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LinkCalc: NIST Link Budget Calculator

Version 1.24
Wireless Communication Technologies Group, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersurg, !aryland"
INT#$%&CTI$N
The performance of a digital radio system, in terms of its bit error rate (BER) or probability of bit error (Pe), is related to the bit energy-
to-noise density ratio (Eb/No) at the receiver, here !noise! may incl"de interference in addition to the thermal noise generated in the
receiver# Theoretical analysis of system performance is based on post"lating a val"e for the signal-to-noise poer ratio ($NR) at the
receiver, hich can be converted to received Eb/No#
%hen assessing the act"al system performance in a partic"lar application, it is necessary to calc"late the act"al received $NR#
This calc"lation re&"ires a !lin' b"dget,! hich simply is a caref"l acco"nting of the vario"s terms in the folloing e&"ation for received
$NR e(pressed in dB "nits)
$NR(dB) * Received signal poer(dBm) - receiver noise poer(dBm)
* Transmitted poer (dBm) + ,in' gains (dB) - ,in' losses (dB) - Receiver noise poer (dBm)
here, as ill"strated in the
diagram, the lin' gains incl"de
antenna gains and the lin' losses
can be gro"ped into three cate-
gories) transmission losses (,t),
propagation loss (,p), and
reception losses (,r)#
-n the folloing or'sheets
of this spreadsheet or'boo', te(t
and macros for e(plaining and
entering the poer, gain, and loss
terms of the lin' b"dget e&"ation
are provided# The last or'sheet
then s"mmari.es the lin' b"dget
and calc"lates hether there is a
!b"dget s"rpl"s#! -ptions for
changing lin' b"dget parameters
/0T0
$-1R2E
Bit rate, R
b
2-/3N4 5
6-/1,0T3-N
$ymbol rate, R
s
TR0N$63TTER
-"tp"t poer, P
t
0NTENN0
0ntenna gain, G
t
Transmission losses, L
t
0NTENN0
0ntenna gain, G
r
RE2E37ER
$ymbol rate, R
s
/E6-/1,0T3-N
5 /E2-/3N4
Bit rate, R
b
/0T0
$3N8
N-3$E +
3NTER9EREN2E
Noise fig"re, NF, or noise
poer spectral density, N
0
Received E
b
/N
0
Propagation loss, L
p
Reception losses, L
r
to !balance the b"dget! are
s"ggested#
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Permission to "se this softare is contingent "pon yo"r acceptance of the terms of this agreement and "pon yo"r providing appropriate
ac'noledgments of N3$T?s onership of the softare#
/isclaimer)
-----------
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representations regarding the "se of the softare or the res"lts thereof, incl"ding b"t not limited to the correctness, acc"racy, reliability
or "sef"lness of the softare#
E"estions and comments to)
--------------------------
,# E# 6iller $DEET PR-TE2T3-N
%ireless 2omm"nications Technologies 4ro"p The or'sheets are protected "sing the passord
National 3nstit"te of $tandards and Technology (N3$T) !ln'bdg! in order to prevent accidental eras"re or
lmillerFnist#gov modification of the content#
7ersion history)
;#=; G/HH/=H 0dded !2lic' toI! on data entry b"ttonsJ corrected intro te(t
;#; G/HK/=H 3mplemented margin calc"lation for combined fading and shadoing
;#;; ;=/;=/=H Removed stray implementation data on ,in' ,osses page left over from previo"s editing
;#;H L/;M/=L Noted alternate definition of noise temperat"re
;#H ;;/H;/=L 2orrected Data form"las for !open! and !s"b"rban! (antenna height-gain not added)
;#H; ;H/;</=L 2orrected !large city! Data form"la (L#H factor on antenna height-gain, not L#;)
/0T0
$-1R2E
Bit rate, R
b
2-/3N4 5
6-/1,0T3-N
$ymbol rate, R
s
TR0N$63TTER
-"tp"t poer, P
t
0NTENN0
0ntenna gain, G
t
Transmission losses, L
t
0NTENN0
0ntenna gain, G
r
RE2E37ER
$ymbol rate, R
s
/E6-/1,0T3-N
5 /E2-/3N4
Bit rate, R
b
/0T0
$3N8
N-3$E +
3NTER9EREN2E
Noise fig"re, NF, or noise
poer spectral density, N
0
Received E
b
/N
0
Propagation loss, L
p
Reception losses, L
r
;#HH ;/H;/=N 6odified licensing and disclaimer information
;#HL </HO/=< 2orrected poer conversion form"las for poer entered in dBm
;#HN ;/;M/=O 0dded reminder to clic' on noise calc"lation if bandidth is changed
'ccounting of Signal, Noise, and Interference (o)ers
the val"es belo#
Transmit poer =#==H % H m% L#= dBm
constant and Tr is the receiver noise temperat"re in degrees 8elvin# Bolt.mannPs constant e&"als ;#LGE-HL Qo"les/R8#
3nstead of giving a noise temperat"re for a receiver, man"fact"rers more commonly give a factor, 9 * Tr / To, 'non: as
No * (;#LGE-HL):Tr * (N#=NLE-H;):9 J in dB, No(dB) * -;ML#K dB(m%/D.) + N9(dB)
mod"lator symbol rate, Rs, for a ide variety of p"lse shapes# The bit rate, Rb, is "s"ally loer than the symbol rate
beca"se of coding, repetition, spreading, etc
Rb('D.) Rs('D.)
K#O HN<M#O
3nterference, if ta'en to be noise poer independent of the signal, can be acco"nted for "sing an e&"ivalent interference
spectral poer density, 3o# $ince the total !noise! spectral poer density then is No + 3o * No(; + 3o/No), the interference
poer can be specified by the ratio 3o/No#
Noise temperat"re (R8) ;GNK
Noise fig"re (dB) G#=
Noise poer (dBm) -;=H#=
3nterference ratio (dB) -H#H
Note) if rates are changed, the noise poers need to 3nterference poer (dBm) -;=N#H
be recalc"lated by clic'ing above# Total noise poer (dBm) -;==#=
BER--is either specified directly as the !receiver sensitivity! or indirectly in the form of a re&"ired $NR val"e or a re&"ired
Eb/No val"e# Eb/No e&"als the $NR times Rs/Rb, the ratio of symbol rate to bit rate (processing gain)# 4iven the re&"ired
Transmit Power can be entered in "nits of atts (%), milliatts (m%), or decibels relative to ; m% (dBm)# 2lic' to enter or change
Noise Power at the receiver is referenced to the o"tp"t of the receiverPs front end matched filter# 3t is calc"lated as the prod"ct of the
receiver noise bandidth and the noise spectral poer density, No# The e&"ation for No is No * 'Tr, here ' is Bolt.mannPs
the noise figure hen e(pressed in dB "nits, here To * HKL R8# Th"s, in %atts/D.,
The noise bandwidth (e&"ivalent rectang"lar bandidth) at the front end of the receiver is appro(imately e&"al to the
Signal Power at the receiver inp"t--the minim"m val"e re&"ired to achieve some meas"re of comm"nications effectiveness s"ch as
2lic' to Enter Transmit Poer
2lic' to Enter Rates
2lic' to Enter N9, 3o/NoJ calc"late noise poers
$NR, the receiver sensitivity is simply the amo"nt of received poer necessary to res"lt in the re&"ired $NR val"e# 3f there
is interference in addition to thermal noise (3o/No S = above), the effect is to !desensiti.e! the receiver in that minim"m
val"e of signal poer has to be increased to overcome the combination of interference and noise#
Re&"ired Eb/No (dB) M#H
Re&"ired $NR (dB) -;L#K
Receiver sensitivity (dBm) -;;G#K
Receiver sensitivity ith
interference (dBm) -;;L#G
:6any te(tboo's define an effective noise temperat"re as Te * Tr To, so that 9 * ; + Te/To#
2lic' to Enter receiver sensitivity data
'ccounting of Link Gains
res"lts from the foc"sing of emitted poer in partic"lar directions rather than from an increase in the emitted poer#
Receiving antenna gain res"lts from the reciprocal effect of capt"ring more poer in certain directions than in others#
The reference for antenna gain is the (fictional) isotropic radiator, a point so"rceJ the poer theoretically transferred
antennas, the appropriate e&"ation for poer transfer in free space is
here 4t and 4r e(press the increase the increase in available poer for the non-isotropic case# 0ppropriately, these
&"antities are "s"ally given in "nits of dBi, or decibels relative to the val"e for an isotropic antenna#
The resonant half-ave dipole is often "sed as a standard of compar-
ison for other antennas, hether at one fre&"ency or over a very narro band of
fre&"encies# 0n antenna gain of ;#= (=#= dB) referenced to a dipole antenna
is e(pressed as a gain of =#= dBd# Note that the radiation pattern of a dipole,
as ill"strated to the right, is omnidirectional in the hori.ontal or a.im"thal plane,
b"t is directional in the vertical or elevation plane# 9or that reason, a short
dipole antenna has a slight gain of ;#MO dBi relative to an isotropic radiator#
Th"s, dBi * dBd + ;#MO#
9or lin' b"dget p"rposes, if a directional antenna is employed the antenna gain that is specified sho"ld be
the gain in the specific direction of the lin' beteen transmitter and receiver#
4t (dBi) ;=#=
4r (dBi) L#=
may enhance the receiver performance# The effect of s"ch gains is to red"ce the re&"ired Eb/No at the receiver inp"t#
1s"ally, these gains are already ta'en into acco"nt in specifying the val"e of Eb/No that is re&"ired# Doever, it can be
"sef"l to acco"nt for them separately# 1se the table belo to enter and to s"btotal any !other! gains#
Antenna gains at the transmitter and receiver are "s"ally the most significant gains on a radio lin'# Transmitting antenna gain
beteen to isotropic antennas separated by distance d in free space can be e(pressed by
Pr / Pt * (; / N dTH) : (TH / N) * ( / Nd)TH
here the first factor (; / N dTH) acco"nts for dil"tion of the spatial density of the transmitted poer as d increases
and the second term (TH / N) is the ma(im"m effective apert"re for an isotropic antenna# 9or act"al (non-isotropic)
Pr / Pt * 4t : 4r : ( / Nd)TH
Other gains at the receiver may contrib"te to the lin' b"dget# 9or e(ample, diversity reception, special coding, or array processing
2lic' to Enter antenna gains
Type of 4ain 7al"e in dB
Total !other! gains =#=
T-T0, 403N$ in dB ;L#=
'ccounting of Link Losses and !argin
antenna system# 0 typical val"e of cabling loss for a cell"lar base station is H dB#
,oss in dB H#=
terminal location relative to obstacles and reflectors, and lin' distance, among many other factors# 1s"ally
The estimate ta'es into acco"nt the sit"ation--line of sight (,-$) or non-,-$ (N,-$)--and general terrain
and environment "sing more or less detail, depending on the partic"lar model# $ee the N3$T o"tdoor
propagation calc"lator Prop2alc for a comparison of several empirical propagation loss models# Dere e
"se the ell 'non Data 6odel#
Transmitter antenna height (m) L=#=
Receiver antenna height (m) H#=
2enter fre&"ency in 6D. G<=
Environment $mall 2ity
a# 3ntercept (dB val"e at ; 'm) ;HN#< ,in' distance ('m) ;#<==
b# Poer la (slope / ;=) L#<H Propagation loss (dB) ;L=#M
By contrast, for free space the poer la is H#= and the intercept in dB is K;#=
is not 'non abo"t the lin', s"ch as hether there is shadoing of the signal by some hill or other obstacle
in the path from transmitter to receiver# 3f one or both terminals on the lin' are moving, a variation in terrain
ith time is ind"ced, and the shadoing is often referred to as !slo fading#! This "ncertainty is e(pressed
as a random amo"nt of positive or negative dB shadoing loss, modeled as a 4a"ssian random variable ith
a .ero mean and a specified standard deviation# 0 typical val"e of standard deviation for o"tdoor propagation
is sigma, * G dB# Th"s, prior to any !fast fading,! the total loss in absol"te "nits (not dB) is a lognormal
random variable#
4iven the lognormally atten"ated signal poer at a given distance from the transmitter, the signal
may e(perience !fast fading! in hich the envelope of the signal is m"ltiplied by a Rayleigh random variable,

Transmission losses may incl"de cabling losses and those d"e to any mismatches beteen the transmitter and the
Propagation loss is the largest and most variable &"antity in the lin' b"dget# 3t depends on fre&"ency, antenna height,
a statistical path loss model or prediction program is "sed to estimate the median propagation loss in dB#
Model output: dB loss intercept and poer la on a log-log plot of loss vs# distance) a + ;=:b:log;=(dU'm)
Shadowing/fade margin. 0fter calc"lation of the median propagation loss, there is left over an "ncertainty d"e to hat
the poer is m"ltiplied by a fading factor b that has "nit mean and an e(ponential distrib"tion#
The probability that the received $NR is greater than the median $NR val"e that is some margin
MdB * ;= log;=(M) dB more than its re&"ired val"e e&"als the probability that the propagation loss in dB is
more than 6dB dB belo its median val"e# Th"s the $NR is greater than threshold X percent of the time hen
2lic' to Enter Transmission ,osses
2lic' to Enter ,in' Parameters
{ }
1 /
, shadowing only
Pr E , shadowing and fading
100
, fading only
dB
G
L
dB
dB req b G
L
M
M
P
M X
SNR M SNR P
e

_

,

_

+ >
' ' ;
,

9ading mode shadoing and fading


N#=
K=V
;;#<
no cable loss, b"t it is s"b>ect to other !scenario! losses s"ch as those d"e to orientation and b"ilding
penetration#
3mplementation losses in dB H#=
$cenario losses in dB ;H#=
T-T0, ,-$$E$ in dB) ;NO#M
This e&"ation can be solved for MdB# 9or e(ample if the desired reliability is C * K=V, then E * =#K and from a
table of the 4a"ssian distrib"tion e find that MdB/L * ;#HGH for shadoing only#
$td# /eviation in dB, L
Percentage of time, X
6argin in dB, M
Reception losses may incl"de cabling or other implementation losses at the receiver# Typically, a mobile receiver has
{ }
1 /
, shadowing only
Pr E , shadowing and fading
100
, fading only
dB
G
L
dB
dB req b G
L
M
M
P
M X
SNR M SNR P
e

_

,

_

+ >
' ' ;
,

2lic' to 2alc"late Reliability 6argin


2lic' to Enter reception losses
terminal location relative to obstacles and reflectors, and lin' distance, among many other factors# 1s"ally
The estimate ta'es into acco"nt the sit"ation--line of sight (,-$) or non-,-$ (N,-$)--and general terrain
and environment "sing more or less detail, depending on the partic"lar model# $ee the N3$T o"tdoor
propagation calc"lator Prop2alc for a comparison of several empirical propagation loss models# Dere e
is not 'non abo"t the lin', s"ch as hether there is shadoing of the signal by some hill or other obstacle
in the path from transmitter to receiver# 3f one or both terminals on the lin' are moving, a variation in terrain
ith time is ind"ced, and the shadoing is often referred to as !slo fading#! This "ncertainty is e(pressed
as a random amo"nt of positive or negative dB shadoing loss, modeled as a 4a"ssian random variable ith
a .ero mean and a specified standard deviation# 0 typical val"e of standard deviation for o"tdoor propagation
is sigma, * G dB# Th"s, prior to any !fast fading,! the total loss in absol"te "nits (not dB) is a lognormal
4iven the lognormally atten"ated signal poer at a given distance from the transmitter, the signal
may e(perience !fast fading! in hich the envelope of the signal is m"ltiplied by a Rayleigh random variable,
may incl"de cabling losses and those d"e to any mismatches beteen the transmitter and the
is the largest and most variable &"antity in the lin' b"dget# 3t depends on fre&"ency, antenna height,
median propagation loss in dB#
dB loss intercept and poer la on a log-log plot of loss vs# distance) a + ;=:b:log;=(dU'm)
0fter calc"lation of the median propagation loss, there is left over an "ncertainty d"e to hat
The probability that the received $NR is greater than the median $NR val"e that is some margin
) dB more than its re&"ired val"e e&"als the probability that the propagation loss in dB is
percent of the time hen
shadoing and fading
no cable loss, b"t it is s"b>ect to other !scenario! losses s"ch as those d"e to orientation and b"ilding
# 9or e(ample if the desired reliability is C * K=V, then E * =#K and from a
may incl"de cabling or other implementation losses at the receiver# Typically, a mobile receiver has
Summary $ptions
Transmit poer L#= dBm
4ains ;L#= dB !OR A POS"T"#$ S%RP&%S' (ou can
) ,osses ;NO#M dB - decrease the transmitter poer
* Received poer -;L=#M dBm - "se less directive antennas or a cheaper receiver
) Noise + interference poer -;==#= dBm - "se loer antennas or a longer lin' distance
* 6edian received $NR -L=#M dB
Processing gain HN#; dB
* 6edian received EbNo -O#O dB
) Re&"ired EbNo M#H dB !OR A N$+AT"#$ S%RP&%S' (ou can
* E(cess -;L#G dB - increase the transmitter poer
) 6argin ;;#< dB - "se more directive antennas or a better receiver
* $1RP,1$ -H<#N dB - "se higher antennas or a shorter lin' distance
/esired lin' reliability K= V
Effective lin' reliability = V
$pecified lin' distance ;#<== 'm
/istance for desired reliability =#HGO 'm
Reliability mode shadoing and fading
- "se less directive antennas or a cheaper receiver
- "se loer antennas or a longer lin' distance
- "se more directive antennas or a better receiver
- "se higher antennas or a shorter lin' distance