Let’s talk about irrational fears. And I don’t mean various and random phobias about clowns or balloons. I mean the fear of something we cannot see, but that we use – A LOT!
I am talking about Radio Frequency (RF) signals. These electromagnetic waves are the base of almost any wireless communication technology. Whether it’s your DECT phone or your Satellite TV service, invisible RF signals are used constantly in our day-to-day lives.
Radio frequency signals also tend to cause a lot of fear because, as no one is totally certain of the long-term effects on the human body, people tend to avoid being in close proximity of any RF signal sources. With the obvious exception being our smartphones, which are usually close to us 24/7.
In the case of outdoor antennas, this fear of RF signals becomes really irrational. Seeing cell-towers or microwaves radios and antennas near our home, place of work, or children’s school creates major concerns, which can be an obstacle to delivering uninterrupted service to these areas.
Even though we objectively know that the closer you are to a cell tower, the less radiation your smartphone actually omits, any proximity to a tower still inspires fear and anxiety in most of us. Since the fear is irrational, the solution cannot be based solely on a logical explanation.
So, when you approach a business customer or an MTU, and wish to connect with a wireless transport link, you might face objections to this type of connection, even though the narrow beam of such a connection would not negatively affect concerned end customers.
One way to address these concerns is to make your solution look less intimidating. For example, a small form factor radio combined with a flat panel antenna makes your E-Band and V-Band solution look a lot like a WiFi hotspot. Such hotspots are something people are accustomed to living with and they cause significantly less concern. Millimeterwave solutions, as described in previous posts, are not only less intimidating, but can also provide more capacity with less resources, creating a win-win situation.
When such compact solutions do not provide the required reach, you will need to use a higher-gain parabolic antenna. In this case, the larger the antenna, the more likely you are to face concerned customers or neighbors, so it’s best to try keeping the antenna size to a minimum. This can be achieved by using a high-power radio, as the higher your system-gain is, the smaller the antenna you will need.
You can also use a multicore radio that allows you to seamlessly split your data stream into two carriers, carrying less traffic per carrier and using lower modulation per the required capacity. The outcome is an increase in your system-gain and a reduction in antenna size, which overall means a less intimidating system.
To conclude, wireless transmission solutions, much like clowns, are harmless. Yet you will need, from time to time, to mitigate people’s fear of them in order to leverage their great benefits.