Solutions in Radiocommunications. White Paper. TETRA Networks, Co-Existence of Airborne and Terrestrial Users. Peter Paul Cert Nat Sci (open) MIEE

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1 White Paper TETRA Networks, Co-Existence of Airborne and Terrestrial Users Peter Paul Cert Nat Sci (open) MIEE April 2004 Solutions in Radiocommunications

2 An Radio Appraisal planning of the Propagation affects of airborne Modelling terminals Methods upon terrestrial users Page 2 of 85 TETRA networks, co-existence of airborne and terrestrial users Introduction The use of aircraft, mainly helicopters, by police forces has increased over the last twenty years. The police regard them as excellent tools in fighting crime. In the past, communications between airborne officers and those on the ground has been handled by the respective police force s radio network. Since these networks had their own unique frequency assignment, interference between adjacent forces was not normally a problem. However as the UK forces begin to share a common network (Airwave), the potential for airborne units to cause interference to an adjacent force s base stations, has increased. Within the TETRA band ( MHz) there are a number of RF carriers allotted for purely air to ground (A2G) use. The Airwave network could be considered as having two sub-nets, the first for terrestrial users and the other for airborne users. Certain radio sites would have base station equipment for both sub-nets but each set of equipment at a site would have a different electronic identification. Whilst a helicopter is within the coverage area of an A2G site the airborne radio terminal will use the electronic identification to biasing it to gain service from that site, thereby restricting any potential interference between airborne terminals. This scenario would be managed and designed in to the network at inception. However there will times during airborne operations when the terminal will not be able to use an A2G site (take off and landing for example where high diffraction losses make the A2G path unworkable). During these periods the terminal may have to make use of the terrestrial network. It is now then that the potential for interference into the ground network base stations is at it s greatest in turn affecting the service available to ground units. This paper will discuss the methods and models that can be employed to determine the extent of potential A2G interference to ground network base stations thereby affecting ground users. A Simulated TETRA Network. The network used for the simulations is based on TETRA equipment specifications outlined in ETSI ETR300-1 documentation. The network design and frequency assignment is representative of reality and shows two separate networks, one for ground units and the other for airborne operations. Frequencies are re-used for the ground units with the re-use dependant upon distance between base stations and terrain shielding. The A2G sites each use a unique RF carrier, however across the UK it should be possible for the A2G network too, to re-use frequencies. Defining the problem. As with all trunked networks of this type where there is frequency re-use, both the fixed sites and mobile users sharing common frequencies require the received signal of the wanted to be greater than that of the unwanted signal by a margin, the C/I (carrier to interference) ratio. For ground users this margin is 19dB C/I at the base station (ETR 300-1) in the uplink. Whilst a figure of 10dB C/I at the airborne terminal in the downlink has been used. The difference between the two being allowance for differing fading mechanisms. We actually have two scenarios to consider. The first of these being when the helicopter is working into site A and a ground unit is working site B. Sites A & B share common frequencies. By how much is the ground user affected by airborne transmissions? Figure 1: Scenario 1 Uplink Interference From Air Unit The second scenario then considers the question what about the transmissions from site B compared with those from site A? Would the airborne terminal have sufficient C/I to continue using site A?

3 An Radio Appraisal planning of the Propagation affects of airborne Modelling terminals Methods upon terrestrial users Page 3 Page of 8 3 of 85 Terminal type Ground user Airborne user Base station Antenna height above ground 1m 10 & 100m 30m Table 2: Terminal Antenna Heights Figure 2: Downlink Interference from Ground Base Station B The method In order to calculate the respective available C/Is for air to ground and ground to air, the following radio parameters in both Table 1 and Table 2 were used in the modelling: Ground Users Down link BS Output Power BS Antenna BS Feeder Losses Mobile Antenna Mobile Rx Sensitivity 12.5 W Mobile Output Power 6dBd Mobile Antenna 2dB BS Antenna -13 dbd BS Diversity -103 dbm BS Rx Sensitivity Uplink Table 1: Radio Parameters 1W -13dBd 6dBd 5dBd -109dBm The airborne terminal has power control enabled and from actual surveys conducted, it has shown that the typical ERP of the airborne terminal is 30mW. In the first scenario we need to consider the airborne terminal as an interference source. Given that the antenna system at site B is common to both ground and air the gains and losses in the receive path will be ignored. What is needed is a calculation of the signal being received from the air terminal. From this we can calculate what received signal level from the ground terminal would result in a successful call, defined by 19dB C/I. For Site B s coverage (in the uplink) to remain unaffected by the airborne terminal, the airborne signal should be received at site B at a level less than 128dBm. Any received level greater than this would result in Site B s receiver sensitivity being reduced. In the second scenario the relative received signals from each site need to be calculated. Provided that the 10dB C/I are maintained, the airborne terminal can be consider to be able to continue working site A. ATDI s network planning tool ICS Telecom used the following models for the simulations: For the wanted signal ITU-R 525/ % Locations/ 50% Time For the un-wanted signal ITU-R % Locations/ 5% Time. These percentages are very typical of the service availability for mobile systems to overcome locations and temporal variability in received signal. Likewise unwanted signals should generally be an order less available than the wanted such that the network is protected from interference for most of the time and in most locations. The Results Two types of base station locations were used in the study. The first was located to provide service within a small area (an in-fill site). The terrain around this site offered excellent shielding from the nearest site using

4 An Appraisal of Propagation Modelling Methods Page 4 of 8 An Radio Appraisal planning of the Propagation affects of airborne Modelling terminals Methods upon terrestrial users Page 4 of 85 common frequencies. The other site location was a hilltop site, offering coverage over a large area. Not surprisingly, even with an ERP of 30mW the range at which potential interference would be experienced from the air unit was large, ranging from km dependant upon the terrain. When this is compared with the terrestrial network with an average re-use distance of 60km it is highly likely that an adjacent common frequency site would be affected when the airborne terminal transmitted. However since TETRA operates like a cellular network we needed to know by how much the actual service area of site B (serving ground units) was reduced by the airborne terminal s transmissions. To do this, the receive signal from the airborne terminal was calculated at site B. This value was subtracted from 128dBm and the difference was entered into site B s station parameters as a transmitter loss. Wanted coverage was then re-calculated. With all sites in the sample network active the overall coverage area was re-calculated in the presence of air unit activity. which need to occur simultaneously for the interference from the airborne terminal to be noticed by ground users, these being: a. Is a terminal airborne? b. Is it working the terrestrial site? c. Is the terminal transmitting? d. Is there a ground user within the affected area? e. Is a ground user making a call? If any one of these events does not happen then the interference and resulting loss of coverage is likely to pass un-noticed. The incidence of interference at any point in time depends on several interacting probabilities: that describing the wanted signal availability, that describing the unwanted signal arrival and that describing the chance that traffic from the two units coincides. The three must be considered together to arrive at the final answer to the question as to whether air units and ground units can share the same TETRA infrastructure. [Note this assumes symmetry in coverage in uplink and downlink or indeed that, as the weakest link, the uplink defines the coverage] In this manner it was found that the type of site most affected was the hilltop site. Offering greater service area meant that the received signal from the ground user was significantly lower when he roamed at the edge of coverage when compared with an in-fill site and hence users in these fringe areas were more susceptible to disruption. The received signal at the airborne terminal was found in most cases to have the required 10dB C/I from site A over site B. Conclusions This brief analysis shows that there is significant potential for interference into base station receivers from air units. The threshold impairment is easily calculated and its effect in reducing the service area of a ground infrastructure base station is simply predicted. We do however also need to take into account the probability of this interference actually occurring. This is determined by a number of events all of For further information on modelling methods visit Copyright 2004 ATDI Ltd. All rights reserved. Specifications, terms and conditions are subject to change without prior notice. ATDI Ltd Kingsland Court Three Bridges Road Crawley RH10 1HL United Kingdom Tel: Fax: Advanced Topographic Development and Images Limited Company Registration No

5 ATDI Ltd Kingsland Court - Three Bridges Road Crawley - West Sussex - RH10 1HL - UK Tel. +44 (0) / Fax. +44 (0) World wide web page: Advanced Topographic Development and Images Limited Company Registration Number Solutions in Radiocommunications

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