Link Budget

Cellular system planning is either coverage of capacity driven. Initially, an operator attempts to cover the service area as good as possible with only a limited number of base stations. His main concern is that the signal-to-noise ratio is sufficient at each location. The link budget is a kind of "balance sheet" to select the system parameters Interference is not yet limiting the system performance.

In a latter phase when more subscribers are using the system, the operator typically attempts to improve capacity by adding more base stations. The grid of base stations becomes denser and signal-to-noise ratio is no longer limiting the performance. Co-channel and adjacent channel interference become more of concern.

GSM link budget calculator

This page allows you to calculate the link budget for a the uplink in a GSM (or GSM-like) network. Pathloss is computed using the Egli model. Default system parameter are similar to the GSM specs, however, we choose a handheld used indoor with a cell radius of 30 km. Typically, GSM only covers handheld indoor subscriber that are quite close to the base station.

Input parameters:

Carrier Frequency: MHz
MS tx power: watt
MS tx ant gain: dB
MS tx ant height: meter
Cell size: meter
Shadow margin: dB
Rayleigh margin: dB
Indoor loss: dB
Interference degradation margin: dB
BS rx ant height: meter
BS rx ant gain: dB
BS rx ant cable loss: dB
BS rx sensitivity: dBm

Run calculation:


Plannings Margin dBm


JPL's Wireless Communication Reference Website Jean-Paul M.G. Linnartz, 1997.

Disclaimer: executable software is provided without any guarantee whatsoever. See License.