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This paper analyzes the interference of lightning flashes with wireless communication systems operating in the microwave band at 2.4 GHz. A bit error rate (BER) measurement method was used to evaluate BER during 3 heavy thunderstorms on January 25, March 17 and March 20, all in year 2011. In addition, BER measurements also were done on January 21 and March 30, 2011 under fair weather (FW) conditions providing a baseline for comparison. The Transmitter-Receiver separation was fixed at 10 meter with line-of-sight (LOS) consideration. We infer that lightning interfered with the transmitted digital pulses which resulted in a higher recorded BER. The maximum recorded BER was 9.9·10-1 and the average recorded BER was 9.95·10-3 during the thunderstorms with the average fair weather BER values under the influence of adjacent channel interference (ACI) and co-channel interference (CCI) being 1.75·10-5 and 7.35·10-6 respectively. We conclude that wireless communication systems operating at 2.4 GHz microwave frequency can be significantly interfered by lightning.
Date of Conference: 2-7 Sept. 2012