Locating an interference source is nothing short of finding a needle in a haystack. From a service provider perspective, RF interference is much more than a nuisance. If it is not eliminated, it can negatively impact service providers’ CAPEX, and OPEX, and can cause subscriber churn. In a recent survey conducted by Nokia of 20,000 mobile phone users in mature and transitional markets, network quality was a key factor for subscriber loyalty.68% of respondents say they would leave an operator over network quality issues.”

As shown in the figure below1, Signal to Interference-plus-Noise Ratio, or SINR, is directly proportional to the channel capacity. Interference can negatively impact the SINR and can significantly reduce RF channel capacity. That is why most service providers take interference issues seriously. However, troubleshooting interference is not a trivial process. It takes patience and experience, and RF engineers have to follow a strict process to eliminate an interference source. This may take days, if not weeks. Having the right set of tools can drastically reduce the time it takes to find and eliminate interference.

SINR vs. channel capacity
SINR vs. channel capacity

Once external RF interference is identified as the cause for network performance degradation, engineers need to locate the source of interference. This labor- and time-intensive process of trying to pinpoint a source can be extremely challenging, especially in dense urban environments, where RF reflection from buildings is a common phenomenon. Because today’s RF engineers are managing ever-growing networks, they need solutions that are easy to set up and can quickly locate interference sources.

process
Interference management process

Viavi has been working with service providers to develop solutions that can significantly improve the whole process of interference hunting. Our newest solution, InterferenceAdvisorTM, offers the best total cost of ownership in locating an interference source.

InterferenceAdvisor solution
The InterferenceAdvisor solution

InterferenceAdvisor allows one engineer to quickly and easily identify an interference source, even in an urban environment. Unlike other solutions in the industry, it is fully automated and offers interference area indication, with voice prompts and navigation guidance. Complete control of the spectrum analyzer from the driver’s seat allows users to safely manage the whole process without stepping out of the vehicle.

To learn more, watch the video below, or visit www.viavisolutions.com/interferenceadvisor.

 

1https://dspace.cc.tut.fi/dpub/bitstream/handle/123456789/21173/sainju.pdf

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Kashif Hussain is the Global Solutions Marketing Manager at Viavi Solutions for the wireless business unit. With more than 19 years of wireless industry experience, Kashif’s expertise in RF, DAS, HetNets, and LTE comes from developing, managing, supporting, marketing, and consulting on major mobile communications projects. His industry experience includes various senior roles at MobileNet, Tektronix Communications, Ericsson and Nortel, and he has authored a patent for wireless products.

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