Andrew Miller, PE,
— A recent article from Above Ground Level (AGL) magazine entitled “Antenna Mounts Can be LTE’s Achilles’ Heel,” discusses the dangers of improperly mounted LTE antennas. There are two parts to this argument.
The tower is an issue because up until LTE, the antennas were of relatively standard dimensions with little or no associated equipment. Now with LTE, the antenna sizes and weight have increased and the radio heads are heavy and large enough that they should not be ignored. It was always standard practice that a tower analysis was only analyzing the main structure and the mounts were not addressed individually. Now that the antennas are getting larger and heavier, the mounts need to be addressed and assessed to determine if they are acceptable to support the new proposed loads. Along those lines, I would expect tower mount manufacturers to increase their design criteria in the near future to help with the significance of the new LTE installations.
The building issue is along the same lines, but a little more convoluted. Existing wall mounts are commonly reused for subsequent technologies; however, I am not sure how often they are “re-analyzed.” When they are “re-analyzed” the information used is often tough to gather and is therefore usually based on assumptions. Advantage Engineers always analyzes or assesses existing wall mounts to determine if they are acceptable and we try to be conservative to eliminate any dangerous situations. It is possible that some contractors may just install antennas without any direction from an engineering firm or without certification by a professional engineer. I would hope that the carrier’s project management teams would do what they can to eliminate this. This is also bolstered by the fact that jurisdictions understand the changes and are becoming more diligent and requiring thorough information in order to receive the building permits.
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