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It is well known that impulsive noise may significantly degrade wireless digital communication performance. The authors quantify the BER degradation of W-CDMA signals in the presence of measured impulsive noise interference, and evaluate the performance improvement obtained using adaptive antennas in cellular base stations. The scope of this contribution is two-fold. First, the BER under actual impulsive noise conditions in a single-user situation is estimated by means of Monte Carlo simulations. Then, performance evaluation is made in the presence of MAI in actual impulsive interference scenarios. Shot noise has been modelled as a train of pulses, whose parameters have been obtained from actual data of measurement campaigns in the UMTS band carried out in a typical urban environment. The antenna array has been modelled according to the specifications of a smart antenna prototype under development. Results show that adaptive antennas with beamforming based on the MMSE criteria provide a significant interference energy reduction factor at the array output with respect to a conventional sectored antenna when impulsive noise is present, which straightforwardly implies link quality improvement and system capacity enhancement.