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How do radio signals travel to your mobile phone?

17 April 2012

Professor Andrew Nix discusses the mobile phone signal level predictions he performed for BBC's Bang Goes the Theory [16 April 2012]

The ‘wireless edition’ of Bang Goes the Theory (16 April 2012) showed how radio signals are all around us.  The Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering worked with the BBC to develop three special LED wands. These allowed cellular, WiFi and FM radio signals to be visualised on a 2m strip of LEDs.

Unfortunately, the programme didn’t have the time to show you everything. Communication experts in the Department made a number of radio signal level predictions for a GSM basestation in Bishopsgate (central London).

Predicted radio paths between a mobile phone and a basestation 

Visit the link to download Bang Goes the Theory ray predictions (PDF, 3,267kB) [PDF3.18MB] to find out if theory agreed with practice!

You can also find out:

  • how to measure radio signal levels on your own phone
  • how to track down the location of cell towers in your area
  • how signals really travel to and from the basestation
  • what the radio coverage of a basestation actually looks like
  • how radio signals ‘bend’ around corners – but not very well

Why not check out the website to find out more about the exciting work being performed by electrical and electronic engineers?