Repository logo

A semi-empirical formulation for determination of rain attenuation on terrestrial radio links.

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Advances in today’s fast growing communication systems have resulted in congestion in the lower frequency bands and the need for higher capacity broadband services. This has made it inevitable for service providers to migrate to higher frequency bands so as to accommodate the ever increasing demands on radio communication systems. However, the reliability of such systems at these frequency bands tend to be severely degraded due to some natural atmospheric phenomena of which rain is the dominant factor. This is not to say that other factors have become unimportant; however, if attenuation by rain is so severe that a radio link is unavailable for use, then other factors become secondary. Therefore, it is paramount to establish a model capable of predicting the behaviour of these systems in the presence of rain. This study employs a semi-empirical approach for the formulation of rain attenuation models using the knowledge of rain rate, raindrop size distribution, and a signal level measurement recorded at 19.5 GHz on a horizontally polarized terrestrial radio link. The semi-empirical approach was developed by considering the scattering effect of an electromagnetic wave propagating through a medium containing raindrops. The complex forward scattering amplitudes for the raindrops are determined for all raindrop sizes at different frequencies, utilizing the Mie scattering theory on spherical dielectric raindrops. From these scattering amplitudes, the extinction cross-sections for the spherical raindrops are calculated. Applying the power-law regression to the real part of the calculated extinction cross-section, power-law coefficients are determined at different frequencies. The power-law model generated from the extinction crosssection is integrated over different raindrop-size distribution models to formulate theoretical rain attenuation models. The developed rain attenuation models are used with 0.01 R rain rate statistics determined for four locations in different rain climatic zones in South Africa to calculate the specific rain attenuation. From a horizontally polarized 6.73 km terrestrial line-of-sight link in Durban, South Africa,experimental rain attenuation measurements were recorded at 19.5 GHz. These rain attenuation measurements are compared with the results obtained from the developed attenuation models with the same propagation parameters to establish the most appropriate attenuation models that describe the behaviour of radio link performance in the presence of rain. For the purpose of validating the results, it is compared with the ITU-R rain attenuation model. This study also considers the characteristics and variations associated with rain attenuation for terrestrial communication systems. This is achieved by utilizing the ITU-R power-law rain attenuation model on 5-year rain rate data obtained from the four different climatic rain zones in South Africa to estimate the cumulative distributions of rain attenuation. From the raindrop size and 1-minute rain rate measurement recorded in Durban with a distrometer over six months, rain events over the six months are classified into drizzle, widespread, shower and thunderstorm rain types and the mean rain rate statistics determined for each class of rain. Drop-size distribution for all the rain types is estimated. This research has shown a statistical analysis of rain fade data and proposed an empirical rain attenuation model for South Africa localities. This work has also drawn out theoretical rain attenuation prediction models based on the assumption that the shapes of raindrops are spherical. The results predicted from these theoretical attenuation models have shown that it is not the raindrop shapes that determine the attenuation due to rain, but the raindrop size distribution and the rain rate content in the drops. This thesis also provides a good interpretation of cumulative rain attenuation distribution on seasonal and monthly basis. From these distributions, appropriate figures of fade margin are derived for various percentages of link availability in South Africa.


Thesis (Ph.D.)-University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, 2010.


Rain and rainfall., Radio waves--Attenuation., Theses--Electronic engineering.