How Stuff Works – Cell Phone Towers

Cell Phone Towers

The cell phone can be a pretty complicated device, to be honest. Yet, the process of communication that happens is certainly a simple and quick one. All you have to do is have a proper understanding of the cell working format. The telecom or cell tower is one of the important things that you need to know about. Worry not, as this exactly what we are going to do in this article.

What Are Telecom Or Cell Towers – A Detailed Understanding

The cell towers or more commonly known telecom towers are the ones that provide the power to the cell phones that are connected worldwide. And trust me, there are many. What happens is that these towers stand high and mighty. They also have certain receivers that are situated on the top.

Cell Phone Towers

These receivers are set for picking up certain signals from the different cell phones. Most people do not know that but these cell towers have an underground connection. That connection is spread over a distance ranging miles.

All these connections tend to form a network of some sort that connects literally everything.

Also known as the cell sites, these towers send signals to the cell phones that we use. As a matter of fact, without the cell towers, it is not possible to send signals. You can think of these towers as a sort of middleman that connects every single thing from your cell phone. Fascinating, right? Read ahead to find out more about these fascinating cell towers.

How Exactly Do They Function

Cell phone towers have multiple functions. These function range from handling calls to the data aspects as well. However, each and every single function has the same pattern of working.

  • The Cellphone or the modem delivers the message to the nearest cell towers. For example, if you make a certain call or log in to any site, the phone that you are using delivers a message to the cell tower with the help of radio. The Antenna array picks up the signal
  • A Fiberoptic line or wire then carries the call or the data down to a particular point of wireless access. These points are connected to a certain switch having multiple ports
  • The particular call, along with various other then gets routed. It is done with the help of an underground wire. Further, the call gets connected to a microwave antenna that is wireless. Some cell towers use an underground connection. Also, there are some that use a wireless connection if the connection underground is bad
  • After that, the call that is incoming, along with the data returns to the backhaul. It then travels through the multi-port switch which is then picked up by the antenna. This signal then hits the phone with the help of a wireless connection
  • The procedure works only if the cell tower is able to establish a proper connection with the phone. In case of movement, the nearest identical cell tower will attempt to transmit the call and the data

Too many steps, right? You will be surprised to know that the entire process takes just a few seconds to actually happen!

Components Of A Cell Tower

There are different components of a cell tower.

  • Structure
  • Equipments
  • Antenna
  • Other Utilities

These components have different functions. We will mention some of the parts below:

Tower Structure

There are many different types associated with the structure of the tower. The structure generally handles providing the much-needed support to the cell tower.

Baseband And RF Equipment

These equipment are categorized into two different types. The indoor equipment and the outdoor equipment. The outdoor equipment are mostly roof mounted. The antenna forms the outdoor equipment. A fact to notice here is that these equipment are interconnected with the help of wire and stuff. Baseband equipment are responsible for providing the interface.


Every cell tower has several antennas as they are an integral part of the entire unit. Different cell towers have different numbers from 3 to 17. The more antennas, the more will be the capacity of the cell tower to hold subscribers.


The other utilities that are a major part of a cell tower are the power supply parts, the AC to DC converter and the UPS. UPS of the cell tower is made to use as the backup supply of power in the times of need for immediate power.

Types Of Cell Phone Towers

Cell phone towers are classified into different types. This classification is done based on their makes and prices. We shall be discussing some of them below.

  • Monopole Tower: The only rule for this tower is that it is single foundation one with a height below 200 ft.

The antennas house in the tower’s exterior

  • Lattice Tower: Ever seen those highway towers on your way? Those 4-sided ones. Now you know what they are called
  • Guyed Tower: The cheaper alternative to the expensive towers. Plus they have a huge coverage area. Mostly used by the radio and the TV stations, these towers make use of the guy wires for the ground connection
  • Camouflaged Tower: They are the expensive ones in the lot and are connected by the process of zoning

Hope by the time you are reading this line, you have gained enough knowledge about cell tower and its working mechanism.


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