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Cell Tower

Definition - What does Cell Tower mean?

A cell tower houses the electronic communications equipment along with an antenna to support cellular communication in a network. A cell tower is usually an elevated structure with the antenna, transmitters and receivers located at the top.

A cell tower also known as cellular tower or cell site.

Techopedia explains Cell Tower

Cell towers are usually placed so that they can cover a wide area. The working range of a cell tower depends on many factors, such as:

  • Rated power of the transmitter
  • Frequency of signal
  • Height of the antenna above its surroundings
  • Required uplink/downlink data rate of the customer’s device
  • Reflection or absorption of radio energy by nearby buildings or vegetation
  • Weather conditions
  • Geographical or regulatory factors

Cell towers are grouped in geographical locations where the population density is high and there are likely to be large numbers of cell phone users. This helps in avoiding saturation of the available capacity, which could result in busy signals and unhappy consumers. Cell phones are designed to be aware of the nearest tower. This is shown to the user in the form of signal strength, which represents the connectivity strength between the user’s location and the nearest tower providing the service. When a user makes a call, the radio signal emitted searches for the nearest tower. The receiving antenna of the cell tower then picks up the radio signal and starts the process of finding the caller. Once found, the radio signals are transmitted back to the user and the communication is established with back-and-forth passing of the radio signals.

The primary function of a cell tower is to ensure proper elevation to antennas that receive and transmit radio-frequency signals from cell phones and other devices. Sometimes to accommodate community aesthetic concerns, cell towers are camouflaged to resemble trees or flagpoles. For basic functioning, cell towers are expected to be adjacent to a road for physical access with availability of telecommunications network connectivity and electrical power. Mobile service providers usually configure adjacent cell towers to make use of different frequencies. This helps in avoiding any “confusion” among handsets about which tower antenna to be used for connection.

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