Interference Hunting

Interference Hunting

Detect, locate, and eliminate RF interference

Test and mitigate signal interference to deliver a better customer experience and reduce churn.

One of the top reasons end-users switch carriers is dissatisfaction with network performance, which could be spotty coverage, dropped calls, or slow data speed. Knowing this, many mobile operators focus on minimizing any signals that impede the over-the-air connection between their end-users’ devices and their radio towers– a killer of network performance. 

The RF environment is more dynamic and complex than ever. Stationary spectrum analyzers to quantify spikes above the noise floor do not capture the full breadth of interference sources. Everything from cable TV infrastructure to aircraft radio altimeters (RADALT) contribute to this complicated puzzle. RF interference specialists have learned to identify the signature of each interference type while supplementing spectrum analysis with network test data, such as throughput and bit error rae (BER).

For uplink interference, there are three main types:

  • PIM (Passive intermodulation)
  • Interference in time division duplex (TDD) signals
  • External sources

Historically, carriers or their contractors had to carry multiple tools to be able to detect these different interference sources – at increased expense, time and even safety concerns for the technicians who might be required to climb the towers.  Add to that the expertise needed to effectively use a spectrum analyzer and RF testing began to be perceived as an onerous task, even one to avoid.

Today, it doesn’t have to be that way.

Why VIAVI in the Hunt for Interference

Today’s interference hunting challenges call for intelligent test equipment and workflows, not more technician training. VIAVI has consolidated multiple test tools into one platform – the OneAdvisor 800 Wireless – which simplifies the job. 

The OneAdvisor 800 Wireless is a complete solution that enables the consolidation of multiple test tools, but it also packs value-added features into each test category, thus making the user’s job much simpler:

  • testing for multiple types of interference with one device
  • scaling test capabilities as MOPs expand
  • simplifying interference testing

The InterferenceAdvisor allows an RF engineer or technician to locate an interference source with minimal effort. InterferenceAdvisor software communicates with the OneAdvisor 800 Wireless platform to retrieve RF power measurements (Peak, RSSI, Channel) and create a power heat map during a drive test. Google driving directions and voice prompts lead the technician directly to the area with the highest presence of interference. 

Complete Solutions for Cell Site Deployment   

Interference hunting is an essential part of cell site deployment and ongoing maintenance. The VIAVI suite of portable, automated, cell site test solutions validate 5G and legacy cell site performance, configuration, synchronization, and timing. 

  • OneAdvisor 800 Wireless: Flexible, expandable platform that verifies and troubleshoots radio access networks of all types, from private 5G networks, to land mobile radio networks, to legacy networks still providing great service. The OneAdvisor 800 leverages multi-functional architecture, covering different test applications, scaling, and adapting to many different user groups, including installation and maintenance. CellAdvisor 5G: This versatile device combines real-time spectrum analysis, 5G beam analysis, fiber testing, and antenna activation testing in one compact, field-portable solution. The CellAdvisor 5G also performs important passive intermodulation (PIM) testing to detect signal interference at the cell tower.  
  • The industry’s smallest handheld instrument supports 5G timing and synchronization testing throughout the entire network service lifecycle. In addition to GPS signal verification and time error testing to the PTP protocol, the T-BERD/MTS-5882 can be used to perform fiber link characterization, remote radio head (RRH) testing at the wireless base station, and PIM and interference testing over optical links.  

InterferenceAdvisor is very easy to use, very quick to find the source, really nice user interface, much better than competitive solutions we have seen.

Tier-1 Mobile Network Operator, UK

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