PIM: Not If We Can Help It

July 19th, 2018

Alliance partner, Commscope, has launched a Five-Prong Campaign to Help Improve Mobile Networks

Passive intermodulation (PIM) continues to be one of the top causes of quality and performance issues faced by wireless operators in their networks. Alliance has prepared an overview, What is PIM? which includes links to several documents and tools from Commscope.

PIM is the result of two or more wireless signals mixing together to create additional, undesired frequencies that cause interference or degrade transmission of desired signals in wireless networks. Recognizing that conquering PIM requires a broad and comprehensive approach, Andrew Solutions, the CommScope, Inc. division that is a global leader in wireless communication systems and products, has introduced a new five-level PIM program – ‘PIM Happens, Just Not on Our Watch’ -for the wireless industry.

‘RF engineers are aware of PIM, but may not fully appreciate the degree of damage it causes to a wireless network, lumping PIM together with other performance metrics,’ said Stan Catey, senior vice president and general manager, Cable Products, Andrew Solutions. ‘That is why our new ‘PIM Happens, Just Not on Our Watch’ campaign includes educating engineers, operators and installers in addition to a variety of prevention and resolution techniques.’

The destructive effect of PIM on wireless networks typically manifests as shrunken cell coverage area, dropped calls, data transmission rate slow downs, and degraded quality of service. Effectively managing PIM requires a holistic approach because it can be caused by a multitude of sources-improper component installation, poor network optimization, testing errors, and more. Operators who successfully mitigate PIM should realize optimized channel capacity, increased quality of service, targeted and less costly resolutions, and improved time to market.

Andrew Solutions’ ‘PIM Happens, Just Not on Our Watch’ program is based on five approaches-awareness, prevention, identification, resolution, and support-for addressing PIM’s capacity to degrade wireless network quality.

Awareness – Andrew Solutions has created multiple tools-including a PIM and VSWR calculator, FAQ, and testing guidelines -to increase knowledge about PIM. These tools are available to Alliance customers here. Prevention – Alliance can provide 100% factory PIM tested jumpers (jumpers can cause up to 80% of the PIM issues found on sites). Prevention – Andrew Institute, Andrew Solutions’ installer training organization, is now offering a PIM Fundamentals course with curriculum designed to promote best practices for minimizing PIM during site installations. Contact Alliance to register for a course. Identification – CommScope’s Field Engineering Services team can help pinpoint sources of PIM thanks to experienced field personnel with knowledge about proper PIM testing techniques. Alliance can provide best in class test instruments to simplify identification. Contact Alliance for more information. Resolution – if you’ve identified problems with your cable assembly, Alliance can rapidly provide you with components, PIM-tested jumpers or entire cable assemblies as needed to meet PIM compliance. Support – Alliance has a dedicated team available for all technical issues and they are well-versed on PIM issues. Contact support at 1 866 743 7378 or by e-mail.