The frequency of a radio wave is the number of wave cycles it generates in one second. It is calculated by dividing the velocity of the radio wave (speed of light, c =299 792 458 m/s) by wavelength (λ). Wavelength is the length of one full wave in metres. Mathematically, Frequency = f = c/λ. The frequency is expressed in “per second” or “Hertz”, abbreviated as Hz. In real life networks, the frequency is expressed in Megahertz (MHz) or Gigahertz (GHz).
Radio Frequency Calculator
Mobile cellular networks communicate with mobile phones through radio waves. Irrespective of which technology is being used, e.g. 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) or 5G NR (New Radio), once the mobile signal is ready to be sent from the antennas of a mobile network to the mobile phones, it is transmitted in the air interface in the form of electromagnetic radiations. These radiations are sent at specific frequencies in a highly controlled way to ensure that they do not interfere with other radio waves that may be operating at similar frequencies.
Mobile cellular networks communicate with mobile phones through radio waves. Irrespective of which technology is being used, e.g. 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) or 5G NR (New Radio), once the mobile signal is ready to be sent from the antennas of a mobile network to the mobile phones, it is transmitted in the air interface in the form of electromagnetic radiations. These radiations are sent at very specific frequencies in a highly controlled way to ensure that they do not interfere with other radio waves that may be operating at similar frequencies. If you look at the highly simplified diagram below, you may note that there is a link between the base station of a 4G LTE network and a mobile phone that is receiving the 4G signal. This link is the radio wave that operates between the network and the mobile phone at certain frequencies. The frequencies employed by GSM networks were in the order of 890 MHz and upwards. The latest 5G networks use frequencies in different bands, including the sub 1G Hz band as well as high bands like 6 GHz+.
Radio waves travel through the air at the speed of light, which is 3 x 108 metres per second or 299 792 458 meters per second, to be exact. It means that a radio wave can cover almost 300 million meters or 300 thousand kilometres in one second, which is quick. However, when radio waves are deployed in mobile networks, the coverage range of a regular radio base station, called a macro base station, is in tens of kilometres. The range of a radio wave depends on many factors, including transmission power.
The formula for calculating the frequency of a radio wave:
Frequency = f = c/λ;
where λ is the wavelength in metres and c = 299792458 m/s.
Wavelength (λ) is the length of one complete wave cycle from start to finish. It is the distance between the start and end of the cycle and is expressed in metres. If you are using our frequency calculator above, you can enter a value in metres, e.g. 2m and the calculator will give you a value in Hertz (cycles per second) for theoretical reasons and in megahertz (MHz) for more real-life situations.
Here are some helpful downloads
Thank you for reading this post, I hope it helped you in developing a better understanding of cellular networks. Sometimes, we need some extra support especially when preparing for a new job, or studying a new topic, or maybe just buying a new phone. Whatever you are trying to do, here are some downloads that can help you:
Students & fresh graduates: If you are just starting, the complexity of the cellular industry can be a bit overwhelming. But don’t worry, I have created this FREE ebook so you can familiarise yourself with the basics like 3G, 4G etc. As a next step, check out the latest edition of the same ebook with more details on 4G & 5G networks with diagrams. You can then read Mobile Networks Made Easy which explains the network nodes e.g. BTS, MSC, GGSN etc.
Professionals: If you are an experienced professional but new to mobile communications, it may seem hard to compete with someone who has a decade of experience in the cellular industry. But not everyone who works in this industry is always up to date on the bigger picture and the challenges considering how quickly the industry evolves. The bigger picture comes from experience which is why I’ve carefully put together a few slides to get you started in no time. So if work in sales, marketing, product, project or any other area of business where you need a high-level view, Introduction to Mobile Communications can give you a quick start. Also, here are some templates to help you prepare your own slides on product overview and product roadmap.