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Analysis of Statistical Path Loss Models for

Mobile Communications
Y. Ramakrishna1, Dr. P. V. Subbaiah2 and V. Ratnakumari 3
PVP Siddhartha Institute of Technology, Vijayawada, India
Amrita Sai Institute of Science & Technology, Vijayawada, India
PVP Siddhartha Institute of Technology, Vijayawada, India

Abstract: The ability to accurately predict radio signal strength and other parameters such as antenna heights,
propagation behavior for mobile communications is terrain profiles, etc through the use of extensive
becoming crucial to system design. Unlike deterministic measurement and statistical analysis.
models which require more computations, statistical models Radio transmission in a mobile communication system
are easier to implement, require less computational effort often takes place over irregular terrain. The terrain profile of
and are less sensitive to the environmental geometry. In a particular area needs to be taken into account for estimating
mobile radio systems, most of the models regarding fading the path loss. The terrain profile may vary from a simple
apply stochastic process to describe the distribution of the curved earth profile to a highly curved mountainous profile.
received signal. It is useful to use these models to simulate A number of propagation models are available to predict
propagation channels and to estimate the performance of path loss over irregular terrain. While all these models aim to
the system in a homogeneous environment. Propagation predict signal strength at a particular receiving point or in a
models that predict the mean signal strength for an specific location called sector, the methods vary widely in
arbitrary Transmitter-Receiver (T-R) separation distance their approach, complexity and accuracy. Most of these
are called large-scale propagation models, since they models are based on a systematic interpretation of
characterize signal strength over large T-R separation measurement data obtained in the service area.
distance. In this paper, the large-scale propagation In this paper, the wideband propagation performance of
performance of COST-231 Walfisch Ikegami and Hata COST-231 Walfisch Ikegami and Hata models has been
models has been compared varying Mobile Station (MS) compared varying MS antenna height, propagation distance,
antenna height, T-R separation distance and Base Station and BS antenna height considering the system to operate at
(BS) antenna height, considering the system to operate at 850 MHz. Through the MATLAB simulation it turned out
850 MHz. Through MATLAB simulation it is observed that that the COST-231 Walfisch Ikegami model outperforms the
the COST-231 model shows better performance than Hata other large scale propagation models.
Keywords: Path Loss, COST-231 Walfisch Ikegami Model, Hata 2. Models for Predicting Propagation Path Loss
Model. A good model for predicting mobile radio propagation loss
should be able to distinguish among open areas, sub urban
1. Introduction areas and urban areas. All urban areas, hilly or flat areas are
Propagation models have traditionally focused on predicting unique in terrain, buildings and street configurations. The
the received signal strength at a given distance from the models described in this paper are considered to design a
transmitter, as well as the variability of the signal strength in prediction model for urban area. A good prediction model
a close spatial proximity to a particular location. Propagation follows the same guidelines, so that every user gets the same
models that predict the signal strength for an arbitrary T-R answer for given conditions.
separation distance are useful in estimating the radio Path loss may occur due to many effects, such as free-
coverage area of a transmitter. Conversely, propagation space loss, refraction, diffraction, reflection, aperture-
models that characterize the rapid fluctuations of the medium coupling loss and absorption [2]. Path loss is also
received signal strength over very short travel distances are influenced by terrain contours, environment (urban or rural,
called small-scale or fading models [1]. Propagation models vegetation and foliage), propagation medium (dry or moist
are useful for predicting signal attenuation or path loss. This air), the distance between the transmitter and the receiver,
path loss information may be used as a controlling factor for and the height of antennas.
system performance or coverage so as to achieve perfect Path loss normally includes propagation losses caused
reception. The common approaches to propagation modeling by
include physical models and empirical models. In this paper, • The natural expansion of the radio wave front in free
only empirical models are considered. Empirical models use space.
measurement data to model a path loss equation. To conceive • Absorption losses (sometimes called penetration losses)
these models, a correlation was found between the received • When the signal passes through media not transparent to
electromagnetic waves and diffraction losses.
The signal radiated by a transmitter may also travel along (ITU-R) in the international Mobile Telecommunications-
many and different paths to a receiver simultaneously; this 2000 (IMT-2000) standards activities [1]. This model is
effect is called multipath propagation. Multipath propagation applicable for frequencies in the range of 150 to 1800 MHz.
can either increase or decrease received signal strength, This utilizes the theoretical Walfisch-Bertoni model, and is
depending on whether the individual multipath wave fronts composed of three terms:
interfere constructively or destructively.
In wireless communications, path loss can be represented L 0 + Lrts + Lmsd forLrts + Lmsd > 0
by the path loss exponent, whose value is normally in the L0 (d ) = (4)
L0 Lrts + Lmsd ≤ 0
range of 2 to 5 (where 2 is for propagation in free space, 5 is
for relatively lossy environments) [1]. In some environments,
such as buildings, stadiums and other indoor environments, where L0 represents the free space path loss, Lrts is the
the path loss exponent can reach values in the range of 4 to 6. rooftop-street diffraction and scatterer loss, and Lmsd is the
On the other hand, a tunnel may act as a waveguide, multi screen diffraction loss. The free space loss is given by
resulting in a path loss exponent less than 2.
The free-space path loss is denoted by L p (d) , which is L0 = 32.4 + 20 log d + 20 log f (5)

L p ( d ) = −20 log 10  
c / fc
4Π d  (dB )
 Where d is the radio-path length (in km), f is the radio
frequency (in MHz), and
where c = velocity of light, fc = carrier frequency and d =
distance between transmitter and receiver.
Lrts = −16.9 − 10 log w + 10 log f + 20 log ∆hMobile + Lori (6)
For long-distance path loss with shadowing, the path loss
is denoted by L p (d), which is Here w is the street width (in m) and

n ∆hMobile = hRoof − hMobile (7)

L p ( d ) ∝  d  ,d ≥ d
 0
 d0 
or equivalently, is the difference between the height of the building on which
the base station antenna is located, hRoof, and the height of the
( d )(
L p (d ) = L p (d 0 ) + 10n log10 d
0 dB )
, d ≥ d0 (3) mobile antenna, hMobile. Lori is the loss that arises due to the
orientation of the street. It depends on the angle of incidence
where n = path loss component, d0 = the close-in reference
distance (typically 1 km for macro cells, 100m for micro ( φ ) of the wave relative to the direction of the street.
cells), d = distance between transmitter and receiver. Lori is given by

3. Point-to-Point Prediction Models − 10 + 0 . 354 φ 0 0 ≤ φ < 35 0

L ori = 2 . 5 + 0 . 075 (φ − 35 ) for 35 0 ≤ φ < 55 0 (8)
Calculation of the path loss is usually called prediction. 4 . 0 − 0 . 114 (φ − 55 ) 55 0 ≤ φ < 90 0
Exact prediction is possible only for simpler cases, such as
Lmsd is given by
the above-mentioned free space propagation or the flat-earth
model. For practical cases the path loss is calculated using a
Lmsd = Lbsh + ka + kd log d + k f log f − 9 log b (9)
variety of approximations.
The area-to-area model provides path loss with long
range of uncertainty. Point-to-Point prediction reduces the Where b is the distance between the buildings along the
uncertainty range by applying the detailed terrain contour signal path and Lbsh and ka represent the increase of path loss
information to the path-loss predictions. Point-to-point due to a reduced base station antenna height. Using the
prediction is very useful in mobile cellular system design, abbreviation
where the radius of each cell is 16 kilometers or less. It can ∆hBase = hBase − hRoof (10)
provide information to insure uniform coverage and Where hbase is the base station antenna height, we observe
avoidance of co-channel interference. that Lbsh and ka are given through
Statistical methods (also called stochastic or empirical)
are based on fitting curves with analytical expressions that − 18 log( 1 + ∆ hBase ) hBase > h Roof
recreate a set of measured data. L bsh = (11)
0 h Base ≤ h Roof
In the cities the density of people is high. So the more
accurate loss prediction model will be a good help for the
54 hBase> hRoof
Base Station Transceiver System (BTS) mapping for
optimum network design. Among the radio propagation ka = 54− 0.8∆hBase d ≥ 0.5km hBase≤ hRoof (12)
models, city models are to be analyzed in this paper to find 54−1.6∆hBased d ≥ 0.5km hBase≤ hRoof
the best fitting city model. The well known propagation
models for urban areas are: The terms kd and kf control the dependence of the multiscreen
i) COST-231 Walfisch Ikegami Model diffraction loss versus distance and the radio frequency of
operation, respectively. They are
ii) Hata Model
18 hBase > hRoof
3.1 COST-231 Walfisch Ikegami Model kd = ∆h (13)
18−15 Base hBase≤ hRoof
This model is being considered for use by International hRoof
Telecommunication Union-Radio Communication Sector
 f 
k f = −4 + 0.7 − 1 (14) Ikegami
 925  Hata
for medium-sized cities and suburban centers with moderate
tree densities and for metropolitan centers.
 f  180
k f = −4 + 1.5 − 1 (15)

Path loss (dB)

 925 
3.2 Hata model
It is an empirical formulation of the graphical path loss data 170
provided by Okumara’s model. The formula for the median
path loss in urban areas is given by
L50 (urban)(dB) = 69.55 + 26.16 log f c − 13.82 log hte
− a(hre ) + (44.9 − 6.55 log hte ) log d (16) 160
30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
Base Station Antenna Height (Mt.)
where fc is the frequency and varies from 150 to 1500
MHz, hte and hre are the effective height of the base station Fig.1. Propagation path loss due to the change in the BTS
and the mobile antennas (in meters) respectively, d is the antenna height.
distance from the base station to the mobile antenna, and
a(hre) is the correction factor for the effective antenna height 190
of the mobile which is a function of the size of the area of Hata
185 Ikegami
coverage [2]. For small to medium-sized cities, the mobile
antenna correction factor is given by 180

a(hre) = (1.1log f c − 0.7)hre − (1.56log f c − 0.8) dB (17) 175

Path loss (dB)

For a large city, it is given by 170

8.29(log1.54hre )2 − 1.1 dB for fc ≤ 300MHz 165

a(hre ) = (18)
3.2(log11.75hre )2 − 4.97 dB for fc ≥ 300MHz 160

When the size of the cell is small, less than 1 km, the 155

street orientation and individual blocks of buildings make a 150

difference in signal reception [3]. Those street orientations
and individual blocks of buildings do not make any 145
3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
noticeable difference in reception when this signal is well Mobile Antenna Height (Mt.)
attenuated at a distance over 1 km. Over a large distance the
relatively great mobile radio propagation loss of 40 dB/dec is Fig.2. Propagation path loss due to the change in the MS
due to the situation that two waves, direct and reflected, are antenna height.
more or less equal in strength [4] – [6]. The local scatterers Figure 1 depicts the variation of path loss with base
(buildings surroundings the mobile unit) reflect this signal station antenna height keeping the parameters MS antenna
causing only the multipath fading not the path loss at the height and T-R separation constant. It is noted that path loss
mobile unit. When the cells are small, the signal arriving at is decreasing due to increase in BTS antenna height for both
the mobile unit is blocked by the individual buildings; this models. However path loss continues to be low in COST-231
weakens the signal strength and is considered as part of the model.
path loss [7] – [9]. In small cells, the loss is calculated based Figure 2 evaluates the path loss by varying MS Antenna
on the dimensions of the building blocks. Since the ground height and fixing the other two parameters. As MS antenna
incident angles of the waves are small due to the low antenna height is increased, the path loss is decreased in this case.
heights used in small cells, the exact height of buildings in
the middle of the propagation paths is not important. Figure 3 illustrates the change in path loss upon change
Although the strong received signal at the mobile unit is in T-R antenna separation distance. It is observed that the
come from the multipath reflected waves not from the waves path loss is less up to 4 km radial distance for COST-231
penetrating through buildings, there is a correlation between model while the path loss is more beyond 4 km separation
the attenuation of the signal and the total building blocks, distance.
along the radio path.
In cases 1 and 2 the path loss is low for both the models
and in case 3 the trend is different beyond 4 kilometers
4. Performance Analysis separation between transmitter and receiver. Hence COST-
In this paper, the propagation path loss has been assessed by 231 model may be preferred to design cellular network
considering the parameters BTS Antenna height, MS where the cell radius is less than 4 km. Hence this model is
Antenna height and T-R separation for the COST-231 preferred for densely populated urban areas where call traffic
Walfisch Ikegami and Hata models by MATLAB simulation. is high.
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Fig.3. Path loss due to the change in T-R separation. Authors’ Profile
Y.Ramakrishna is currently a research
5. Conclusions student under Dr. P. V. Subbaiah. He
received M.Tech. degree in Microwave
In this paper, two widely known large scale propagation
Engineering from Acharya Nagarjuna
models are studied and analyzed. The analysis and
University, India in 2005. He received
simulation was done to find out the path loss by varying the
B.E. degree in Electronics and
BTS antenna height, MS antenna height, and the T-R
Communication Engineering from the
separation. Cost-231 Walfisch Ikegami model was seen to
University of Madras, India in 2002. He
represent low power loss levels in the curves. The result of
is presently working as Senior Assistant
this analysis will help the network designers to choose the
Professor in the Department of Electronics and
proper model in the field applications. Further up-gradation
Communication Engineering, PVP Siddhartha Institute of
in this result can be possible for the higher range of carrier
Technology, Vijayawada, India. His research interests are:
Mobile Communications, Smart Antennas, Satellite
[1] Tapan K. Sarkar, M.C.Wicks, M.S.Palma and R.J. Dr. P. V. Subbaiah received his
Bonnea, Smart Antennas, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Ph.D. in Microwave Antennas from
Publication, NJ, 2003. JNT University, India 1995, His
[2] M. A. Alim, M. M. Rahman, M. M. Hossain, A. Al- Master‘s degree in Control Systems
Nahid, “Analysis of Large-Scale Propagation Models for from Andhra University, India 1982.
Mobile Communications in Urban Area”, International He received B.E. degree in Electronics
Journal of Computer Science and Information Security, and Commu-nication Engineering
Vol. 7, No. 1, 2010, pp. 135–139. from Bangalore University in 1980.
[3] W.C.Y.Lee, Mobile Communications Design He is currently working as Principal in Amrita Sai Institute
Fundamentals, Sec. Edition, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., of Science and Technology, Vijayawada, India since 2007.
1992. His research interest includes Microwave Antennas, Optical
[4] W.C.Y.Lee, Mobile Cellular Telecommunications, Sec. Communications and Mobile Communications.
Edition, Tata McGraw-Hill Publishing Company Ltd., V. Ratnakumari received M.Tech.
India, 2006. degree in Microwave Engineering
[5] Robert J. Piechocki, Joe P. McGeehan, and George V. from Acharya Nagarjuna University,
Tsoulos, “A New Stochastic Spatio-Temporal Propa- India in 2008. She received B.Tech.
gation Model (SSTPM) for Mobile Communications degree in Electronics and
with Antenna Arrays”, IEEE Transactions on Communi- Communication Engineering from
-cations, Vol. 49, No. 5, May 2001, pp. 855–862. JNT University, India in 2005. She
[6] Frank B. Gross, Smart Antennas for Mobile is presently working as Assistant
Communications, The Mc-Graw Hill Companies, 2005. Professor in the Department of
[7] C. Jansen, R. Piesiewicz , D. Mittleman and Martin Electronics and Communication
Koch, “The Impact of Reflections From Stratified Engineering, PVP Siddhartha Institute of Technology,
Building Materials on the Wave Propagation in Future Vijayawada, India. Her research interests are: Mobile
Indoor Terahertz Communication Systems”, IEEE communications and Signal Processing.