Cellular signals are radio waves, and their propagation is significantly affected by the weather. This causes signal attenuation resulting in issues like dropped calls, bad call quality, decreased downlink and uplink power, etc. One of the most reliable solution to avoid this is to use a cell signal booster. It receives a cellular signal attenuated by a weather phenomenon, amplifies it, and retransmits it to your phone so that you will have good reception. In this article, we will discuss how the weather affects signal propagation, read on to know more.
The Effect Of Weather On Cellular Signal Propagation
The three main atmospheric factors that affect cellular signal propagation are wind, temperature, and water content. They combine in different ways and can either attenuate the signal or unusually increase the range of propagation. Since the phenomenon is complex, we will limit the discussion to the effects of rain, fog, and snow.
Attenuation Due To Precipitation
The degree of attenuation of cellular signals due to weather factors is generally proportional to the wavelength and frequency of the radio wave. If the wavelength is shorter, i.e. higher frequency, the attenuation effect of precipitation will be higher. Whereas, if the wavelength increases, i.e. lower frequency, the attenuation effect of precipitation will be less. For example, the rain has a significant effect on microwaves, but it has hardly any effect on long wavelengths, i.e. HF range and below.
Rain: Of all the weather phenomena, the rain has a pronounced effect on the propagation of cellular signals. Since raindrops act as poor dielectric, it attenuates the signal by absorbing power and dissipates it by scattering the signals or by heat loss. Understand that the attenuation is more due to scattering than absorption. This is especially true for frequencies above 100 megahertz and 6 gigahertz.
Fog: The attenuation of cellular signals due to fog is important because it remains suspended in the atmosphere. Its effect depends on the size of water droplets, and the amount of water per unit volume. Moreover, its effect is significant at frequencies above 2 gigahertz and causes attenuation mainly by absorption.
Snow: Snow attenuates cellular signals by scattering, and measuring it is difficult due to the irregular shape of snow crystals. However, its scattering effect is limited because its density is less than that of rain. Keep in mind that the density of rain is eight times that of snow.
Sometimes in the atmosphere, a warm layer of air is formed above layers of cool air, and this phenomenon is called temperature inversion. This creates air ducts, and when a radio wave enters these air ducts at a low angle, it propagates longer distances by hopping due to the difference in the refractive index of warm and cold air.
Since these weather factors affect the signal received by the donor antenna of a cellular signal booster, it influences the quality of the output signal from the device.