Understanding RF and Cellular: Workshop and Certification

MONDAY, JUNE 1 - 10:00 am - 5:00 pm 

This workshop has no prerequisites.

PLEASE NOTE: The Understanding RF and Cellular Workshop is not included in your Conference Pass. Please select it when you register. Workshop price: $400, includes lunch.


You should attend the TIA / RF Academics Workshop on Understanding RF and Cellular if:

  • You have little or no cellular or RF background but need it for your position
  • You want to revive your knowledge of RF fundamentals and keep up with current trends
  • You have RF knowledge and want to learn about cell site design, analysis and measurements.

See an interview with the workshop presenters at this link.    See the workshop content at this link.

For wireless communication of any form, Radio Frequency (RF) is the medium. Anyone in the industry needs to understand RF and how our surroundings affect its behavior. When it comes to modern cellular systems, numerous technological developments affect its deployment and the business ecosystem. 

Start off your week at TIA's Network of the Future Conference with an intensive one-day course teaching the key technical features of all generations of cellular technologies after learning basic RF principles. Interested in what 5G is about? While there is no clear definition of 5G yet, you'll get an idea of capacity, coverage and connectivity now under discussion in the industry.

After reviewing current practices in the industry around macro cell sites, we'll study how cell sites are designed; the hardware components at a typical cell site; and the RF measurements necessary to maintain integrity of a cellular network.


Dr. Rikin Thakker is an Assistant Research Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP). He has over 15 years of experience in the field of cellular and wireless communications. He has helped design, deploy and maintain cell sites with 3G and 4G technologies for major cellular operators in the United States. Before joining the university full time, he was working for CommScope as an Engineering Manager for their Active Wireless Products group. He also serves as a Senior Advisor and an Instructor for RF Academics – an initiative started by a group of elite professors to cater to industry's need of quality education at corporate speed.

Dr. Thakker earned his M.S. in Telecommunications from UMCP and his Ph.D. in Systems Engineering from the George Washington University. His research tried to validate the "spectrum scarcity" notion by modeling the wireless ecosystem using System Dynamics techniques. His research interests include efficient spectrum management techniques, interference analysis and optimal allocation of spectrum, design of cell sites by employing co-siting techniques, in-building wireless capacity and coverage optimization, and system dynamics.

Dr. Thakker has designed several graduate level courses related to Cellular Network Infrastructure, Wi-Fi Technologies and DAS/Small Cells for the Masters in Telecommunication program at UMCP. He received Instructor of the Year award for the program in 2014. He also serves on the Editorial Review Board for the International Journal of System Dynamics Application (IJSDA).

Dr. Michael Dellomo is currently Associate Director of the Masters in Telecommunications Program at the University of Maryland. He was an Assistant Professor at SUNY Binghamton from 1984-1988. He then joined the MITRE Corporation, working on advanced signal processing and communications problems for naval contracts. During this time, he also taught courses at several colleges and universities in the Washington area.

In 1995, he left MITRE to work at Radio Dynamics Corporation where he later became CTO and VP of Research. There, he continued signal processing research, now aimed specifically at the commercial telecommunications market. He developed algorithms to optimize relocation strategies for emerging cellular companies in the late 1990s.

Dr. Dellomo joined the University of Maryland, College Park in 1998 and became an Assistant Research Professor. There, he created several graduate level courses for the Masters in Telecommunications program. He is now the Associate Director and Student Advisor to the program, and also a Scientific Development Officer for the Norbert Wiener Center at the University of Maryland since its inception in 2006.

He has worked on several DARPA grants, Multi-University Research Initiatives, and Maryland Industrial Partnership grants. He continues to conduct research on communications and RF processing using new and emerging technologies. He also continues to teach masters level telecommunications courses and received the inaugural Instructor of the Year award for the Telecom program in 2011.


"Every technology we have today has to overcome the problems created by the wireless channel," said Dr. Michael Dellomo of RF Academics. They will present the Understanding RF and Cellular Workshop at TIA 2015, Network of the Future on June 1 in Dallas.



Fundamentals of RF Communications

  • Basic Cellular Principles
  • Basic RF Principles
  • Basic Setup of a Macro Cell Site
  • RF Communication Systems
  • RF Propagation Characteristics
  • Path Loss and Loss Models
  • Losses and Gains
  • Link Budget Analysis

Evolution of Cellular Technologies

  • International Standardization – ITU, FCC, 3GPP
  • Introduction of Cellular Technologies
  • 2G overview (GSM/IS95)
  • 3G evolution (WCDMA/UMTS,CDMA2000)
  • 4G Long Term Evolution (WiMAX, LTE)
  • LTE-A and Beyond
  • 5G Considerations

Spectrum Assignment

  • Cellular Bands in the U.S.: 850 MHz, PCS, AWS, 700 MHz
  • Utilization and Demand of Spectrum
  • Spectrum Scarcity and Mobile Data Demand
  • Other bands on the horizon
  • Spectrum Vs Technology
  • Cell Site Components
  • RF Plumbing Diagram

Cellular Infrastructure and Design

  • RF Path Design of a Cell Site
  • Types of Base Stations: BTS, NodeB, eNodeB
  • Co-Siting Techniques
  • Cell Site Components
  • Learn to draw and analyze RF Plumbing Diagram
  • Learn to analyze an RF Data Sheet
  • Cell Site Troubleshooting
  • RF Measurements at a Cell Site
  • Line Sweep Fundamentals
  • Return Loss and VSWR
  • Insertion Loss
  • Gain Measurement

PIM (Passive InterModulation)

  • What is PIM?
  • Importance of PIM measurement
  • How to measure PIM