Signal Attenuation Explained and How to Prevent It

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Signal attenuation in networking means signal loss. It is the weakening or loss of signal strength during transmission. This is a natural consequence of signal transmission over long distances. The farther a signal wavelength travels, the smaller the amplitude becomes, therefore the weaker. This applies to both wired and wireless transmissions and applies to both analog and digital signals.

Other than distance, there are a few causes of signal attenuation:

  • Long cabling – Over a long distance, transmitted signals slowly lose strength.
  • Wire size – Thin wires experience more attenuation than thicker wires because they are more vulnerable to external interferences.
  • Noise – Adjacent wires can cause electromagnetic interferences. The higher the noise, the higher the attenuation.
  • Defective connectors and conductors – Poorly installed connectors and conductors lead to attenuation.

If the attenuation increases, then the quality of connectivity gets distorted or lost completely.


Proactively preventing signal attenuation

Technicians and operators alike must understand the signal attenuation of coax cabling and fiber-optic cabling they are installing. Calculating, measuring and testing the signal attenuation for the cabling at the point of installation helps prevent issues right away. The worst case is signal power loss due to attenuation becoming so low that the system loses connectivity to the network gateway. This in turn creates unhappy customers and bigger time and money issues for operators.

The amount of loss over coax cable depends on the type of cabling, the distance it is covering, and the frequency of the radio signal. While signal attenuation is common, it is important to get the measurement levels right at install. Signal attenuation is measured in decibels (dB) per unit distance.

The Hitron CGN-DP3 wireless DOCSIS 3.1 meter is a multi-tool that performs all of the major tests required by a field technician in order to accurately and efficiently troubleshoot issues inside and outside of the home. The CGN-DP3 should be used with the ProMeter App in order to get the maximum benefits from the device. Such as visual representation of diagnostic and measurement results and features like:

  • Signal loss calculator
  • Pressure tester
  • Identifying signal noise
  • Spectrum analysis
  • Channel scan
  • Ingress
  • DOCSIS and more.

When paired with Hitron’s other offerings of full-home networking tools like the signal meter (CSN-01), it creates a very powerful suite of tools that provides cost savings, time savings, efficiencies, and standardized measurements with minimal training needed. Empower your technicians to troubleshoot the whole home with Hitron’s Whole Home Certification testing tools at a fraction of the cost of other solutions.

Contact us to get started today.

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