PIM Testers detect when two or more nonlinear singles mix, which can cause major problems within a network. This mixing of signals can be the result of contamination, corrosion, and poorly torqued RF connections, which results in nonlinear junctions. This is a serious issue for cellular operators. Network reliability, data rate, capacity, and return on investment are all at stake when PIM issues arise.
What Is Passive Intermodulation?
Passive Intermodulation, or PIM, is the problem that arises when two or more signals mix. This causes a drop in quality of a service or a network’s capability. Loose contact between inconsistent metal surfaces channeling a current causes PIM. The result is a non-linear current relationship that leads to an imbalance between applied voltage and the current flow. This imbalance generates intermodulation. When intermodulation is generated, it interacts with RF transmissions by producing a multitude of new signals interfering with intentional RF signals.
Who Uses A PIM Tester?
Technicians in the telecommunications, aerospace, and industrial power fields commonly rent PIM testing equipment to determine the source of network performance failure. PIM interference decreases cellular system capacity, reduces the rate of data transmission, and leads to an increase in the risk of dropped calls. Modern systems like LTE, CDMA, and MTS are especially vulnerable. Carriers like Verizon and AT&T have subsequently integrated PIM testing as an essential element of the telecom infrastructure. Companies and government agencies often seek out PIM testing equipment which fulfill testing requirements like IEC 62037.
Signs & Causes of PIM
There are many telltale signs of PIM. These signs include problems such as high noise floors, higher dropped call rates, and lower data rates. Receive noise floor diversity imbalance, shorter average call duration, and lower call volume are also indicators of PIM. When a network is having these issues, it is time to complete the process of PIM testing.
Some causes of PIM are as follows: mechanical considerations, tunneling effects, rusty bolt effects, ferromagnetic materials, surface effects time dependency of PIM sources, component or connector issues, damaged cables, antenna problems, and lightning arrestors. Nearby corrosion, metallic contact, and fritting can also cause PIM. Watching out for these signs and being aware of their potential causes will indicate to field personnel whether PIM testing and corrective action is necessary. When deciding on what PIM analyzer to get, it is important to note that there are several options.
Functions of a PIM Analyzer
PIM testers analyze and detect problems within a network. The right testing method depends on the perceived problem, but there are multiple testing options that a PIM tester can complete in the field. Several test types include as follows:
- PIM vs. Time
- Swept PIM
- Distance-to-PIM (DTP)
- Noise Floor
- Return Loss / VSWR
- Cable Loss
- Distance-to-Fault (DTF)
PIM Tester Options
Finding the right PIM tester has never been easier. ATEC’s rentals are both affordable and efficient. Most PIM analyzers are portable and compact. This quality helps technicians in the field as they can conveniently and easily bring the equipment with them anywhere that they go. The PIM test equipment that ATEC provides to renters is from industry leaders like Kaelus and Anritsu.