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How Important is PIM Testing?

PIM Testing

How Important is PIM Testing?

 

If youíve ever used a mobile phone, then youíve benefited from PIM testing and the products that TMG supplies to keep everything running.

 

Passive intermodulation (PIM) often occurs when multiple signals are used in passive components in conjunction with non-linear elements.

 

For the layperson, this means the signals basically obstruct each other, reducing receiver sensitivity or even hindering communication entirely.

 

If this doesnít sound serious enough, allow us to explain all of the reasons for PIM testing and some of the equipment that can be used to complete the task. 

 

A World Without PIM Testing Equipment

 

Without going through the proper process of PIM testing, poor signals, dropouts, and reduced transmission data would go relatively unexplained. 

 

Sure, we might have a hunch as to what was causing these symptoms, but the equipment developed over decades of mobile communication allows us to know for sure. 

 

With a modern understanding of PIM and its effects on end-users, antennas and entire networks can be designed and optimised to avoid this phenomenon from happening too often. 

 

Of course, PIM remains unavoidable at times, for reasons to be explained, but things could certainly be much worse for mobile communication. 

 

Applications for PIM Testing

 

This tried-and-tested process allows cellular network operations to detect and remove non-linear junctions at the site, improving performance for their customers.

 

It is most commonly applied to antennas and feeder arrangements for cellular base stations. This is often due to several carriers broadcasting from a single site, therefore tangling signals and causing PIM. 

 

It can also occur around coax connectors, coax cables, and grounds. Metal objects such as guy wires and anchors, roof flashings, and pipes can all cause PIM too. 

 

This all reveals the broad and common nature of PIM and PIM testing, demanding a large range of testing equipment to suit a range of contexts. 

 

A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats

 

Regular customers for TMGís PIM testing equipment are mobile network providers who have set up shop nearby a competitor. 

 

As discussed, this PIM-possible situation requires testing at installation; each time a new party is installed at the site; and after much time has passed and degradation is possible. 

 

It is therefore in the interest of each carrier to test their signal for PIM and take the appropriate action to remedy the situation.

 

Degredation

 

Just as low levels of PIM are enough to degrade receiver sensitivity and system performance, physical degradation is another cause of PIM which must be monitored. 

 

This can be caused by weather or the environment where the equipment is operating. If the temperature is wildly variable, or if pollution is high, the metal components will be more susceptible to rust. The environment can also cause the metals around the junctions to have a slightly unstable connection. 

 

PIM Testing Equipment

 

It would be remiss of us to discuss PIM testing and not hand you a range of equipment with which to do so. 

 

The Kaelus External PIM Finder is a compact and convenient solution for locating and identifying external PIM sources, such as loose or corroded metals. 

 

It quickly suppresses the interfering signal with a variety of methods, including removing or covering the PIM source.

 

This battery-powered, remote control product is available to buy or rent from our online store today, so that you can conduct effective PIM testing tomorrow.


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