DIY clutter for radio planning

In this video, a Port in west Africa poorly served by high resolution data is enhanced with DIY clutter. The result shows substantial attenuation from the shipping containers which due to their dynamic nature would not be current in commercial data.

Summary

High quality clutter data is necessary for accurate radio planning but it's not always available when and where you need it.
Using the new 'My clutter' feature at CloudRF you can define your own and use it in seconds.
The data can be layered on top of existing data, regardless of resolution, to enhance accuracy with material attenuation conforming to ITU standards for forests.

Clutter data

Clutter data in modelling refers to objects on the earth's surface. In radio this is typically buildings and trees which attenuate signals. These must be factored in to deliver accurate predictions.
It's normally very expensive and the market for this data is worth billions due to demand by global telecommunications firms. This puts it out of reach of most small businesses and organisations.

Material attenuation

Different materials attenuate RF in different ways. The impact depends upon the wavelength (eg. WiFi can't go through thick walls) and the material (concrete absorbs more RF than wood).
For more on this subject see the land cover blog here.

How

Use the form in the 'Model' menu to either define your own polygons and lines or upload your own bulk clutter as a KML file containing polygons.

Why

Here's a few reasons why DIY clutter is necessary:

  • Based on market pricing it would cost over a billion dollars to purchase 'commercial' clutter data for the earth.
  • Based on experience, the lead time for clutter in Africa can be 6 weeks.
  • The expensive clutter data is out of date by the time you buy it. Shipping containers, construction, transport will change and they affect RF coverage.
  • Commercial clutter data doesn't let you model future construction projects eg. a new building