𝒱 • ℋ • 𝒫 — Vertical • Horizontal • Power

Place Ordinance VHP on the City Council Agenda

Ordinance VHP Text:

“For any so-called “small” Wireless Telecommunications Facilities (sWTFs) that are

  • installed in the public rights-of-way, or
  • attached to any building, or
  • have antennas installed at a height that is lower than 100 feet off the ground,

. . . the applicant must install only antennas, radios and other supporting equipment that have no chance of exceeding a total of 0.1 Watt of Effective Radiated Power from the face of the antenna shroud for all frequencies/wavelengths capable of being transmitted from the antenna.”



1996 Telecommunications Act (1996-Act)

47 U.S. Code § 324 – Use of minimum power

In all circumstances, except in case of radio communications or signals relating to vessels in distress, all radio stations, including those owned and operated by the United States, shall use the minimum amount of power necessary to carry out the communication desired.

(June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title III, § 324, 48 Stat. 1091.)


Cisco RF/MW Radiation Power Values — circa 2008

An improper combination of transmit power level and antenna gain can result in equivalent isotropic radiated power (EIRP) that exceeds the amount allowed per regulatory domain.

For general information on power values, see RF Power Values (Document ID 23231)

For general information on channel selection and transmit power, see the FCC Regulations Update For 2004 white paper

To set the transmit power on the wireless device radio to one of the power levels allowed in your the United States, use the power local interface command.

Radio Transmit Power

For 802.11b 2.4 GHz radios, the settings are in mW:

  • Power output options: [1 | 5 | 20 | 30 | 50 | 100 mW is the maximum]

For 802.11g, 2.4 GHz radios. the settings are in mW:

  • Power output options: {cck | ofdm} [1 | 5 | 20 | 30 | 50 | 100 mW is the maximum]

For 802.11g, 2.4 GHz radios where the settings are in dBm:

  • Power output options: {cck | ofdm} [1 | 2 | 5 | 8 | 11 | 14 | 16 | 17 | 20 dBm is the maximum]

For 802.11a, 5 GHz radios radios where the settings are in mW:

  • Power output options: {cck | ofdm} [5 | 10 | 20 | 40 mW is the maximum]

For 802.11a, 5 GHz radio where the settings are in dBm:

  • Power output options: {cck | ofdm} [1 | 2 | 5 | 8 | 11 | 14 | 16 | 17 dBm is the maximum]
Legend:
  • cck = Complementary Code Keying, which is supported by 802.11b and 802.11g devices.
  • ofdm = Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing, which is supported by 802.11g and 802.11a devices

mW to dBm Power Conversion Table

mW

dBm

1 0
2 2
3 5
4 6
5 7
6 8
8 9
10 10
12 11
15 12
20 13
25 14
30 15
40 16
50 17
60 18
80 19
100 20

Antenna Gains Allowed for Different Modulation Schemes

Antenna Gain
(dBi)

CCK Max Power
(mW)

OFDM Max Power
(mW)

2.2 100 30
6 100 30
6.5 100 30
10 100 30
13.5 100 30
15 50 20
21 20 10


Introduction

This document defines radio frequency (RF) power levels and the most common measure, the decibel (dB). This information can be very useful when you troubleshoot intermittent connectivity.

Power Level

The dB measures the power of a signal as a function of its ratio to another standardized value. The abbreviation dB is often combined with other abbreviations in order to represent the values that are compared.

In deciBel milliWatts (dBm), zero is arbitrarily set to 1 mW (1/1000th of a Watt).

You can calculate the power in dBs from this formula:

Power (in dB) = 10 * log10 (Signal/Reference)

This list defines the terms in the formula:

  • log10 is logarithm base 10.
  • Signal is the power of the signal (for example, 50 mW).
  • Reference is the reference power (for example, 1 mW).

Here is an example. If you want to calculate the power in dB of 50 mW, apply the formula in order to get:

Power (in dB) = 10 * log10 (50/1) = 10 * log10 (50) = 10 * 1.7 = 17 dBm

Because decibels are ratios that compare two power levels, you can use simple math in order to manipulate the ratios for the design and assembly of networks. For example, you can apply this basic rule in order to calculate logarithms of large numbers:

log10 (A*B) = log10(A) + log10(B)

If you use the formula above, you can calculate the power of 50 mW in dBs in this way:

Power (in dB) = 10 * log10 (50) = 10 * log10 (5 * 10) = (10 * log10 (5)) + (10 * log10(10)) = 7 + 10 = 17 dBm

These are commonly used general rules:

dB

Transmit Power

3 dB 2x the transmit power
-3 dB ½ the transmit power
6 dB 4x the transmit power
-6 dB ¼ the transmit power
10 dB 10x the transmit power
-10 dB 1/10th of transmit power
20 dB 100x the transmit power
-20 dB 1/100th of transmit power
30 dB 1,000x the transmit power
-30 dB 1/1,000th of transmit power


Approximate dBm to mW Conversion

dBm

mW

0 1
1 1.25
2 1.56
3 2
4 2.5
5 3.12
6 4
7 5
8 6.25
9 8
10 10
11 12.5
12 16
13 20
14 25
15 32
16 40
17 50
18 64
19 80
20 100
21 128
22 160
23 200
24 256
25 320
26 400
27 512
28 640
29 800
30 1000 or 1 W

Please follow this example:

  1. If 0 dB = 1 mW, then 10 dB = 10 mW, and 20 dB = 100 mW.
  2. Subtract 3 dB from 100 mW in order to drop the power by half (17 dB = 50 mW).
  3. Then, subtract 3 dB again in order to drop the power by 50 percent again (14 dB = 25 mW).

Antennas

You can also use the dB abbreviation in order to describe the power level rating of antennas:

  • dBi— For use with isotropic antennas. Isotropic antennas are theoretical antennas that transmit equal power density in all directions. They are used only as theoretical (mathematical) references. They do not exist in the real world.
  • dBd—With reference to dipole antennas.
  • Isotropic antenna power is the ideal measurement to which antennas are compared. All FCC calculations use this measurement (dBi).
  • Dipole antennas are more real-world antennas. While some antennas are rated in dBd, the majority of antennas are rated at dBi.
  • The power rating difference between dBd and dBi is approximately 2.2—that is, 0 dBd = 2.2 dBi. Therefore, an antenna that is rated at 3 dBd is rated by the FCC (and Cisco) as 5.2 dBi.

Effective Isotropic Radiated Power

The radiated (transmitted) power is rated in either dBm or W. Power that comes off an antenna is measured as effective isotropic radiated power (EIRP). EIRP is the value the FCC uses to determine and measure power limits in applications such as 2.4-GHz or 5-GHz wireless equipment. In order to calculate EIRP, add

  • take the transmitter power (in dBm)
  • add the antenna gain (in dBi)
  • subtract any cable losses (in dB).

Cisco Parts Cisco Part Number Power
A Cisco Aironet Bridge AIR-BR350-A-K9 20 dBm
That uses a 50 foot antenna cable AIR-CAB050LL-R (3.35 dB loss)
And a solid dish antenna AIR-ANT3338 21 dBi gain
Has an EIRP of 37.65 dBm

Path Loss

The distance that a signal can be transmitted depends on several factors. The primary hardware factors that are involved are:

  • Transmitter power
  • Cable losses between the transmitter and its antenna
  • Antenna gain of the transmitter
  • How far apart the antennas are and if there are obstacles between them.
  • Antennas that can see each other without any obstacles between them are in line of sight.
  • Receiving antenna gain
  • Cable losses between the receiver and its antenna
  • Receiver sensitivity

Receiver sensitivity is defined as the minimum signal power level (in dBm or mW) that is necessary for the receiver to accurately decode a given signal. Because dBm is compared to 0 mW, 0 dBm is a relative point, much like 0 degrees is in temperature measurement. This table shows example values of receiver sensitivity:

Receiver Sensitivity: deciBel-milliWatt (dBm) to milliWatt (mW)

dBm

mW

10 10
3 2
0 1
-3 0.5
-10 0.1
-20 0.01
-30 0.001
-40 0.0001
-50 0.00001
-60 0.000001
-70 0.0000001
-80 0.00000001
-90 0.000000001

The receiver sensitivity of the radios in Aironet products is -84 dBm or 0.000000004 mW.

Estimate Outdoor Ranges

Cisco has an Outdoor Bridge Range Calculation Utility to help determine what to expect from an outdoor wireless link. Because the outputs of the calculation utility are theoretical, it is helpful to have some guidelines on how to help counteract outside factors.

  • For every increase of 6 dB, the coverage distance doubles.
  • For every decrease of 6 dB, the coverage distance is cut in half.

In order to make these adjustments, choose antennas with higher (or lower) gain. Or use longer (or shorter) antenna cables.

Given that a pair of Aironet 350 Bridges (with 50 feet of cable that connects to a dish antenna) can span 18 miles, you can modify the theoretical performance of that installation:

  • If you change to 100-foot cables instead of 50-foot (which adds 3 dB of loss on each end), the range drops to 9 miles.
  • If you change the antenna to 13.5-dBi yagis instead of the dishes (which reduces gain by 14 dBi overall), the range drops to less than 4 miles.

Estimate Indoor Ranges

There is no antenna calculation utility for indoor links. Indoor RF propagation is different than outdoor propagation. However, there are some quick calculations that you can do in order to estimate performance.

  • For every increase of 9 dB, the coverage area doubles.
  • For every decrease of 9 dB, the coverage area is cut in half.

Consider the typical installation of an Aironet 340 Access Point (AP) with the rubber ducky 2.2-dBi dipole antenna. The radio is approximately 15 dBm.

If you upgrade to a 350 AP and replace the rubber duckies with a high-gain omni-directional antenna that is rated at 5.2 dBi, the range nearly doubles.

The increase in power from a 340 AP to a 350 AP is +5 dBi. And the antenna upgrade is +3 dBi, for a total of +8 dBi.

This is close to the +9 dBi that are required to double the coverage area.

Related Information