Strategies for Achieving Better Modeling Accuracy

Bernard Breton
Dec. 19 2011

While the use of network-based measurements in the design and optimization of wireless communication networks is on the rise, propagation modeling remains a core practice for anyone involved in wireless communication. Propagation modeling, unlike measurements, can be used to determine new radio configurations, which is a critical element in the design process. Measurements, on the other hand, can only be used to model current or existing configurations.

There is no doubt that the ability to model propagation conditions when evaluating the coverage of a candidate site or assessing the impact of a radio optimization is paramount across the entire lifecycle of the network. According to our most recent survey (November 2011) of how wireless planning tools are used, engineers in all geographies and markets are looking for further improvements in propagation model accuracy while at the same time wanting to minimize the amount of model calibration required to achieve such accuracy.

Whenever the question of propagation modeling accuracy is raised, the notion of the underlying cartography (i.e., the geodata) used to model the propagation characteristics should also be considered. Mentum has always taken both aspects into account so that pragmatic approaches, which can be delivered at a price point that makes sense, can be implemented and delivered.

The next aspect to consider is the propagation model strategy you adopt. Consider the following:

  • Is propagation model re-use important?
  • How much drive test data is available?
  • Will network coverage encompass areas that are geographically different?
  • Is the budget for model calibration limited?
  • How quickly are quality models needed?
  • When will models be calibrated?
  • Are sites typically similar or are there major differences in implementation (e.g., height, structure type, installation approach, etc.)?
  • What are the future requirements (e.g., different bands, introduction of small cells, etc.)?

Each wireless network operator is in a unique situation when it comes to the environment that drives their propagation modeling strategy. To address the requirements of each operator, Mentum offers a comprehensive set of capabilities in terms of propagation models, geodata products, expertise and services. Mentum's innovation is evident with the introduction of the new Cityscapes HD product this month, which provides a new generation of higher-resolution, height attributed land-use data that is focused on the propagation modeling needs of the wireless industry. Cityscapes HD provides an unmatched level of X, Y and Z accuracy for a very competitive price in order to allow operators to deal effectively with large geographical areas that wireless networks of all radio standards are demanding. This product is geared towards large metropolitan areas where land use is important and is a natural fit between the traditional 20-30m land-use data and the high-resolution 3D city models.

A clear propagation modeling strategy is an asset that any operator, network infrastructure vendor or integrator can use to create value by increasing the quality of the decisions driven from the use of propagation models. If a strategy is done well, it will not only maximize accuracy of the models but it will do so while controlling the costs associated with model calibration and will remove the constraints associated with the use of propagation models.

Mentum provides not only a toolset to achieve best-of-class results when it comes to propagation modeling but also the expertise required to take full advantage of it.

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