Survey of Available Experimental Data of Radio Wave Propagation for Wireless Transmission

Tapan K. Sarkar, Mohammad Najib Abdallah, Magdalena Salazar-Palma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


This paper provides a survey of various experimental data available on the value of the propagation path loss of radio waves in a cellular wireless environment. It is shown starting with the Okumura et al.'s paper on propagation measurements and other available published experimental data that they all exhibit that the electric field varies as \rho ^{-1.5} within a cellular radius of a few kilometers, where \rho is the radial distance of the receiving antenna from the transmitting one. This decay in the fields is equivalent to a propagation loss of -9 dB/octave or -30 dB for a decade of the distance. This value is independent of the nature of the ground, whether it be composed of rural, urban, suburban, or water. This is the first time it is stated that the propagation path loss due to the presence of ground generates a path loss of 90 dB when the signals travel a distance of 1 km. This value is rather large when compared to a loss of 30-50 dB produced by buildings, trees, and similar artifacts. Therefore, the experimental data indicate that the effect of trees and buildings have a secondary influence on the decay of the electric field with distance, the dominant one is the propagation loss over an imperfect ground. Contemporary propagation models do not acknowledge this fact. Outside the cellular radius of a few kilometers, the path loss appears to be 12 dB/octave or 40 dB/decade of distance. In a companion paper, it will be demonstrated that the values for the path loss can be explained from an analytical standpoint without taking recourse to statistics which involves a lot of assumptions on the functional variation of the variables of interest.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8509598
Pages (from-to)6662-6672
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2018


  • Cellular radio wave propagation
  • experimental data for radio waves
  • path-loss exponent

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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