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Across-Desert Radio Link Fault Diagnosis

Zhong Hongsheng

Across-Desert Radio Link Fault Diagnosis


Zhong Hongsheng (employee ID: 46650)
Keywords: microwave transmission, reflection, deep fading, interference, solution ideas
Abstract: The multipath fading of links in the desert is severe and the major cause is reflection. The
signal transmission over the links is unstable and deep fading is prone to occur, which causes
intermittent disconnection of radio links. The correct identification of link fault causes is the prerequisite
for rectifying the link faults. To ensure that links run stably, set the antenna height and space diversity
correctly, and adjust the antenna distance so that the received signal level (RSL) fading of the main and
diversity antennas of the links is complementary.
The background of the microwave transmission reengineering project in country K in Middle East is as
follows:
Microwaves in areas except cities in Country K are transmitted in the flat gobi and desert. According to
statistics on quality indicators of radio links in the desert, the microwave transmission in the desert is
unstable and severely errored seconds (SESs) and unavailable seconds (UASs) frequently occur on
some links in the desert. Therefore, these faulty links need to be reengineered. According to the ITU-R
P.530, the coastal region where country K is seated provides the worst atmospheric propagation
condition in the world. Microwaves are greatly reflected by the ground and refracted in the atmosphere
along multiple paths during transmission in the desert. The reflection factor of microwaves transmitted
in the desert is about 0.9. The air temperature in the day greatly differs from that in the evening. The
earth's surface heated very hot in the day starts cooling when the sun goes down. The temperature of
the upper part of the earth's surface is higher than that of the lower part, resulting in a temperature
inversion layer. Received microwave signals are faded along with the furious change of the atmospheric
propagation condition, and the microwave signals are even interrupted. According to the ITU-R P.530,
the occurrence probability that the refraction gradient in atmospheric propagation is smaller than 100
N/km is as high as 75% in May, the worst month. In a word, the atmospheric propagation condition in
Country K is very abominable. The following uses single-hop reengineering examples to describe the
ideas of rectifying the link instability fault occurring in the desert.
Case 1
A link named UHN-GKR006 in the desert of the coastal region is disconnected intermittently and
frequently in the evening. The 1-month alarm statistics on the NMS show that UASs and SESs occur on
the working channel in 8 days and occur on the protection channel in 11 days; the frequent
active/standby switchover occurs in the time range from dusk to dawn and the link works properly in the
daytime. According to the survey on site, the link profile is a flat desert penetrated by seawater and
antennas are not installed at the designed height. Figure 1 shows the location of the UHN-GKR006 link,
which is a coastal link across the desert.
Figure 1 GKR006-GKR057 link

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Across-Desert Radio Link Fault Diagnosis

Zhong Hongsheng

The link profile is a plain with small relief, which is a reflective link profile. The atmospheric refraction in
the coastal region is severe.
Figure 2 Link profile

UHN+5

2011-1-22

Frequency (MHz) = 11000.0

Huawei Confidential

GKR006

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Across-Desert Radio Link Fault Diagnosis


Latitude

28 57 38.67 N

K = 1.33, 0.67, 1.33

Longitude

048 09 20.00

%F1 = 100.00, 60.00, 60.00

E Azimuth
Elevation

Zhong Hongsheng
Latitude

28 48 33.30 N

Longitude

048 16 07.20

146.66

E Azimuth

326.72

26 m ASL

Elevation

5 m ASL

Antenna CL 51.0, 41.0 m AGL

2011-1-22

Antenna CL 25.3, 19.1 m AGL

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Across-Desert Radio Link Fault Diagnosis


UHN+5
GAA057

Zhong Hongsheng
Site317+7
GKR006

Elevation (m)
26.00
5.00
Latitude
28 57 38.67 N
28 48 33.30 N
Longitude
048 09 20.00 E
048 16 07.20 E
True azimuth ()
146.66
326.72
Vertical angle ()
-0.20
0.07
Antenna model
WTG12-107D
WTG12-107D
Antenna height (m)
51.00
25.30
Antenna gain (dBi)
40.30
40.30
Other RX loss (dB)
1.00
1.00
Antenna model
WTG12-107D
WTG12-107D
Antenna height (m)
41.00
19.10
Antenna gain (dBi)
40.30
40.30
Other div RX loss (dB)
1.00
1.00
Frequency (MHz)
11000.00
Polarization
Vertical
Path length (km)
20.09
Free space loss (dB)
139.36
Atmospheric absorption loss (dB)
0.31
Field margin (dB)
1.00
Main net path loss (dB)
61.06
61.06
Diversity net path loss (dB)
61.06
61.06
Radio model TX power (watts) TX power (dBm)
11G_HP_64QAM_14M_26E1
11G_HP_64QAM_14M_26E1
EIRP (dBm)
0.13
0.13
Emission designator
21.00
21.00
TX Channels
61.30
61.30
RX threshold criteria 14M0D7W T40f2L 10755.0000V BER
14M0D7W T40f2H 11285.0000V
RX threshold level (dBm)
10-6
BER 10-6
-76.00
-76.00
Main RX signal (dBm)
-40.06
-40.06
Diversity RX signal (dBm)
-40.06
-40.06
Thermal fade margin (dB)
35.94
35.94
Geoclimatic factor
6.48E-04
Path inclination (mr)
2.32
Fade occurrence factor (Po)
5.00E-01
Average annual temperature (C)
20.00
SD improvement factor
62.15
41.19
Worst month - multipath (%)
99.99979
99.99968
(sec)
5.55
8.37
Annual - multipath (%)
99.99993
99.99989
(sec)
22.64
22.64
(% - sec)
99.99982 - 56.79
Rain region
ITU Region E
0.01% rain rate (mm/hr)
22.00
Flat fade margin - rain (dB)
35.94
Rain rate (mm/hr)
208.11
Rain attenuation (dB)
35.94
Annual rain (%-sec)
99.99999 - 1.69
Annual multipath + rain (%-sec)
99.99981 - 58.48
UHN+5-Site317+7.pl4
Reliability Method - ITU-R P.530-7/8
Space Diversity Method ITU-R P.530-12 Baseband Switching
Rain - ITU-R P530-7

The preceding table provides link information after calculation. This link uses the 11 GHz frequency and
space diversity. The designed normal RSL is 40 dB, the threshold RSL is 76 dB, and the fade margin

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Zhong Hongsheng

is about 36 dB. Figure 3 shows the signal receiving curves of the main and diversity antennas of this
reflected link at the actual antenna height after on-site survey. In Figure 3, H1 indicates the UHN site
and H2 indicates the GKR006 site. The solid line in red indicates the signal receiving curve when sites
H1 and H2 use main antennas. The dashed line in blue indicates the signal receiving curve when site
H1 uses the main antenna to transmit signals and site H2 uses the diversity antenna to receive the
signals. The dashed line in orange indicates the signal receiving curve when site H2 uses the main
antenna to transmit signals and site H1 uses the diversity antenna to receive the signals.
The signal receiving of the main and diversity antennas is correlated. There is a slight difference in
signal receiving between the main and diversity antennas at the fading valley. Therefore, it is
determined preliminarily that the antenna height is set incorrectly. The frequency governance in country
K is sound and frequencies are exclusively allocated to carriers. The software analysis result shows
that no inter-frequency interference exists.
Figure 3 Signal receiving curves of the main and diversity antennas of this reflected link at the actual
antenna height

Observe the RSL curve to judge the actual RSL status. Run an executable script to collect RSLs of the
main and diversity antennas of this hop from the NMS every other 30 seconds and then draw RSL
curves. Figure 4 shows the RSL curves of the four antennas in two directions of the hop from 20:00
p.m. on October 25 to 02:00 a.m. on October 26. The abscissa indicates time and the ordinate indicates
RSL. The legend on the right is four lines in different colors indicating the RSLs of the main and
diversity antennas at sites H1 and H2. Figure 5 shows the RSL curves from 20:00 p.m. on October 26
to 01:00 a.m. on October 27. Rectangles A and B in red are zoomed in to display the RSL changes of
the main and diversity antennas during fading. Figure 4-1 and Figure 5-1 show the rectangles A and B
that are zoomed in.

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Zhong Hongsheng

RS L

Figure 4 RSL curves of the main and diversity antennas at sites H1 and H2 from 20:00 p.m. on October
25 to 02:00 a.m. on October 26

Figure 4-1 RSL curves in rectangle A that is zoomed in

Figure 5 RSL curves of the main and diversity antennas at sites H1 and H2 from 20:00 p.m. on October
26 to 01:00 a.m. on October 27

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Zhong Hongsheng

Figure 5-1 RSL curves in rectangle B that is zoomed in

The preceding four figures show that fading occurs in the time range from dusk to midnight. The
general fading trend shows that RSL fading of the main and diversity antennas is not complementary.
When received signals are faded due to atmospheric multipath propagation, the RSLs of the main and
diversity antennas at sites H1 and H2 are both faded. The RSLs of the main and diversity antennas are
highly related. The four curves take on a concave form due to slow fading.
Meanwhile, in the general fading trend, the RSLs of the main and diversity antennas are
complementary in the fast RSL change time range, as shown in Figure 5-1. The RSLs are not

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Across-Desert Radio Link Fault Diagnosis

Zhong Hongsheng

complementary in other time ranges. In Figure 4-1, the yellow line and pink line indicate RSLs of the
main and diversity antennas at site H1 respectively. The RSL curves are basically identical to reflected
link curves of the main and diversity antennas analyzed by the Pathloss, as shown in Figure 3. That is,
the heights of the main and diversity antennas do not achieve fading complementarity. Therefore, the
antenna height of this hop needs to be adjusted. Many antennas are installed in multiple directions of
the tower at site H1 and there is no space for realigning the antennas. Only the antennas at site H2 can
be realigned. Use a 12.5-meter antenna as the main antenna and a 21-meter antenna as the diversity
antenna at site H2 after repeated calculation, and keep antennas at site H1 unchanged. The
realignment is to increase the height difference between the transmit antenna and the receive antenna
as well as reduce the height of the main antenna at site H2 so that it works stably when k equals 4/3.
See the solid line in red in Figure 6. The RSL fading of the main and diversity antennas is
complementary after realignment. Figure 6 shows the signal receiving curves generated by the
Pathloss. The RSL fading curves of the main and diversity antennas are complementary after
realignment.
Figure 6 Complementary RSL fading curves of the main and diversity antennas in both directions after
antenna realignment at site H2.
Note: H1 indicates the UHN site and H2 indicates the GKR006 site.

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Zhong Hongsheng

Figure 7 Link profile diagram after realignment

UHN +5

Frequency (MHz) = 11000.0

GKR006

Latitude

28 57 38. 67 N

K = 1. 33, 0.67, 1.33

Latitude

28 48 33. 30 N

Longitude

048 09 20.00 E

%F1 = 100.00, 60.00, 60.00

Longitude

048 16 07.20 E

Azimuth

146. 66

Azimuth

326. 72

Elevation

26 m ASL

Elevation

5 m ASL

Antenna CL

51.0, 41. 0 m AGL

Antenna CL

12.5, 21. 0 m AGL

RSL (dB)

Figure 8 RSL curves of the hop on November 13 after antenna realignment

Figure 8-1 RSL curves in rectangle C that is zoomed in

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Across-Desert Radio Link Fault Diagnosis

Zhong Hongsheng

Figure 8 shows the RSL curves when the atmospheric refraction was severe on November 13. The
curves show that the RSL fading of the main and diversity antennas is properly complementary. The
data in November on the NMS shows that the usability and bit error rate (BER) meet requirements. The
antenna height realignment of this hop resolves the deep fading complementarity problem.
Case 2
A link named GJR005-GJR006 traverses the flat desert. The link profile is the flat gobi and desert. The
link uses the 13 GHz band and 32 quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM) and provides 44xE1
capacity. The threshold RSL is 77 dB and the designed RSL is 32 dB. Figure 9 shows the antenna
height of the link.
Figure 9 Profile of link GJR005-GJR006

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Across-Desert Radio Link Fault Diagnosis


GJR 005

Zhong Hongsheng

Frequency (MHz) = 11000.0

GJR 006

Latitude

29 46 54. 00 N

K = 1. 33, 0.67, 1.33

Latitude

29 54 28. 20 N

Longitude

047 40 22. 50 E

%F1 = 100.00, 60.00, 60.00

Longitude

047 40 33. 96 E

Azimuth

1. 26

Azimuth

181. 26

Elevation

60 m ASL

Elevation

36 m ASL

Antenna CL

36.4, 26. 4 m AGL

Antenna CL 33. 0, 30. 0 m AGL

Statistics on this link in October on the NMS show that SESs occur on the main antenna in 20 days and
on the diversity antenna in 13 days; the link is disconnected intermittently and severely in the evening.
The hardware connections are correct after equipment survey on site. The RSLs in the daytime are
normal. The Pathloss analysis result shows that no interference exists in this link. Considerable SESs
do not occur even if the antenna height is set improperly. Figure 10 shows the complementary fading of
the reflective link at the current antenna height.
Figure 10 Complementary fading of the reflective link at the current antenna height

Collect RSLs of this hop every 30 seconds for a period of time in the evening, and observe the
quantities and time of SESs and UASs occurring in this period on the NMS.
Figure 11 Curves of RSLs collected from the dusk on October 19 to the morning on October 20

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Zhong Hongsheng

According to analysis of RSL curves on Figure 11 and information displayed on the NMS, deep fading
does not concurrently occur on the main and diversity antennas of the link and the deep fading of a
single channel does not exceed the threshold. An SES alarm is reported when the RSL (marked in dark
blue) of site GJR005 is about 65 dB. There is still 11 dB margin compared with the threshold RSL (77
dB). It is suspected that the threshold deterioration is caused by interference from an external source.
Try to shut down the microwave equipment at the peer site in the allowed corrective maintenance time
in the evening and test site GJR005. It is found that site GJR005 receives 87 dB interference signals.
Change the frequency and then no SES occurs in the evening. It can be determined the SESs of this
link are caused by interference.
In conclusion, the ideas of diagnosing faults occurring on radio links in the desert are as follows:
1.

Find out the faulty link on which SESs and UASs frequently occur based on NMS statistics.

2.

Compare RSLs of the link with the design value for consecutive several days to analyze whether
antennas deviate from the correct positions.

3.

Check the antenna height on site to rectify hardware faults.

4.

Run a script for collecting RSL data, set the collection interval to 30 seconds, and generate RSL
curves based on collected data.

5.

Analyze fault causes in combination with alarms on the NMS. Analyze whether the fault is caused
by deep fading or interference.

6.

Rectify the fault based on the fault causes.

7.

Observe the link for a period of time to confirm that the fault is radically rectified. For example,
realignment may be required for rectifying the deep fading fault.

The preceding ideas are the basic method of rectifying the intermittent disconnection of links in the
desert. The diagnosis of actual link faults may be very complex. Faults can be finally rectified as long as
you perform tests and make analysis and judgment step by step.

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2010-12-10

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