Characteristics of rain at microwave and millimetric bands for terrestrial and satellite links attenuation in South Africa and surrounding islands.
Owolawi, Pius Adewale.
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The emergence of a vast range of communication devices running on different types of technology has made convergence of technology become the order of the day. This revolution observed in communications technology has resulted in a pressing need for larger bandwidth, higher data rate and better spectrum availability, and it has become important that these factors be addressed. As such, this has resulted in the current resurgence of interest to investigate higher electromagnetic spectrum space that can take care of these needs. For the past decade, microwave (3 GHz-30 GHz) and millimeter waves (30 GHz-300 GHz) have been used as the appropriate frequency ranges for applications with properties such as wide bandwidth, smaller components size, narrow beamwidths, frequency re-use, small antenna, and short deployment time. To optimize the use of these frequency ranges by communication systems, the three tiers of communication system elements - receiver, transmitter and transmission channel or medium must be properly designed and configured. However, if the transmitter and receiver meet the necessary requirements, the medium in which signals are transmitted often becomes an issue at this range of frequencies. The most significant factor that affects the transmission of signals at these bands is attenuation and scattering by rain, snow, water vapour and other gases in the atmosphere. Scattering and absorption by rain at microwave and millimeter bands is thus a main concern for system designers. This study presents results of research into the interaction of rainfall with microwave and millimeter wave propagation as a medium. The study of rainfall characteristics allows estimation of its scattered and attenuated effects in the presence of microwave and millimeter waves. The components of this work encompass rainfall rate integration time, cumulative distribution and modelling of rainfall rate and characteristics of rain drop size and its modelling. The effects of rain on microwave and millimeter wave signals, which result in rain attenuation, are based on rainfall rate variables such as rainfall rate cumulative distribution, raindrop size distribution, total scattering cross sections, rain drop shape, and rain drop terminal velocity. A regional rainfall rate conversion factor from five-minute rainfall data to one-minute integration time is developed using the existing conversion method and a newly developed hybrid method. Based on these conversion factor results from the hybrid method, the rainfall at five-minute integration time was converted to a one-minute equivalent to estimate its cumulative distributions. In addition, new rain zones based on ITU-R and Crane designations are suggested for the entire region of South Africa and the surrounding Islands. The results are compared with past research work done in the other regions. Rain attenuation is acutely influenced by rain drop size distribution (DSD). This study thus also investigates DSD models from previous research work. There are several DSD models commonly used to estimate rain attenuation. They are models which have their root from exponential, gamma, lognormal and Weibull distributions. Since DSD is dynamic and locationdependent, a simple raindrop size distribution model is developed for Durban using maximum likelihood estimation (MLE) method. The MLE method is applied to the three-parameter lognormal distribution in order to model DSD for Durban. Rain drop size depends on rainfall rate, drop diameter and rain drop velocity. Semi-empirical models of terminal velocity from previous studies are investigated in this work and proposed for the estimation of specific rain attenuation.