Propagation models

This service offers a variety of propagation models for different purposes, all of which are open source so you can examine the algorithms used for your piece of mind. For maximum speed the models are all written in a low level language (C++). Feedback from radio professionals and developers is encouraged to optimise the models where possible.

Model Description Frequency range Source
Irregular Terrain Model (ITM) 'Longley Rice' Model. US Gov. general purpose model used by FCC 20-20,000MHz
Line of Sight (LOS) Simple model for viewing obstructions Any
Okumura-Hata Hata model for cellular communications in urban areas 150-1500MHz
ECC33 (ITU-R P.529) ECC33 model for cellular and microwave communications 700-3500MHz
Stanford University Interim (SUI) SUI model for WIMAX communications 1900-11000MHz
COST231-Hata European COST231 frequency extension to Hata model for urban areas 150-2000MHz
ITU-R P.525 Free Space Path Loss model 20-100,000MHz
ITM with obstructions 3.0 Enhanced ITM general purpose model. The Author says it's better. See for yourself. 20-100,000MHz
Ericsson 9999 Ericsson 9999 model for cellular communications up to 1900MHz 150-1900MHz
Egli VHF/UHF General purpose VHF/UHF model. More conservative than FSPL 30-1000MHz

Find your perfect model

The Signal server engine can be used to demonstrate a model beyond it's stated limits. This is handy when a model is required for a piece of spectrum which falls outside the stated limits of traditional models. Often if it is close to the boundary the legacy model will be just fine as the charts below prove. Model specific frequency and height limits are enforced on the CloudRF API for the sake of accuracy and to avoid errors.

The charts below have all been created with the most conservative 'urban city' variant for each model so represent the maximum path loss, assuming line of sight.


100MHz propagation models


850MHz propagation models


900MHz propagation models


1200MHz propagation models


2400MHz propagation models


3500MHz propagation models


5800MHz propagation models


11000MHz propagation models


60000MHz propagation models

Irregular Terrain Model

This service uses the Irregular Terrain Model version 7, also known as the 'Longley Rice' model.
The ITM model is a long standing general purpose model developed by the US NTIA and used by the FCC which meets most radio engineering requirements for frequencies between 20 MHz and 20 GHz. It is suitable for everything RF from handheld VHF walkie-talkies to SHF microwave links. It factors in electromagnetic theory, terrain features, ground clutter, diffraction and radio measurements to predict the attenuation of a radio signal at a given point on the earth.

With the addition of reliability (time and situations) as a percentage the model can be tuned to be compliant with TSB-10 (Revision F) standards for microwave communications which defines a reliability of 80% for a long term loss and 99% for a short term loss.

Line of Sight (LOS) model

The LOS model is a simpler model well suited to super high frequency microwave links where LOS is key. It factors in terrain data and antenna heights to provide a clear yes/no result. It starts where the ITM model finishes at 20GHz and extends the maximum range up to 100GHz.

Okumura-Hata models

The Hata models were designed for Urban cellular planning which is evident by their focused frequency range (150-1500MHz) and minimum tower elevation of 30m. The model assumes the transmitter is higher than the average height of the rooftops.

COST231-Hata extension

The COST231-Hata model extends the Hata cellular models another 500MHz up to 2000MHz so is well suited to GSM1800 in urban areas.

ITU-R P.525 Free Space Path Loss

The free space model is a very simple model that assumes no obstacles exist between transmitter and receiver. It factors in the frequency and distance. It can be further enhanced with the addition of knife edge diffraction which will factor in terrain obstacles and antenna heights.

ITU-R P.529 ECC33

ECC33 model for cellular and microwave communications covering 700-3500MHz

Egli VHF / UHF

General purpose VHF / UHF model for 30MHz to 1000MHz. It is more conservative than FSPL but more optimistic than Hata/COST.


The Irregular Terrain Model with obstructions 3.0 model is claimed by its author to be an enhancement to the ITM model with improved diffraction scatter and accuracy.

Future models

By popular demand we have added new models and are open to requests for more.

Knife edge diffraction

In their native form, the empirical models (Hata, COST, ITU-R P.525) do not factor in the significant effects of diffraction caused behind obstacles. To accommodate this without the processing overhead associated with recognised complex diffraction theories, a proprietary knife edge diffraction function has been written which simulates modest diffraction, varied by wavelength and the angle of the received point to the obstacle summit.

Signal server

The models listed are implemented in a program called 'Signal server' which is the open source application that powers CloudRF.
It's a modified version of the popular SPLAT! program, written by John Magliacane and used by the FCC, NASA and Engineers worldwide. Signal server is licensed under the GPL so you can download the source code and use it for free.
Signal server on Github