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Propagation data requirements for radiocommunications system planning

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It is neither economically realistic nor spectrally efficient to engineer a radio communications system to the extent that it can be guaranteed to work for 100 percent of the time, and realistic allowances have to be made for equipment failures, propagation problems, and interference. When planning a system it is therefore necessary to have design targets for the maximum percentages of time for which the circuit may be interrupted, or its error performance degraded. The amount of time for which a degraded level of service can be accepted is dependent on the particular application. High-grade telecommunications systems are very tightly specified in this respect, typically needing to be fully operational for all but few hundredths of a per cent of the time. Even local access radio systems generally need to work to 99.99 percent of the time, or better. Broadcasting is more tolerant, with perhaps 0.1 percent of time being allowed for interruptions. However, mobile networks, which live in an interference-dominated environment in which performance is statistically less certain, are normally designed for median conditions and are not so concerned about the smaller time percentages.

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