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Thread: High Rise Buildings

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    High Rise Buildings

    I work in an 11 story building and it seems that at the higher floors the signal level is significantly lower. I have full signal on the ground floor, but only 1 bar when standing in the same location on the eighth floor. Are high rise buildings always poorly covered? Why?

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    Quote Originally Posted by CellGeek View Post
    I work in an 11 story building and it seems that at the higher floors the signal level is significantly lower. I have full signal on the ground floor, but only 1 bar when standing in the same location on the eighth floor. Are high rise buildings always poorly covered? Why?
    Even though a phone tower is high up usually the antennas are pointed downwards not upwards or line of site


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    Quote Originally Posted by CellGeek View Post
    I work in an 11 story building and it seems that at the higher floors the signal level is significantly lower. I have full signal on the ground floor, but only 1 bar when standing in the same location on the eighth floor. Are high rise buildings always poorly covered? Why?
    did you try standing near a window ?? the construction of the building and materials used can also impact performance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by october262 View Post
    did you try standing near a window ?? the construction of the building and materials used can also impact performance.
    I stood in the same place next to the window on the first, second, and eighth floor.

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    As stated, the towers point downward and not upward. Your results are not surprising.
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    Towers or more specifically the antennae on towers are positioned to provide the desired coverage, very often that means a slight down tilt. Here are some pointed up, it's not very common but it happens (hint - look in the back row...).

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    The normal antennas are oriented to cover the customers. Those are normally located on ground. It would be a waste of energy to radiate signal in the sky, where you have no customers. Imagine the antennas like wide beam flashlights... illuminating the ground around them.

    The exception is of course when... there are customers in the sky (skyscrapers). Then there is a need of some special antennas pointing upwards too.

    More efficiently would be to use a DAS (Distributed Antenna System). But that's expensive and done only in places of high concentration of customers.

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    As others have stated, I think it's common to have better signal towards the ground. I get full signal bars on the lower floors of my apartment building while the rooftop pool/lounge area on the 24th floor only yields 1-2 bars on the same side of the building.

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    In Manhattan, you see them installed horizontally and pointed upwards from all the carriers. You can be on the 50th+ floor without a problem. Usually in buildings up over 80 stories, an iDAS is installed.

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    Could also be bad SNR and RSRQ, phone might be seeing too many cell sites at once. Look at service mode or signal check pro .

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joeybutts View Post
    In Manhattan, you see them installed horizontally and pointed upwards from all the carriers. You can be on the 50th+ floor without a problem. Usually in buildings up over 80 stories, an iDAS is installed.

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    Same in Chicago. You see antenna pointed upwards all the time. I wonder if that happens in hilly or mountain areas too?

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    I’ve generally found the signal to be better when I’m in an elevated area like a higher floor or perhaps on a hill.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cbreze View Post
    I’ve generally found the signal to be better when I’m in an elevated area like a higher floor or perhaps on a hill.
    If that is the only hill, it's small and you are looking at a flat surrounding area, then yes, it is better. Antennas in rural areas are aimed to horizon. So this improves the Line Of Sight between phone and antenna.

    In the concrete jungle, there are many tall obstacles in the way. Only people that are walking close-by have direct Line Of Sight to the antennas.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SoNic67 View Post
    If that is the only hill, it's small and you are looking at a flat surrounding area, then yes, it is better. Antennas in rural areas are aimed to horizon. So this improves the Line Of Sight between phone and antenna.

    In the concrete jungle, there are many tall obstacles in the way. Only people that are walking close-by have direct Line Of Sight to the antennas.
    Yeah, I was thinking of a popular hiking Hill in the middle of town that's maybe a thousand feet high, but when I hike out in the boonies on very tall mountains in the Cascade range I get better signal the higher I go. That's just the way it is. When I was last in Seattle, the downtown area, I was in a very tall building near the top floor and got an excellent signal much better of course than the one down on the street that is blocked by all the tall buildings. So while as a general rule being in a tall building could give you a poor signal it just depends because it's not a hundred percent of the case all the time. Nor is being on a tall mountain out in the middle of nowhere. Certainly not a one-size-fits-all.

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    It's not only common practice to direct antennas to project a horizontal fan pattern downwards, it's good engineering. By directing beam patterns downward, you get better control of cochannel interference (a.k.a. pilot pollution) as the signals go into the ground and don't scatter everywhere. When you see an antenna set up to cover a tall building it will often look like a regular cellular panel antenna turned on its side. This projects a fan-like pattern directly at one side of the building. There may be two or more such antennas providing 360º coverage. Another alternative is to have a DAS system inside the building. This will sometimes happen when the building is a major corporate office and the company's cell phone provider is given access to install a DAS.

    A similar situation can be found on some mountain tops. You can see a half-dozen cell towers for your carrier but can't get a signal.
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