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Technical Bulletin

Antenna Downtilt
Methodology and
Guidelines
An RF Engineering Document
Document PP-4041-EK
Revision 1.0, 12/24/96

This document contains proprietary information of


AT&T Wireless Services, Inc. No use or disclosure
of the information contained herein is permitted
without prior written consent.

Engineering Standards
AT&T Wireless Services, Inc.
5000 Carillon Point
Kirkland, WA 98033

1996 AT&T Wireless Services, Inc.


All rights reserved.

Trademarks
CellCAD is a registered trademark of LCC, LLC.
Decibel is a trademark of Decibel.
Excel is a trademark and Microsoft is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation.
Revision History
Date

Revision

12/24/96

1.0

Description

Technical bulletin released.

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Antenna Downtilt Methodology and Guidelines

Antenna Downtilt Methodology


and Guidelines

Overview
This document explains the theory and terminology behind antenna
downtilting, provides criteria for determining when it is appropriate,
and lays out guidelines for downtilting antennas successfully.
Section 1.0 summarizes the guidelines for antenna downtilting.
Sections 2.0, 3.0, and 4.0 describe in more detail the terminology,
software simulations, and field measurements, respectively, which
were used in developing these guidelines.
Contents
1.0

Summary and Guidelines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8


1.1 Objective. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
1.2 Results of the Study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
1.3 Clarification On Downtilting Questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
1.4 General Facts About Downtilting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
1.5 Downtilting Guidelines. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
1.5.1 Guideline 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
1.5.2 Guideline 2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
1.5.3 Guideline 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
1.5.4 Guideline 4 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

2.0

Principles Of Antenna Downtilting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12


2.1 Introduction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

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2.2

2.3
2.4
2.5
2.6

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Background Information. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
2.2.1 Gain. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
2.2.2 Half-Power 3-dB Beamwidth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
2.2.3 First Null Beamwidth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
2.2.4 Front-to-Back Ratio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
2.2.5 Front-to-Side Ratio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
2.2.6 Radiation Patterns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
2.2.7 Antenna Downtilting. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Advantages of Downtilting. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
Downtilt and How It Works . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
Optimal Downtilt Angles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
Tilt Caution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

3.0

Data From Simulations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25


3.1 CellCAD Simulation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
3.1.1 Antenna Gain Calculations in CellCAD . . . . . . . . . . . 25
3.1.2 Antenna-Pattern Distortion in CellCAD . . . . . . . . . . . 29
3.1.3 Impact of Downtilt on Coverage and Interference . . . 31
3.2 Practical Examples of Downtilting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
3.2.1 Case 1Reuse Is Below the Horizon. . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
3.2.2 Case 2Reuse Is Above the Horizon. . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
3.2.3 Case 3Reuse Cell Is Shadowed by Terrain . . . . . . . 42

4.0

Measured Results . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
4.1 Antenna Pattern at Transmit and Receive Frequencies . . . . . 43
4.2 Drive Test Data Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
4.2.1 15 Vertical Beamwidth Antenna . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
4.2.2 8 Vertical Beamwidth Antenna . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49

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Figures
Figure 2.1

Horizontal and Vertical Antenna Patterns. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

Figure 2.2

Antenna Radiation Pattern in Polar Coordinates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

Figure 2.3

Mechanical Downtilt. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

Figure 2.4

Electrical Downtilt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

Figure 2.5

Downtilt Effect to Reduce Frequency-Reuse Distance . . . . . . . . . . . 18

Figure 2.6

Vertical Radiation Pattern of an Antenna . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

Figure 2.7

Pattern of a Downtilted Antenna . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

Figure 2.8

Pattern of the Far-Field Changes with Downtilt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20

Figure 2.9

Relative Gain of Downtilted Antenna Compared to a Vertical Antenna


(dB) as a Function of Angle Elevation to Receiver . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21

Figure 2.10

Downtilting an Antenna to Cover Shadow Areas (Diagram) . . . . . . . 22

Figure 2.11

Downtilting of an Antenna (Schematic) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

Figure 3.12

Example of CellCAD Antenna Gain Calculations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25

Figure 3.13

Definition of Angle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26

Figure 3.14

Definition of Angle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26

Figure 3.15

Radiation Patterns for 10 Electrical Downtilt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27

Figure 3.16

Radiation Patterns for 10 Mechanical Downtilt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28

Figure 3.17

Radiation Patterns for 10 Mechanical Downtilt for Antennas with


Large Vertical Beamwidths. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29

Figure 3.18

Radiation Patterns for 20 Mechanical Downtilt for Antennas with


Large Vertical Beamwidths. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30

Figure 3.19

Radiation Patterns for 7 Mechanical Downtilt for Antennas with


Narrow Vertical Beamwidths . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30

Figure 3.20

Radiation Patterns for 18 Mechanical Downtilt for Antennas with


Narrow Vertical Beamwidths . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31

Figure 3.21

Site Configuration Plot for Test Simulation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32

Figure 3.22

Coverage Area Comparison for Antennas with Varying Vertical


Beamwidths . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34

Figure 3.23

Interference Area Comparison for Antennas with Varying Vertical


Beamwidths . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34

Figure 3.24

Coverage Area Comparison for Antennas with Varying Horizontal


Beamwidths . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35

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Figure 3.25

Interference Area Comparison for Antennas with Varying Horizontal


Beamwidths . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36

Figure 3.26

Case 1: > > Horizon (Example 1) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39

Figure 3.27

Case 1: > > Horizon (Example 2) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39

Figure 3.28

Case 2: > Horizon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41

Figure 3.29

Case 3: > . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42

Figure 4.30

Horizontal and Vertical Pattern at Receive (836 MHz) Frequency . . 43

Figure 4.31

Horizontal and Vertical Pattern at Transmit (880 MHz) Frequency. . 44

Figure 4.32

Horizontal and Vertical Pattern at Transmit Frequency (830 MHz) with


15 Downtilt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44

Figure 4.33

Horizontal and Vertical Pattern at Receive Frequency (880 MHz) with


15 Downtilt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45

Figure 4.34

Loss in Signal Strength along the Horizon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46

Figure 4.35

RSSI Values Along the Horizon for Drive Test Data . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47

Figure 4.36

RSSI Values Along the Horizon for CellCAD Simulated Data . . . . . 48

Figure 4.37

RSSI Along the Horizon for PCS Tilted and Nontilted Antennas . . . 49
Tables

Table 3.1

Downtilt Calculator. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38

Table 3.2

Interference and Coverage Reduction for Case 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40

Table 3.3

Interference and Coverage Reduction for Case 2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41

Table 4.4

Comparison of RSSI Between Drive Data and CellCAD. . . . . . . . . . 48

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Audience
This document is directed toward engineers and managers interested in
understanding and implementing antenna downtilting.
Scope
This document explains the theory and terminology behind antenna
downtilting, provides criteria for determining when it is appropriate,
and lays out guidelines for downtilting antennas successfully.

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1.0

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Summary and Guidelines


1.1

Objective
The goal of the study is to determine downtilt best practices, verify
CellCAD accuracy, and provide downtilt guidelines.

1.2

Results of the Study


This study encompasses field tests, CellCAD simulations, Excel
calculations, and antenna range patterns for different downtilt
conditions. CellCAD calculations for electrical and mechanical
downtilting have been verified with drive tests. Downtilting can be
effective in carrier-to-interference ratio (C/I) reductions in certain
geometric configurations but coverage problems can result from
inappropriate downtilting practices. Guidelines to avoid these pitfalls
are given in Section 1.5, Downtilting Guidelines.

1.3

Clarification On Downtilting Questions


Misunderstandings about the following issues can lead to downtilting
problems:
Q: Should the nulls of the vertical pattern be placed on the horizon
to improve C/I at the reuse site?
A: No. When the downtilt angle is so large that the first null
intersects the horizon, there is a significant decrease of coverage
in the serving area of the cell. This results in the decrease of C/I
of the downtilted cell. Although there may be C/I improvements
at the reuse cell, they come at a costly expense of coverage within
the downtilted cell. Refer to Section 3.1.2, Antenna-Pattern
Distortion in CellCAD.
Q: Does downtilt improve portable coverage?
A: Improved coverage is only realized in the angular range from half
of the downtilt angle to half of the first null beamwidth (FNBW)
of the downtilted antenna. Refer to Section 2.4, Downtilt and
How It Works.
Q: Does mechanical downtilt result in the blossoming of the side
lobes?
A: Extreme downtilt angles lead to the formation of a notch in the
center of the antennas horizontal pattern. The side lobes of the
downtilted antenna are unchanged, while the gain seen at the

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center of the horizontal pattern has decreased. This causes the


effective front-to-side lobe ratio to decrease, giving the illusion
of the side lobes widening, or blossoming. For more information,
see Section 3.1.2, Antenna-Pattern Distortion in CellCAD.
Another condition that gives the appearance of side-lobe
blossoming occurs when the decreased gain of the downtilted
antenna on the horizon is considered for link budget analysis. The
effective isotropic radiated power (EIRP) value on the horizon
can be much lower than the gain at 90 on either side of the sector
center line, and this condition would result in the blossoming of
the side lobes.
Q: The antenna-pattern back lobe rises with mechanical downtilt.
Does this cause interference at the reuse cells?
A: If the back lobe has a broad vertical pattern, then the impact due
to mechanical downtilt is not significant. For a narrow-beam
back lobe with a sharp roll-off, interference increases only if the
reuse cell is above the downtilted cell and the back lobe is
pointing directly into the co-channel cell. CellCAD takes the
back lobe into account for coverage and interference calculations
in the propagation analysis.
1.4

General Facts About Downtilting


Remember the following facts when considering downtilting:
Downtilt results in coverage loss in the angular range from the
horizon to half of the downtilt angle and coverage gain in the
angular range from half of the downtilt angle to half of the first
null beamwidth of the downtilted antenna. Refer to Section 2.4,
Downtilt and How It Works.
Downtilt impact on coverage and interference is nearly
independent of the horizontal beamwidth of the antenna. Refer to
Section 3.1.3, Impact of Downtilt on Coverage and
Interference.
Downtilt is a technique to be used wisely. Downtilt calculations
and implementation need to be highly accurate, especially for
high gain, narrow vertical beamwidth antennas.

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Downtilting Guidelines
The following sections describe the recommended guidelines for
downtilting which were developed from the results of the study.
1.5.1 Guideline 1

Avoid downtilting to more than half of the 3-dB vertical beamwidth


except under special circumstances.
Downtilt of 0 to half of 3-dB vertical beamwidth will improve C/I at
the reuse cell without causing severe coverage shrinkage in the
downtilted cell. Refer to Section 2.5, Optimal Downtilt Angles.
1.5.2 Guideline 2

If the downtilt angle is more than half of the 3-dB vertical beamwidth,
check for coverage holes with CellCAD.
Downtilting from half of 3-dB vertical beamwidth to the first null will
provide additional C/I improvement at the reuse cell, but with
significant coverage shrinkage in the downtilted site as you approach
the first null. Refer to Section 3.1.2, Antenna-Pattern Distortion in
CellCAD.
1.5.3 Guideline 3

Avoid downtilting 30 and 60 vertical beamwidth antennas.


Control of coverage and interference due to downtilting is better with
narrow vertical beamwidth antennas of 15 or lower. Vertical
beamwidth is the dominant factor in downtilt performance. For more
information, see Section 3.1.3, Impact of Downtilt on Coverage and
Interference.
1.5.4 Guideline 4

If the downtilt angle is more than the half of the 3-dB vertical
beamwidth, check for link balance with the vendor-supplied antenna
patterns. (CellCAD will not check for uplink and downlink path
imbalance.)
Due to pattern variance outside the 3-dB beamwidth, gain difference
between transmit and receive frequency increases as downtilt increases.
This gain difference may introduce significant path imbalance as the
downtilt approaches the first null. See Section 4.1, Antenna Pattern at
Transmit and Receive Frequencies.

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1.6

Antenna Downtilt Methodology and Guidelines

Procedure For Reducing Interference


There are several known methods to reduce interference and improve
C/I of a system. This document suggests the following steps as
procedures to solve interference and coverage problems.
Step 1: Identify the source of interference and quantify existing C/I
levels. This can be done using MSC interference measurements
routines provided by our equipment manufacturers. Measurements of
signal during idle channel periods will provide information on
interference levels. (For example, MCHA1 Signal Strength On Idle
Channel in Ericssons Radio Environment Statistics package.)
Step 2: Use one (or more) of the four conventional options available to
reduce interference, in order of preference.
Option 1: Adjust frequency assignments at the site interference or
the victim site.
Option 2: Reduce EIRP of the site causing interference. Rerun
propagation model in CellCAD with the reduced EIRP to ensure
this does not result in coverage holes in the service area of the
interfering site.
Option 3: Reduce the antenna height of the site. Simulate its
impact on coverage and interference with CellCAD. This option
may be attractive from an RF engineering point of view but may
not always be practical in terms of site availability.
Option 4: If the above options fail to produce the desired result, the
engineer should consider downtilting using the guidelines stated in
this document. We have verified through extensive drive testing
that CellCAD implementation of mechanical and electrical
downtilt is accurate.
In some special cases a combination of EIRP reduction, lowered
transmission height, and antenna downtilting needs to be considered to
obtain the desired result.
Step 3: The final result of coverage and interference control on system
design should be verified with drive tests.
Prior to following the above steps, ensure that the CellCAD
propagation model is optimized for your environment.

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2.0

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Principles Of Antenna Downtilting


The following sections present a discussion on antenna beamwidth,
different kinds of downtilts, and downtilting geometry and how it
works.
2.1

Introduction
Should your radio communication system include an antenna with
downtilt? If so, how much downtilt? The answers to these questions
can make a large difference in your system coverage.
Although antenna downtilt enhances coverage in certain areas, it can
also decrease coverage if used in an inappropriate situation.
Important: The intent of this document is to provide a basic
understanding of coverage and interference issues related to
antenna downtilting. Note that this document does not address the
impact of downtilting on system performance parameters. Changes
in signal strength and interference will affect handoff mechanisms,
so it is recommended that any adjustments to RF coverage
(specifically, changes in EIRP and downtilt) be completed before
parameter optimization occurs.

2.2

Background Information
The following sections discuss the terminology related to downtilt as
used throughout this document.
2.2.1 Gain

Gain is the ratio of the maximum radiation in a given direction to that


of a reference antenna for equal input power. If the antenna gain is
10 dBi, it will increase the transmit or received power by 10 dB over
what an isotropic antenna would provide. Gain is related to the
amount of focus the antenna applies to the signal it broadcasts.

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2.2.2 Half-Power 3-dB Beamwidth

The half-power beamwidth (HPBW) is the angle between points on the


main lobe that are 3 dB lower in gain compared to the maximum. Gain
is related to vertical and horizontal half-power beamwidth. Narrowing
either beam increases the antenna gain. In general, as discussed earlier,
the main coverage area of the cell should fall within the half-power
beamwidth.
Figure 2.1 shows the half-power beamwidth or the 3-dB point for the
horizontal and vertical antenna pattern.
Figure 2.1

Horizontal and Vertical Antenna Patterns

Maximum Gain
3-dB Point

3-dB Point

Beamwidth

3-dB Point

3-dB Point

Vertical Antenna Pattern

Horizontal Antenna Pattern

2.2.3 First Null Beamwidth

The first null beamwidth (FNBW) is the angular span between the first
pattern nulls adjacent to the main lobe. This term describes the angular
coverage of the downtilted cell.
2.2.4 Front-to-Back Ratio

The front-to-back ratio (F/B) is the ratio of amplitude between the


antennas maximum gain and the antennas gain at 180.

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2.2.5 Front-to-Side Ratio

The front-to-side ratio (F/S) is the antennas gain at 90 from boresight


in relation to the main lobes maximum gain.
2.2.6 Radiation Patterns

A radiation pattern is a two-dimensional graphical representation of the


antennas three-dimensional field of view. The horizontal and the
vertical patterns show the antennas characteristics at different angles in
the vertical and the horizontal planes. A radiation pattern illustrates the
gain with which an antenna can receive or transmit a signal at a given
angle in the horizontal or vertical planes.
Figure 2.2 shows the relationship between half-power (3 dB)
beamwidth, first side lobe, first-null beamwidth, and front-to-back
ratio.
Figure 2.2

Antenna Radiation Pattern in Polar Coordinates


Main Lobe
Axis

Main
Lobe

3-dB
Half-Power
Beamwidth (HPBW)

First-Null Beamwidth
(FNBW)

Minor
Lobe Null

First Side
Lobe
Back
Lobe

14

Side
Lobes

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2.2.7 Antenna Downtilting

Antenna downtilting is the downward tilt of the vertical pattern towards


the ground by a fixed angle measured with respect to the horizon.
Downtilting of the antenna changes the position of the half-power
beamwidth (HPBW) and the first nulls relative to the horizon. On most
antennas the peak of the beam (maximum gain) is at 0 (parallel to the
horizon) and never intersects the horizon. A small downtilt places the
beam maximum at the cell edge and also brings the first null closer to
the site, which may or may not pose a coverage problem.
With appropriate downtilt, the received signal strength within the cell
improves due to the placement of the main lobe within the cell radius
and falls off in regions approaching the cell boundary and towards the
reuse cell.
There are two methods of downtilting: Mechanical and electrical. The
following subsections describe the methods and details of each.
2.2.7.1

Mechanical Downtilting

Mechanical downtilting consists of physically rotating an antenna


downward around an axis from its vertical position, as illustrated in
Figure 2.3.
In mechanical downtilting, as the front lobe moves downward the back
lobe moves upward in a seesaw effect. This is one of the potential
drawbacks of mechanical downtilting as compared to electrical
downtilting: Coverage behind the antenna can be negatively affected as
the back lobe rises above the horizon. In addition, mechanical downtilt
does not change the gain of the antenna at 90 from antenna horizon.
Figure 2.3

Mechanical Downtilt

No Downtilt

Mechanical
Downtilt

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2.2.7.2

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Electrical Downtilting

Electrical downtilting, shown in Figure 2.4, uses a phase taper in the


antenna array to angle the pattern downward. This method allows an
antenna to be mounted vertically. Electrical downtilting is the only
practical way to achieve pattern downtilting with omnidirectional
antennas.
Electrical downtilt affects both the front and back lobes. If the front
lobe is electrically downtilted n, typically the back lobe will also be
downtilted n. Because it is not subject to the seesaw effect between
front and back lobes, electrical downtilting provides a good alternative
to mechanical downtilting.
Electrical downtilting also reduces the gain equally at all angles on the
horizon, avoiding the fixed-gain-at-90 situation common to
mechanical downtilting.
However, electrical downtilting does have drawbacks in terms of gain
and logistics. Electrical downtilting reduces the antenna gain relative to
a non-downtilted antenna. This loss depends on the amount of electrical
downtilt and ranges between 0.5 and 1 dB. Electrical downtilting can
only be done effectively in antennas with multiple array elements.
Figure 2.4

Electrical Downtilt

No Downtilt

Electrical
Downtilt

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2.3

Antenna Downtilt Methodology and Guidelines

Advantages of Downtilting
Downtilting is frequently used to produce smaller cells and improve
frequency reuse through the reduction of co-channel interference.
Many markets use downtilting for urban sites.
The principal idea of the downtilting technique is to tilt the main beam
in order to suppress the interfering radiation directed towards the reuse
cells, thus increasing the carrier-to-interference ratio (C/I). However,
the carrier level may also decrease within the downtilted cell edge as a
result of downtilting. Depending on the site and terrain configuration,
the interference level may decrease more than the carrier level, so that
the total carrier-to-interference ratio increases.
Figure 2.5 illustrates the effectiveness of the downtilt technique in
reducing the frequency reuse distance. Let X denote the distance
between two reuse cells, A and B. Clearly, X must be chosen such that
the interfering signal strength from A reaching the cell boundary of B
falls below the acceptable threshold for interference. As shown in
Figure 2.5, without downtilting the distance Xo is greater than the
distance Xr obtained with downtilting. Therefore, downtilting the
antenna may allow for a slight reduction in frequency reuse distance
and still maintain the C/I objective.
Large tilt angles can also lead to a reduction in the coverage serving
area of the cell. Therefore, downtilting should only be applied as long
as there is a decrease in the signal at the reuse cell without significantly
impacting the coverage of the downtilted cell.

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Figure 2.5

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Downtilt Effect to Reduce Frequency-Reuse Distance

Horizontal beam

Ti
lt

be
a

Signal Strength

Wit
ho

ith

Do
wn
tilt

Xr

18

ut D
own
t

ilt

Interference
Threshold

Distance from Base Station

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2.4

Antenna Downtilt Methodology and Guidelines

Downtilt and How It Works


This section explains how downtilting can provide coverage gains and
losses at different angles within the vertical plane.
For the purpose of illustration, consider a vertically mounted antenna
with a pattern as shown in Figure 2.6.
Figure 2.6

Vertical Radiation Pattern of an Antenna

Gm

The gain of the vertically mounted antenna along the horizon is Gm


which is also the maximum gain. T is the angle of the tangent to the
main lobe which can also be defined as half of the first-null beamwidth.
Figure 2.7 shows the radiation pattern that occurs when this antenna is
mechanically downtilted by an angle D with respect to the horizon.
Figure 2.7

Pattern of a Downtilted Antenna


GD

The gain of the downtilted antenna along the horizon is denoted by GD.

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Figure 2.8 shows the two antenna patterns superimposed. Gm and GD


denote the gains of the vertically mounted antenna and downtilted
antenna, respectively, at the horizon.
Figure 2.8

Pattern of the Far-Field Changes with Downtilt

GD

Gm
I

Rx

T
At I, = D/2; Gr = 0 dB

The relative gain Gr of the downtilted antenna with respect to a


vertically mounted antenna at the horizon can then be expressed (in dB)
as
Gr = GD Gm

(Eq 2.1)

In Figure 2.8, I is the point where the two antenna patterns intersect.
Theoretically, angle I occurs at half the downtilt angle (D/2).

is the angle from the antenna to the receiver in the vertical plane. is
changing from the horizon to the lower tangent of the main lobe. is 0
at the horizon and half the downtilt angle (D/2) at I.

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Figure 2.9 shows how Gr varies with . Note that at angle I the gains of
the downtilted and non-downtilted antennas are identical. At angles
less than I the non-downtilted gain (Gm) is greater, making Gr negative.
At angles greater than I the downtilted gain (GD) is greater, and Gr
becomes positive.
Figure 2.9

Relative Gain of Downtilted Antenna Compared to a Vertical


Antenna (dB) as a Function of Angle Elevation to Receiver

Gain (dB)
+ Gr
Angle from
Horizontal

(0,0)

Gr

D/2

D+T

Because the vertically mounted antenna under consideration has


maximum gain at the horizon, it follows from Figure 2.9 that the gain
of the downtilted antenna at the horizon ( = 0) is less than the
maximum. A negative value for Gr at the horizon ( = 0) implies that
the receiver and reuse site receives less signal from the downtilted
antenna. A positive value for Gr implies that the receiver and reuse site
receives more signal from the downtilted antenna.
The theoretical plot of Figure 2.9 illustrates two important points:
The signal strength is reduced in the angular range from the
horizon to half of the downtilt angle by Gr. This will provide
interference reduction to the reuse cells, but also reduces
coverage by Gr in the same angular span of the downtilted cell.
Coverage improvements due to increased gain are only realized
in the angular range from D/2 to D + T.

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2.5

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Optimal Downtilt Angles


Although the use of downtilt can be an effective method for controlling
interference, the amount of downtilt must be carefully chosen. This
section illustrates the optimum amount by which an antenna must be
downtilted in order to minimize both the coverage loss at the
downtilted cell and the interference at the reuse cell.
Figure 2.10 shows a typical tower site with a downtilted antenna. The
primary illumination area is the area on the ground that receives the
signal contained within the 3-dB vertical beamwidth of the antenna.
Figure 2.10 Downtilting an Antenna to Cover Shadow Areas (Diagram)
0
Downtilt angle
(D )
Main lobe
3-dB Beamwidth

Height
(H)
Primary
illumination
area
Cellmax

The distance from the base station to the outer limit of this illumination
area is denoted by Cellmax. The distance may or may not coincide with
the cell boundary definitions because the coverage limit of a cell is a
user-definable quantity with the possible values of urban (70 dBm),
suburban (80 dBm), and rural (90 dBm). Ideally, in a well-designed
system, Cellmax should always be less than the co-channel reuse
distance to minimize interference.

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Figure 2.11 is a schematic diagram of the configuration shown in


Figure 2.10.
Figure 2.11 Downtilting of an Antenna (Schematic)
Horizon

Downtilt angle
(D )

Height
(H)
3-dB Beamwidth

Main lobe

Cellmax
(not to scale)

If f is defined as the angle between the upper edge of the HPBW and
the horizon, the following equations can be derived, relating height
above terrain H, downtilt angle D, 3-dB vertical beamwidth, and
Cellmax:
tan() = Cellmax / H

(Eq 2.2)

= D 0.5 3-dB vertical beamwidth

(Eq 2.3)

Cellmax = H / tan(D 0.5 3-dB vertical beamwidth)

(Eq 2.4)

For Cellmax to be a positive quantity, the downtilt angle must be half of


the 3-dB vertical beamwidth of the antenna (refer to Equation 2.4).
When the downtilt angle is less than half of the 3-dB vertical
beamwidth, part of the signal from the main beam emanates towards
the horizon. The signal directed towards or above the horizon can
potentially cause interference at the reuse sites. The antenna can be

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downtilted up to half the 3-dB vertical beamwidth to provide


interference reduction without significant coverage reduction.
Guideline 1: Downtilt of 0 to half of 3-dB vertical beamwidth will
improve C/I at the reuse cell without causing significant coverage
shrinkage at the downtilted cell.
2.6

Tilt Caution
Downtilting is a powerful tool, but it must be used wisely. When
downtilting antennas, RF engineers must always consider the planned
cell-edge radius, terrain, and the half-power beamwidth (HPBW) of the
antenna.
Before downtilting an antenna, determine its original coverage using
CellCAD. After applying the calculated downtilt, redo simulations to
determine if patchy coverage has resulted from the change.
Inadvertent downtilting of high-gain antennas by more than a few
degrees can cause significant shortfalls in performance. This can occur
when an installer fails to properly align an antenna, or when a poorly
installed antenna tilts mechanically with time. Storms and other
external influences can also cause such problems.

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3.0

Antenna Downtilt Methodology and Guidelines

Data From Simulations


Section 3.1 analyzes the results from the CellCAD simulation and
Section 3.2 discusses a few practical examples of downtilting with the
help of a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.
3.1

CellCAD Simulation
Section 3.1.1 explains how CellCAD applies antenna gain calculations
to its propagation model. Sections 3.1.2 and 3.1.3 analyze the results
from the simulations done in CellCAD to observe the impact of
downtilting on antenna pattern distortion, coverage, and interference.
3.1.1 Antenna Gain Calculations in CellCAD

CellCAD bases its antenna-gain calculations on the horizontal and


vertical antenna patterns stored in two separate files. CellCAD
computes the antenna gain separately for the horizontal and vertical
planes, then adds the two gain values in decibel units to obtain the total
gain in decibels. Also, because the gain values are normalized with
respect to the maximum antenna gain, they are either zero or negative.
Figure 3.12 gives an example of this calculation in which the mobile
location dictates a 3-dB vertical and 1.5-dB horizontal reduction in gain
from the maximum. The resulting EIRP at the mobile is 4.5 dB below
the maximum (50 dBm 4.5 dBm = 45.5 dBm).
Figure 3.12 Example of CellCAD Antenna Gain Calculations
Vertical Antenna Pattern

Horizontal Antenna Pattern


0 dB

Maximum Gain

Maximum Gain

3 dB

1.5 dB

1.5 dB

100-W ERP = 50 dBm

50-W ERP = 47 dBm

3 dB

3-dB Point

50 dBm 3 dB = 47 dBm
47 dBm 1.5 dB = 45.5 dBm

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The following section explains how CellCAD computes antenna gain


with and without downtilt.
3.1.1.1

Calculations in the Horizontal Plane Without Downtilt

CellCAD calculates the angle in the x-y plane between the antenna
orientation and the line joining the antenna to the receiver (0 < 360).
It then determines the relative gain at angle from the antenna file
containing the horizontal antenna pattern.
Figure 3.13 Definition of Angle
z

y
antenna
orientation

Horiz

3.1.1.2

l Pla
o n ta

ne

Rx
x

Calculations in the Vertical Plane Without Downtilt

CellCAD calculates the elevation angle in the plane containing the


transmitter and receiver and determines the relative gain at angle from
the antenna file containing the vertical antenna pattern.
Figure 3.14 Definition of Angle
z

al
zont
Hori lane
P

26

Rx
x

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3.1.1.3

Calculations in the Horizontal Plane with Downtilt

Because downtilting does not affect the antennas performance in the


horizontal plane, calculations in the horizontal plane are identical with
and without downtilt. See Section 3.1.1.1 for more information.
3.1.1.4

Calculations in the Vertical Plane with Electrical Downtilt

CellCAD calculates the elevation angle as in Section 3.1.1.2 and adds


the downtilt angle to to obtain '. CellCAD then computes the relative
gain at ' from the vertical antenna pattern.
Figure 3.15 shows the horizontal and vertical antenna patterns with no
tilt and 10 electrical downtilt of an omnidirectional antenna. The
horizontal pattern shrinks uniformly, preserving its circular shape. The
vertical pattern is shifted symmetrically in an umbrella-shaped fashion.
Figure 3.15 Radiation Patterns for 10 Electrical Downtilt

Horizontal

Vertical

10 dB

10 dB
0 dB

5 dB
10 dB
20 dB

0 dB

No Downtilt
10 Electrical Downtilt
Antenna Name

DB806

Beam Width

360

Manufacturer

Decibel

Maximum Gain

6 dB

3.1.1.5

Calculations in the Vertical Plane with Mechanical Downtilt

Because the front and the back lobes do not change symmetrically in
mechanical downtilting, the following formula is used to calculate the
effective downtilt angle dt':
dt' = arctan (tan dt cos )
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where dt is the angle by which the antenna is physically downtilted and


is the angle in the horizontal (x-y) plane as computed in
Section 3.1.1.1.
CellCAD adds the dt' value to (the elevation angle from
Section 3.1.1.2) to obtain ' and then determines the relative gain at '
from the vertical antenna pattern.
Figure 3.16 shows the radiation pattern of an omnidirectional antenna
with no tilt and 10 mechanical tilt. Although omnidirectional antennas
are never mechanically downtilted, DB806 is used in this example so
that it can be compared with Figure 3.15, showing the difference
between electrical and mechanical downtilt on the same antenna type.
The horizontal pattern is distorted from its original circular shape
because the effective downtilt angle changes with the angle (refer to
Equation 3.5). The vertical pattern shows an angular shift by the
downtilt angle.
Figure 3.16 Radiation Patterns for 10 Mechanical Downtilt

Horizontal

Vertical

10 dB

10 dB
0 dB

5 dB
10 dB
20 dB

0 dB

No Downtilt
10 Mechanical Downtilt

28

Antenna Name

DB806

Front-to-Back

0 dB

Manufacturer

Decibel

Maximum Gain

6 dB

Beam Width

360

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3.1.2 Antenna-Pattern Distortion in CellCAD

Mechanical downtilt is asymmetrical along the horizontal axis;


therefore the effective downtilt observed in the horizontal plane is not
the same at all angles. The effective downtilt angle dt' can be
approximately related to the physical downtilt angle dt by the following
equations:
dt' = atan (tan dt cos ), where is the angle in the H plane

(Eq 3.6)

dt' = dt ( = 0, 360) at the horizon

(Eq 3.7)

dt' = 0 ( = 90) at the sides, showing no signal change

(Eq 3.8)

dt' = dt ( = 180) at back lobe, resulting in seesaw effect

(Eq 3.9)

For antennas with large vertical beamwidths (30 to 60), downtilt has
a negligible effect on the shape of the horizontal pattern in the main
lobe. This is because of the broad roll-off of the main beam, absence of
any side lobes, and large null beamwidths, as shown in Figures 3.17
and 3.18.
Figure 3.17 Radiation Patterns for 10 Mechanical Downtilt
for Antennas with Large Vertical Beamwidths
Horizontal

Vertical

10 Mechanical Tilt

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Figure 3.18 Radiation Patterns for 20 Mechanical Downtilt


for Antennas with Large Vertical Beamwidths
Horizontal

Vertical

20 Mechanical Tilt

No Tilt

For narrow vertical beamwidth antennas, mechanical downtilt alters the


shape of the horizontal pattern significantly. As the downtilt
approaches the half-vertical beamwidth angle, the signal decreases only
near the boresight of the horizontal pattern as shown in Figure 3.19.
Figure 3.19 Radiation Patterns for 7 Mechanical Downtilt
for Antennas with Narrow Vertical Beamwidths
Horizontal

Vertical

7 Mechanical Tilt

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When the downtilt angle is such that the first null of the vertical pattern
intersects the horizon, a notch is formed in the horizontal pattern, as
shown in Figure 3.20. Notches continue to appear as the tilt angle is
increased and successive nulls of the vertical pattern cross the horizon.
Figure 3.20 Radiation Patterns for 18 Mechanical Downtilt
for Antennas with Narrow Vertical Beamwidths
Horizontal

Vertical

18 Mechanical Tilt

No Tilt

These notches result in a significant decrease or loss of coverage in the


serving area of the cell. The goal of downtilting, however, should be to
decrease the signal along the cell edge or at the reuse area without
reducing the primary cell coverage region.
Therefore, the following can be concluded: Placing the nulls of the
vertical pattern along the horizon results in a significant decrease of the
coverage in the serving area of the cell and thereby significantly
decreases the carrier-to-interference ratio (C/I) of the downtilted cell.
These notches could reduce interference at reuse cells, but it comes at
the expense of coverage within the downtilted cell.
Guideline 2: Downtilting from half of 3-dB vertical beamwidth to
the first null will provide additional C/I improvement at the reuse
site, but with significant coverage shrinkage at the downtilted site
as you approach the first null.
3.1.3 Impact of Downtilt on Coverage and Interference

These simulations are done in CellCAD on a market terrain database,


which is also the market for the field tests.

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Figure 3.21 shows the site configuration plot for test simulations. T1 is
the test site; T2 through T7 are hypothetical simulated sites.
Figure 3.21 Site Configuration Plot for Test Simulation

A1L1
T7

A1L1
T2

A1L1
T6

A1L1
T1
A1L1
T3

A1L1
T5

A1L1
T4

The following is a summary of the simulation setup:


An AMPS grid pattern with a 7-cell reuse plan is simulated. The
co-channel reduction factor q is calculated as 4.6R, where R is the
cell radius.
T1 through T7 are co-channel test sites with an assigned
frequency of A1L1 (that is, the lowest frequency of the A1
group).
System coverage threshold, which is defined as the weakest
acceptable signal strength for the station, is set to 105 dBm.
CellCAD uses this value to determine how far it has to look when
calculating coverage and interference.
System-wide C/I (the ratio the system can tolerate in areas where
interference is present) is set to 17 dB.
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Coverage is based on a secondary threshold which was set to


95 dBm. This method uses the desired stations secondary
threshold value to determine the geographic limits of the desired
station coverage.
All seven stations are set at 53 m with an EIRP of 70.27 W.
All the stations are downtilted by the same downtilt angle.
Area coverage and area interference are generated from the
CellCAD interference reports.
Area coverage is the area in square kilometers that is covered by
a station and within which the signal strength equals or exceeds
the secondary threshold.
Area interference is the area in square kilometers affected by
interference. It is the amount of area within the coverage area
where the station C/I is less than the system C/I of 17 dB.
Simulations are done with Decibel antennas on cellular
frequencies. Combinations of antennas with broad and narrow
horizontal and vertical beamwidth are simulated in this analysis.
The following graphs, showing control of coverage and interference
with increasing angle of downtilt, are generated from the simulations.
For Figure 3.22 and Figure 3.23 the horizontal beamwidth is set
constant at 60 and the vertical beamwidth is set to values of 15, 30
and 60.

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Figure 3.22 Coverage Area Comparison for Antennas


with Varying Vertical Beamwidths
1.000

Coverage Area
60

0.900

Cov
era
ge A

Ratio of Area (DT/No DT)

0.800
0.700
0.600

Co
v

0.500

era

ge
A

0.400

rea

15

0.300

VB

rea

30
V

VBW

BW

0.200
0.100
0.000

10

15

20

25

30

25

30

Downtilt Angle

Figure 3.23 Interference Area Comparison for Antennas


with Varying Vertical Beamwidths
1.000
0.900

Inter
fere

0.700
erf
Int

0.600

In

nce
ere

0.500
0.400

a
Are

0.300

te

rfe

re
n

ce

Ar
ea

W
VB
15

Ratio of Area (DT/No DT)

0.800

0.200

30

n ce

Area

60 V
BW

VB
W

0.100
0.000

10

15

20

Downtilt Angle

It is obvious from the graphs that both coverage and interference area
decrease more sharply with downtilt for narrow vertical beamwidth
antenna of 15 than with broad vertical beamwidth antenna of 60.
For antennas with large vertical beamwidths, downtilt has little or no
impact on coverage and interference area, as indicated by the relatively
flat graphs for 30 and 60 vertical beamwidth antennas shown in

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Figure 3.22 and Figure 3.23. This is due to the wide beamwidth of the
main lobe of the vertical pattern. In Figure 3.18, downtilt angle of 20
shows only a slight shrinkage at the cell edge.
For antennas with narrow vertical beamwidths of 15, downtilting
results in considerable decrease in coverage and interference area. Such
antennas are high gain and have a sharper roll-off of the main beam.
The change in both the coverage and interference area is most
noticeable when the downtilt angle is close to half of the 3-dB vertical
beamwidth point. This is because for downtilt angles of less than half
of the 3-dB vertical beamwidth, the upper half of the main lobe is still
above or along the horizon.
Important: Control of coverage and interference due to
downtilting is better with narrow vertical beamwidth antennas.
For Figure 3.24 and Figure 3.25 the vertical beamwidth is set constant
at 15 and the horizontal beamwidth is set to values of 60, 90, and
120.
Figure 3.24 Coverage Area Comparison for Antennas
with Varying Horizontal Beamwidths
1.000
0.900
Ratio of Area (DT/No DT)

0.800
0.700
0.600
Cove
ra

0.500

Co v

0.400

erag
e

Cove
r

0.300

Area

age A

0.200

ge A
r ea 1

r ea 6

90 H

20 H
BW

BW

0 HB

0.100
0.000

10

15

20

25

30

Downtilt Angle

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Figure 3.25 Interference Area Comparison for Antennas


with Varying Horizontal Beamwidths
1.000
0.900

0.700

I nt

W
HB
0
12
ea
Ar
e
nc
BW
re
W
0H
rfe
9
HB
a
te
e
60
r
In
re a
eA
nc
eA
ere erenc
erf
Int

er f

Ratio of Area (DT/No DT)

0.800

0.600
0.500
0.400
0.300
0.200
0.100
0.000

10

15

20

25

30

Downtilt Angle

Figures 3.24 and 3.25 show approximately the same shape and slope
values for the different horizontal beamwidths. Comparing the slopes
of Figures 3.24 and 3.25 with those of Figures 3.22 and 3.23 illustrates
the point that horizontal beamwidth has very little impact on
downtilting. In general, the rate of change of coverage or interference
area with increasing downtilt angle is approximately the same for
antennas with different values of horizontal beamwidth; the change in
coverage and interference area as a function of increasing downtilt is
impacted very little by the horizontal beamwidth of the antenna.
Guideline 3: Reduction in coverage and interference area due to
downtilt is nearly independent of the horizontal beamwidth of the
antenna.
3.2

Practical Examples of Downtilting


The objective of this section is to quantify coverage changes at the
downtilted cell and interference reduction at the reuse cell at different
downtilt angle. This calculation is only an approximation; actual
performances should be confirmed with CellCAD studies.
The disk attached to this document contains an Excel spreadsheet that
calculates the reduction in coverage and interference with a given
downtilt. Table 3.1 shows what the spreadsheet looks like.

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The spreadsheet simulates three theoretical conditions based on the


relationship between the downtilt sector, (defined below), (defined
below), and the reuse sector with respect to the horizon. These
conditions are described in detail in Sections 3.2.1 through 3.2.3.
For all three cases, is defined as the angle to the reuse sector border
from the horizon, is the angle to the downtilt sector border from the
horizon, and D is the user-entered downtilt angle. ASL stands for above
sea level and HAGL is height above ground level. For more
information, see Figures 3.26 through 3.29.
The vertical radiation pattern is taken into consideration for the EIRP
calculations; coverage and interference changes are calculated with
respect to the same scenario without any downtilt. The simulator only
calculates mechanical downtilt.
The calculator is based on the antenna patterns from conventional
Allgon antennas (ALP series) at 8, 15, 30, and 60 vertical
beamwidth. As shown previously, the antennas horizontal beamwidth
has little effect on downtilting and is excluded from calculation.

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Downtilt Calculator a

Table 3.1

This worksheet determines interference reduction at the reuse sector and EIRP coverage reduction at the
downtilted sector border when downtilt is used.
Bold red type indicates input values pertaining to your system.
Any associated messages are in pink.
The blue figure at the bottom shows the relative positions of the downtilted and reuse sectors. Thetab = angle
to downtilt sector border. Phi = angle to reuse sector.
The theoretical configuration and equations used in this worksheet are described in Section 2.0 of Antenna
Downtilt Methodology and Guidelines, document PP-4041-EK.

Downtilting Sector

Antenna Height Above Ground Level (m)

30

Antenna Height Above Sea Level (m)

100

Sector Radius (km)

Antenna Vertical Beamwidth


Options: 8, 15, 30, or 60 degrees

Planned Downtilt Angle

Downtilt exceeds 3 dB limit on border


Check sector coverage for holes!

Reuse Sector

Distance from Downtilt Sector (km)

12

Antenna Height Above Ground Level (meters)

30

Antenna Height Above Sea Level (meters)

100

Sector Radius (km)

3.2

Performance versus No Downtilt


Interference Reduction @ Reuse

4.61

dB

Change in EIRP at Downtilt Sector Border

3.34

dB

Caution: Coverage reduced!

Theta = 0.9
Downtilt Sector

Phi = 0.11

Reuse Sector

a. This table is a representation of a spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel format included on the attached disk. The
appearance of the actual spreadsheet may vary slightly from what is shown here.
b. Theta and Phi are equivalent to and , respectively.

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3.2.1 Case 1Reuse Is Below the Horizon

Case 1 represents the most common application of downtilting. In this


condition, reuse is below the horizon relative to downtilt sector. Figures
3.26 and 3.27 illustrate two geometric configurations of Case 1. A is
the site that is downtilted by angle D and has a coverage radius of
R1 km defined by the angle from the horizon. Similarly, B is the reuse
site at the angle from the horizon with a coverage radius of R2 km.
Figure 3.26 Case 1: > > Horizon (Example 1)
Horizon

HAGL1

R1

Downtilt Sector

ASL1

B
Reuse Cell
HAGL2
R2
ASL2
Sea Level

Figure 3.27 Case 1: > > Horizon (Example 2)

Downtilt Sector

Reuse Cell

HAGL1

Horizon

HAGL2

R1

ASL1

ASL2

R2

Sea Level

This condition is a representation of the CellCAD simulation and the


field tests example. is greater than and both quantities are below the
horizon.

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Coverage reduction is calculated at the downtilted site by


Equation 3.10.
EIRP change at downtilted cell = G() G(D )

(Eq 3.10)

where G() is the antenna gain at angle with no downtilt, and


G(D ) is the antenna gain at angle with downtilt D.
Interference reduction at the reuse cell is expressed by Equation 3.11.
interference reduction at reuse cell = G() G(D )

(Eq 3.11)

where G() is the antenna gain at angle with no downtilt and G(D )
is the antenna gain at angle with downtilt D.

Table 3.2

Interference and Coverage Reduction for Case 1

Downtilt
Angle in
Degrees

Interference
Reduction for
8 Antenna

Coverage
Reduction for
8 Antenna

Interference
Reduction for
15 Antenna

Coverage
Reduction for
15 Antenna

0.4 dB

0.4 dB

0.3 dB

0.3 dB

1.9 dB

1.9 dB

1.1 dB

1.1 dB

3.2 dB

3.2 dB

1.6 dB

1.6 dB

4.8 dB

4.8 dB

2.3 dB

2.3 dB

6.9 dB

6.9 dB

3.1 dB

3.1 dB

9.4 dB

9.4 dB

4 dB

4 dB

10

16.8 dB

16.8 dB

6.3 dB

6.3 dB

15

29.7 dB

29.7 dB

17.8 dB

17.8 dB

3.2.1.1

Conclusion for Case 1

EIRP reduction at the downtilted cell is directly proportional to the


interference reduction at reuse cell. In Case 1 you can only make large
reduction in reuse interference if you sustain large reductions in
coverage.

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3.2.2 Case 2Reuse Is Above the Horizon

Case 2 occurs if the reuse site is on elevated terrain so that is above


the horizon (and therefore is negative), and reuse is above the horizon
relative to the downtilt sector.
Figure 3.28 Case 2: > Horizon

B
Reuse Cell
HAGL2

R2

Downtilt Sector

Horizon

HAGL1

ASL2
R1

ASL1

Sea Level

Coverage reduction at the downtilted site and interference reduction at


the reuse cell is calculated in the same manner as in Case 1, with
Equations 3.10 and 3.11.
Table 3.3

Interference and Coverage Reduction for Case 2

Downtilt
Angle in
Degrees

Interference
Reduction for
8 Antenna

Coverage
Reduction for
8 Antenna

Interference
Reduction for
15 Antenna

Coverage
Reduction for
15 Antenna

0.9 dB

0.4 dB

0.6 dB

0.3 dB

3.1 dB

1.9 dB

1.5 dB

1.1 dB

4.7 dB

3.2 dB

2.2 dB

1.6 dB

6.8 dB

4.8 dB

3 dB

2.3 dB

9.3 dB

6.9 dB

3.9 dB

3.1 dB

12.5 dB

9.4 dB

5 dB

4 dB

3.2.2.1

Conclusion for Case 2

Interference reduction at the reuse cell is always more than the


coverage reduction at the downtilted site. As the angular span between
and increases, large reductions can be made in interference without
large impact on downtilt cell coverage.

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3.2.3 Case 3Reuse Cell Is Shadowed by Terrain

In Case 3, is greater than , and the reuse sector is below the downtilt
sector and shadowed by the downtilt sector terrain.
Figure 3.29 Case 3: >
Horizon

HAGL1

R1

Reuse cell is shaded by landscape.


No effect at B.

Downtilt Sector

ASL1

Reuse Cell
HAGL2
R2
ASL2

Sea Level

Downtilting will probably only result in shrinking the coverage


boundary of the downtilt sector A without reducing the interference at
reuse site B. In these conditions diffraction becomes prominent and our
simple prediction model becomes inaccurate.
3.2.3.1

Conclusion for Case 3

Downtilting may not be an effective tool in case 3.

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4.0

Antenna Downtilt Methodology and Guidelines

Measured Results
This section analyzes downtilt data measured in an antenna range and
drive test data collected.
4.1

Antenna Pattern at Transmit and Receive Frequencies


Antenna patterns do vary with frequency, particularly outside of the
main lobe. The difference in the antenna pattern at transmit and receive
frequency becomes more pronounced with downtilt. This section
explores the path imbalance introduced by downtilting.
Figure 4.30 and Figure 4.31 are antenna range-measured patterns for
DB884H60-X, a 60 horizontal beamwidth antenna, at receive
(836 MHz) and transmit (880 MHz) frequencies with no downtilt.
Figure 4.30 Horizontal and Vertical Pattern at Receive (836 MHz) Frequency

Horizontal Pattern at Horizon

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Figure 4.31 Horizontal and Vertical Pattern at Transmit (880 MHz) Frequency

Horizontal Pattern at Horizon

Vertical Pattern

Figures 4.32 and 4.33 are the measured horizontal and vertical patterns
for the DB884H60-X at 15 mechanical downtilt.
Figure 4.32 Horizontal and Vertical Pattern at Transmit
Frequency (830 MHz) with 15 Downtilt

Horizontal Pattern at Horizon

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Vertical Pattern

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Figure 4.33 Horizontal and Vertical Pattern at Receive


Frequency (880 MHz) with 15 Downtilt

Horizontal Pattern at Horizon

Vertical Pattern

Note that the vertical patterns shown in Figure 4.33 are consistent
within the half-power beamwidth, but vary greatly in relation to side
lobes. Consequently, if large downtilt angles are used and coverage
depends on the pattern outside the half-power beamwidth, gain
variations will occur with frequency.
For the 15 mechanically downtilted antenna, the vertical pattern shows
an angular shift by the downtilt angle, while the horizontal pattern
displays a significant reduction in gain and beamwidth. In addition, at
15 mechanical downtilt condition there is a difference in the antennas
gain at the horizon at the two different frequencies. This condition can
lead to imbalance of the uplink and downlink paths.
Figure 4.34 highlights how this imbalance can increase as the downtilt
angle passes the half-power beamwidth. It shows two graphs of
horizontal gain for transmit and receive frequencies with increasing
downtilt angle.

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Figure 4.34 Loss in Signal Strength along the Horizon


20
Transmit Frequency 836 MHz

Antenna model DB884H60-X

Receive Frequency 880 MHz

Loss in dB at the Horizon

15

10 1

7 is the maximum recommended


downtilt at HPBW/2

-5
0

10

12

14

Downtilt Angle

The test antenna is a high gain 15 vertical beamwidth antenna. As the


downtilt angle exceeds half of the 3-dB vertical beamwidth and
approaches the first null, the imbalance of the uplink and downlink
paths becomes more prominent.
Guideline 4: Gain difference between transmit and receive
antennas increases as downtilt increases and may introduce
significant path imbalance as the downtilt approaches the first null.
Note: Figure 4.34 is an example of a single vendors antenna; patterns
will vary with vendor and model type. Performance will differ between
different manufacturers and problems will occur when one exceeds the
recommended downtilted angle.

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4.2

Antenna Downtilt Methodology and Guidelines

Drive Test Data Analysis


The objective of the drive test is to observe the impact of electrical and
mechanical downtilt on coverage and to validate the implementation of
downtilt calculations in CellCAD.
This test site can be classified as a suburban site at 53 m. The terrain
around the site is relatively flat, with no obstructions from the
surrounding buildings. The drive data was collected with RSAT 2000
and postprocessed with CellQUEST software, LCCs tools. Decibel
antennas with vertical beamwidths of 15 and 8 were used for the
drive tests.
4.2.1 15 Vertical Beamwidth Antenna

Figures 4.35 and 4.36 show the RSSI changes along the horizon for
antennas mechanically tilted to different angles. Figure 4.35 represents
the drive test data, and Figure 4.36 is the simulated data from CellCAD
for identical conditions.
Figure 4.35 RSSI Values Along the Horizon for Drive Test Data
-30

Antenna Type DB834RF

-40

-50

RSSI in dB

-60

0 mechanical tilt
-70

6 mechanical tilt
-80

10 mechanical tilt
-90

15 mechanical tilt

-100

-110
0

0.8

1.6

2.4

3.2

4.8

5.6

6.4

7.2

Distance from the Base Station in Km

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Figure 4.36 RSSI Values Along the Horizon for CellCAD Simulated Data
-30

Antenna Type DB834RF


-40

-50

RSSII in dB

-60

-70

0 mechanical tilt
-80

6 mechanical tilt
15 mechanical tilt

-90

10 mechanical tilt

-100

-110
0

0.8

1.6

2.4

3.2

4.8

5.6

6.4

7.2

Distance from the Base Station in Km

The relationship between the downtilted sector and the reuse sector for
the test site can be given by > > horizon (Case 1), where is defined
as the angle to the reuse sector border and is greater than , which is the
angle to the downtilt sector border, and both quantities are below the
horizon. See also Section 3.2.1.
Table 4.4 summarizes the results from the drive test and shows a
comparison with CellCAD data for the DB834RF antenna.
Table 4.4

Comparison of RSSI Between Drive Data and CellCAD

Downtilt
Angle
in Degrees

Coverage
Reduction
(Drive Test
Data)

Interference
Reduction
(Drive Test
Data)

Coverage
Reduction
(CellCAD
Simulation)

Interference
Reduction
(CellCAD
Simulation)

3 dB

3 dB

2 dB

2 dB

10

6 dB

6 dB

5 dB

5 dB

15

12 dB

12dB

12 dB

12 dB

From the comparison it can be concluded that downtilt calculations in


CellCAD compare closely to the field measurements. The results
shown in Table 4.4 also relate well to the calculator spreadsheet shown

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in Table 3.1, especially for downtilt angle angles of 6 and 10 for


antennas with 15 vertical beamwidth.
Both the Excel spreadsheet (within limits) and CellCAD software are
fairly accurate tools for determining coverage and interference
reductions at different downtilt angles.
4.2.2 8 Vertical Beamwidth Antenna

Figure 4.37 represents the RSSI changes along the horizon for PCS 8
vertical beamwidth antennas (with no tilt) and 8 vertical beamwidth
(with 2 electrical tilt). There is no change in the coverage within the
cell radius of suburban (85 dBm) boundary. At the reuse distance the
signal strength of the tilted antenna is lower by 1 dB compared to the
signal strength with no tilt. Therefore, the interference protection factor
at the reuse site is 1 dB for 2 electrically tilted PCS antennas.
Figure 4.37 RSSI Along the Horizon for PCS Tilted and Nontilted Antennas
-60
-65
-70
-75

RSSI in dB

-80
-85
-90

8 vertical beamwidth
antennas (with no tilt)

-95
-100

8 vertical beamwidth
(with 2 electrical tilt)

-105
-110

1.5

2.5

4.5

5.5

6.5

7.25 7.75 8.25 9.25 9.75

Distance from the Base Station in Km

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