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What cables are used for cell towers?

Traditional cell phone towers use copper coaxial cables. The network feed goes into a base station transceiver, which drives the analog signal up to a tower-mounted amplifier, which connects to a passive antenna via a short coaxial cable. Coaxial cables have high attenuation, so a final antenna driver amplifier is required to provide enough signal to drive the antenna. A base transceiver station has an interface for a digital telephone network fed by cable (usually fiber optic) or a microwave antenna.



Today's towers are moving to digital systems based on fiber optic cables, connected to remote radio units (RRUs, sometimes called RRHs for remote radio heads), which convert digital signals to analog and drive passive antennas over copper coaxial cables. The cables on the towers have fibers and electrical conductors, usually inside an armor jacket. The baseband unit (BBU) is connected to the telecommunications network via fiber optic cables or sometimes microwave antennas.



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