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Mobile telephony network

Daily use of mobile phones has familiarised us with handsets but not with the technology that underlies their operation and the way mobile networks function. Our mobile phones are only a single ‘piece’ of the mobile technology puzzle, which cannot operate without the network of antennas and the digital switching centres.

Mobile networks operate by transferring voice (conversations), text (messages) and data (photographs, music, videos, etc.) wirelessly via electromagnetic waves and specifically radio waves. Wireless transmission of voice and data has also meant designing a new mobile network that enables communication while in motion. This is achieved by installing of fixed transmitters, in other words antennas, at key locations around the country and the use of wireless handsets, in other words mobile phones, which communicate with each other by transmitting and receiving electromagnetic waves.

A mobile telephony network is comprised of base stations (antennas), mobile phones and digital switching centers


A base station is usually comprised 3 antennas and transmits a signal, in other words provides telecom coverage, to a specific geographical area. When the base station is comprised of 3 antennas, it creates three coverage zones in a perimetric pattern. Due to their shape, these zones are known as ‘cells’. The size of each cell depends on the local terrain and the number of mobile telephony subscribers in the area. Each antenna can only ?handle? a specific number of calls at one time (approximately 20 calls). As the number of calls being handled by a base station increases, the antenna capacity overloads. In this case, the cell needs to be divided into smaller cells; that is to say a second or even a third antenna is installed in the area depending on the traffic [of calls] to be handled.


In the cities, due to the numerous tall buildings and the large number of subscribers, a mobile network in order to operate with efficiency, the geographical area to be covered must be divided into numerous smaller cells, in other words many small-range antennas must be installed. These antennas operate at particularly low power levels, which usually do not exceed 10 watts (it is worth noting that many household appliances emit bigger amounts of electromagnetic waves in the frequencies they operate).