer sensitivity is important when Plotting interference signal strength is a
you are at the base station, interference PC or laptop for off-line analysis. experience, but is a quick way to identify searching for an interference source. The better powerful way to locate elusive signals. Since
monitoring can help. The goal of monitoring common signals. the sensitivity, the larger the area over which a the Master series
Movie capability allows replay of
is to find out when the interference happens, signal can be detected. Modern hand-held instruments have
significant parts of the power versus Call signs are a quick way to identify traditional
what it looks like on the spectrum analyzer, spectrum analyzers, when optimized for a GPS option, its
frequency captured radio signals. Even paging signals broadcast a
how it behaves in the frequency domain, and interference hunting, are capable of displaying a possible to hunt
traces in real-time. Morse code identifier. These call signs can be
where it is visible. noise floor under -160 dBm. down interference
This allows viewing found in regulatory data bases, such as the US
The spectrogram is quite useful when the trace as if you by recording an
FCCs data base at De-sense can be an issue for spectrum analyzers
looking for intermittent or hopping signals. were there during interference
http://wireless2.fcc.gov/UlsApp/UlsSearch/searc as well as radio
First, its colors the interfering signals power
hLicense.jsp. Regulatory data bases gives receivers. When a
allow spotting event. By seeing readings by location which can then be placed
information on licensed transmitters, including spectrum analyzer is
signal patterns that the signal in this on a PC based map. There, the readings can
location, frequency, signal type, and contact used to hunt signals in
might otherwise go manner, it is sometimes possible to be collected and compared to readings from
phone numbers. the physical vicinity of
unnoticed. By recognize the interference immediately. other signal hunting sessions. This can be
a strong transmitter,
adjusting the top
Signal identification software can identify very useful when dealing with an intermittent
The histogram allows correlating captured the front end may be de-sensed. There are a
and bottom colors, digital signals. Many digital signals, cellular signal. This technique can also be used for
signal strength, at a frequency, to time. number of small receive filters available for
these differences signals among them, do not transmit a easily frequency clearing and checking coverage.
This helps spectrum analyzers that eliminate this issue.
can be highlighted. Second, when paused, it decoded call sign. The
is possible to scroll through the data, viewing
characterize how Master series of Fixed Markers are one of the simplest ways to Resolving Interference
the interfering spectrum analyzers look for changes in a signal as you move around.
intermittent signals of interest in both the Once interference is located, the issue needs
signal behaves over has a Signal ID option A marker can be placed on the interfering signal
spectrogram mode and the conventional to be resolved. If the signal is illegal or the
time. If it shows, which takes much of and frozen, or become fixed, in amplitude. A
Power versus Frequency mode. result of equipment problems, the solution is
for instance, that the mystery out of the second marker is used to show the difference often to turn the offending
Remote Monitoring is useful if a local area the interference spectrum. between the fixed marker and the current trace. transmitter off. In some
network (LAN) is available at the monitoring consistently shows
Scrambling Code or Signal Strength Meters offer both visual and cases personal safety may
sight. In this case, up between 3:00 PM and 3:05 PM on
Pilot Scanners can be used to troubleshoot audible feedback on signal strength. Its a quick be at stake. In this case,
it can be very weekday afternoons, thats a good time to
interference problems caused by the network way to hear the signal please get assistance from
helpful to hook the run the interference hunt.
operators own signals. These powerful tools strength change as regulatory or police
BTS Master up and The Folder Spectrogram allows views of give information to you move around or agencies.
operate the more than 15,000 recorded traces at once.
instrument identify self swing a directional In other cases, a transmitter
Like the spectrum interference sources antenna. When close or receiver will need
remotely. This analyzer based
makes it possible to monitor the site from the including signal to an interference filtering. There is a wide
spectrogram, it is a quality, pilot source, this can be a array of band pass, band
office, modifying the instrument setup when great help when
the interference appears to get a better view dominance, fast way to find the reject, and notch filters
looking for weak scrambling codes, PN source. The RSSI available and more can be custom made.
of the issue. This is a good way to signals, drifting
characterize an intermittent interfering signal Offsets, and Sector display can be used in a similar manner. Sometimes, due to legal rights and contracts,
carriers, or hopping IDs. the only solution is to choose another location
without multiple trips to the site. signals. When Direction Finding (DF) work is best done with a
directional antenna, for one of the radios.
Save-on-Event masks are a helpful way to loaded with the Multipath Scanners analyze specific digital
such as a Yagi, tuned If the issue is IM, it is time to clean up
simplify stand-alone results of a Save-on-Event signal monitoring signals to look for excessive reflections.
to the band of interest. environmental diodes. This
signal monitoring. It session, the time mark on each trace can be Excessive multipath creates interference from
fading, particularly The DF process can involve relocating
is very useful when particularly useful.
affecting CDMA and involves taking a series transmitter antennas to
a LAN is not The 3D-Spectrogram can make recorded
W-CDMA cell phone of directional readings, ensure adequate isolation,
available. The best signals near, or on, other signals really
reception. These or bearings, of the swapping out old multi-carrier
way to create a stand out. As an example, take a look at
scanners show the suspect signal and antennas, and dealing with
Save-on-Even mask the small interference signal near the green
various time delays, in recording those rusty or corroded junctions.
is to first collect a marker in the plot below.
max-hold waveform distance, chips, and readings on a map. By Corrosion can be dealt with by cleaning the
of the normal spectrum. The mask (limit micro-seconds a taking readings closer and closer to the source, affected joint, insulating the junction so
lines) can then be created with a one button specific digital signal experiences. the signal can be found, even if reflections are electrical contact is no longer made, or by
click. It can then be set to capture traces present. making a solid electrical connection between
Channel Scanners
only when unusual events, such as Some signals are difficult to spot from ground the offending parts. Some fences or
work on any signal
interference, occur. This extends monitoring level. It can be helpful to take bearings from galvanized structures may need to be removed
and are useful when
time and expedites analysis. On the lower building rooftops if possible. If not, bearings can or replaced.
looking for IM or
side of the signal, a minimum mask can be harmonics. They can be taken at ground level at an intersection, Old lightning arrestors are
created, which will save traces only when help spot signals followed by travel in the direction of the strongest prone to arcing, as are
signals that should be present are not. This widely separated in signal. Repeat as needed to find the source. corroded or fractured
would show if a carrier went missing for some frequency that turn antennas. Generally, the
reason. on and off together. only way to deal with this
This action indicates a cause-and-effect is to replace the part.
relationship between the two signals.

Anritsu. All trademarks are registered trademarks of their respective companies. Data subject to change without notice. For the most recent specifications visit: www.anritsu.com Document No. 11410-00472, Rev C Printed in the United States 2010-01