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Standard User gazzyk1ns
(experienced) Fri 03-Jun-16 22:17:37
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How are most mobile masts fed?


[link to this post]
 
I'm talking about the backhaul/data connection to the internet, or whatever else you want to call it. I'm not really wondering about voice but I suppose that's interesting as well, so feel free to educate, educators.

I appreciate that there will be no short, solid answer to this, as it will depend on whether the transmitter(s) are on top of a telephone exchange, or on top of a mountain. Yes, I have used an amount of exaggeration to better explain my question, there.

What I'm asking is whether or not most mobile masts, say in a field but not in a ridiculously remote location, are almost always fed by underground fibre, or whether they ever relay data to each other, a bit like TV repeater transmitters have for decades. If so, is it only in extreme circumstances?

There was recently a mobile mast built close-ish to me (not one will will serve me very often, I just went to look at it out of interest), and from day one it had two small dishes on it below the mobile transmitting cells. They look to be pointing at too much of an upward angle to be receiving anything from another transmitter, but I did wonder what they were for. The 4G latency would be terrible if it was being relayed between masts, wouldn't it? You can see exactly where they mole-ploughed power to it, but I don't know anything about how they get the data link to it.

Here is a photo of the mast I'm talking about, if that helps. As I said, the dishes look to be pointing at a point far, far higher than any mobile mast. It's halfway up a small hill, in order to cover a village below, it's not underneath a mountain or anything.

Cheers for any useful or interesting info.

Edited by gazzyk1ns (Fri 03-Jun-16 22:19:37)

Administrator MrSaffron
(staff) Sat 04-Jun-16 12:01:04
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Re: How are most mobile masts fed?


[re: gazzyk1ns] [link to this post]
 
What is used depends on location, but point to point microwave/wireless is used and that mast seems to have some on it.

Preference is usually for a fibre connection for reliability and ease of increasing backhaul capacity.

What gets used depends on relative costs and geography of an area.

The author of the above post is a thinkbroadband staff member. It may not constitute an official statement on behalf of thinkbroadband.
Standard User gazzyk1ns
(experienced) Sat 04-Jun-16 12:31:10
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Re: How are most mobile masts fed?


[re: MrSaffron] [link to this post]
 
Wow, I didn't think that would be the case. If you can access any specific information, that mast is in Bildeston (or rather just outside it), Suffolk. OS grid ref. is TL 9929 5047.


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Standard User thomaswarne01
(member) Sat 04-Jun-16 12:44:26
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Re: How are most mobile masts fed?


[re: gazzyk1ns] [link to this post]
 
http://pedroc.co.uk/

is the site you want,

that is a Mobile Infrastructure Project Mast, for EE, 3 (MBNL) and Vodafone, O2 (Cornerstone)
Standard User gazzyk1ns
(experienced) Sat 04-Jun-16 13:21:22
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Re: How are most mobile masts fed?


[re: thomaswarne01] [link to this post]
 
Ah, cheers. I've got a tab open with that bloke's Twitter feed, but didn't know he had a site.
Standard User Icaras
(experienced) Sat 04-Jun-16 17:53:01
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Re: How are most mobile masts fed?


[re: gazzyk1ns] [link to this post]
 
Fibre mainly. I'm always surprised by how many masts are fed by overhead fibre, that's increased recently too and will increase as Openreach refine their overhead fibre processes and continue signing deals with the various electricity companies to use their poles to deliver overhead fibre. Not always easy to spot as the fibre usually dives underground again about 30-50m prior to the mobile transmitter.
Standard User Pedrostech
(learned) Tue 07-Jun-16 22:52:52
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Re: How are most mobile masts fed?


[re: Icaras] [link to this post]
 
Thanks for the link to my site thomaswarne01.

Yep, standard MIP mast.
Kathrein dual low band for: 800MHz 4G and 900MHz 2G/3G. Vodafone/O2
Huawei tri band. High, high, low: 1800, 2100, 800 for EE/3
Most MIPs that I've found so far are microwave fed; the microwave feed route is usually on the planning application.Modern Microwave links can provide in excess of 1gbps each way so work well for many masts.
Standard User gazzyk1ns
(experienced) Thu 09-Jun-16 00:30:33
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Re: How are most mobile masts fed?


[re: Pedrostech] [link to this post]
 
Your page is excellent, thank you, I've learned a lot.

I might have missed a notice, but I took photos of all the planning permission signs I could see, and the only mention of a microwave link (which I should have picked up on, in retrospect... I simply thought the latency would prevent it from being true 4G; obviously I was wrong) was literally the mention of "...1no microwave link by Telefonica O2 UK Ltd.". Before that they'd declared "3no Antennas". There is a separate notice on T-Mobile headed paper (which I was surprised to see), which didn't mention any number of anything, just a mandatory "objection" notice, re: paragraphs 17 and 18, which I can gather is a mandatory thing, because there's also a third notice from Arqiva saying basically the same thing.

I will re-visit it soonish, and check if I've missed anything, I'd love to know where the microwave signal comes from. Is there a rough limit on how far it can be? And must it be perfect line-of-sight? Exactly what does a microwave transmitter look like, on a mast transmitting to one like this? Cheers for any info, I know I'm asking a lot of questions.

If it helps, both providers list the cell name/site name is SUF0172. The Telefonica notice refers to the "cell number" as TEF70226, and the T-Mobile refers to the "cell reference" as BAB060. With the latter reference, I assume BAB refers to Babergh District Council, to save anyone a search for local info. The main Arqiva "Keep Out" sign lists it as site 301569 and MIP0172.

Edited by gazzyk1ns (Thu 09-Jun-16 00:37:21)

Standard User Pendlemac
(learned) Thu 09-Jun-16 02:59:13
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Re: How are most mobile masts fed?


[re: gazzyk1ns] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by gazzyk1ns:
Exactly what does a microwave transmitter look like, on a mast transmitting to one like this?


One of those dishes is a transmitter and the other is a receiver.

Microwave links are narrow beams which is why the dishes are used as they focus the beam.

Terrestrial radio, TV and phone transmitters need to cover the maximum possible area so don't have a focussing dish.

( Satellite transmitters do as they have to limit their signal to a certain area. )

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Connection speed (U/D) [kbps/kbps]: 1024 / 18268
Standard User gazzyk1ns
(experienced) Thu 09-Jun-16 05:03:39
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Re: How are most mobile masts fed?


[re: Pendlemac] [link to this post]
 
Thanks once again.

So... I almost daren't ask this, because theoretically I can work out the answer, but then theoretically I "knew" that this mast was "probably fed by fibre" last week.

Is one dish for the uplink and then one for the downlink of data, for that single mast, or have they built in the capacity for that mast itself to relay data to another? I ask primarily because it seems that you have photos of arrays on your site which only have one microwave dish, so that confuses things (for me) slightly. I do have a proper close-up of the top of the mast (but not as good as any on your site, which shows the colours of the cable tags/sockets, etc... and that doesn't seem to be in question, anyway).

Sorry again to asks basic questions which might have been covered elsewehere, and cheers.

Edited by gazzyk1ns (Thu 09-Jun-16 05:46:44)

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