What are mobile phone masts for and how do they work?

We all know that mobile phone masts are present in our lives daily. They are everywhere and are essential for us to communicate with each other. But do you know exactly what their function is? Read the following guide to learn more about them.

What are mobile phone masts used for?

Mobile phone masts enable people to make calls and access the Internet. In other words, they create a network that provides signal or coverage so that calls and connections, to whomever and wherever, are possible.

When a person makes a phone call, the person’s mobile phone connects with the nearest phone mast. From there, the signal communicates with a switch that sends the signal to the nearest antenna or base station from where the receiver is located.

That is why, mobile phone antennas are critical — since without them, users would not be able to contact each other. In addition, these antennas provide mobile phone coverage, which has become increasingly vital.

In places where large amounts of people gather at once, such as football stadiums, the connection can be latency-prone and perceived as slower than normal, or even lagging.

With the exception of these situations, the range of mobile phone antennas and their coverage is considerable. For example, 4G antennas can provide solid coverage for up to 10-12 km, and can link one village to another and extend to nearby towns.

It is important to install mobile phone masts according to the number of inhabitants. Due to the considerable difference in population density, it is therefore common to find more phone masts in cities than in towns or rural areas.

How does a mobile phone mast work?

To understand how mobile networks operate, it’s important to first understand how mobile phone masts — also known as mobile phone antennas or towers — work.  After all, we use these phone masts on a daily basis to communicate and be permanently connected.

The way mobile phone masts work is simple: As soon as the user dials a phone number on their smartphone and presses the call button, the antenna receives the signal. The antenna then processes the phone call  and sends the call to a switch. Once there, the call is transmitted to the new antenna where the receiver is connected and the receiver’s phone starts ringing. Clearly, the call is connected from one antenna to another. First, the caller’s antenna receives the signal, and then the receiver’s antenna sends the signal so the receiver’s smartphone starts ringing.

Thus, when a voice message says that the receiver’s mobile phone is not available, it is because the user is not connected to an antenna with a signal; and therefore, the receiver cannot get the phone call.

How large is a mobile phone antenna?

Mobile phone masts, in general, stand out for their size. At first glance, one would think they’re not so big since these antennas can vary  between 30 centimetres and 1 metre long, but the truth is that they are usually placed on top of a mast, or on the roof of a building, at a height of 15 to 50 metres. In order to reduce the impact that these infrastructures can have on the landscape, they are integrated, in many cases, with the environment; with materials that mimic the elements that make the landscape go unnoticed.

Mobile phone masts are usually situated at the highest peaks of cities or on buildings’ rooftops. For safety reasons, a distance of at least 6 metres between an antenna and a person is recommended, a condition that is easily met in both rural and urban environments.

Do you have any questions about how a mobile phone mast works, how suitable your property may be for a mast or, if you are an existing telecoms site owner, do you want to learn more about the asset located on your property? Contact APWireless by calling 091 457880, or visit www.apwireless.ie , and one of our Acquisitions Directors will advise you on your mobile phone mast site or lease.