Tropospheric Ducting

How this weather phenomenon can impact your Peoples service.

We like to believe technology is immune to things such as the weather… but that’s simply not the case. There are times when natural phenomenon interferes with telecommunication signals – and one of those is called tropospheric ducting.

When ducting is occurring, you may also notice that your favorite FM radio station will not come in clearly or you pick up a different station altogether, that is many miles away, on the same channel. We realize blaming these issues on weather may just sound like an excuse, but, it’s very real and extremely frustrating for us as well.

Defining Tropospheric Ducting

Mother Nature is to blame for tropospheric ducting.

Normally, the higher you go into the atmosphere, the colder the air is. However, high pressure can cause a temperature inversion, a layer of air at a higher temperature than the layer below it, causing radio waves to bounce back towards the ground and up again. The inversion creates a duct for signals to travel along that can distort or prevent signals from propagating correctly.

When does this happen?

It is hard to estimate the timing and length of tropospheric ducting episodes. It often appears at the same time on consecutive days and then can disappear for several months at a time. While it can happen any time of year, it usually is most noticeable in spring, summer and fall when hot days are followed by rapidly cooling nights. While tropospheric events will typically occur at predictable schedules, it is weather-dependent and hence can occur at any time although it is noticed more frequently in the morning when the air hasn’t had a chance to warm up yet. But it can last for several hours, or it can last through the whole day, all depending on the weather conditions.

What can you do to fix it?

Unfortunately nothing. We have to wait for the weather pattern to change so atmospheric conditions return to normal. As long as seasons change, interference from tropospheric ducting will occur and degrade network performance.

Your Peoples Service & Ducting

Why am I experiencing ducting when other Peoples customers are not?

Our Peoples wireless broadband is provided over several different technologies and frequencies. Your current broadband connection is provided over an LTE 2.5 frequency which can be susceptible to ducting when other frequencies are not.

Why am I on LTE 2.5 service if Peoples offers an alternative that doesn’t experience ducting?

LTE 2.5 offers the ability to connect homes at a greater distance from the tower. This technology also allows for connection without “line of sight” which means the signal can penetrate through trees and other obstacles. In other words, the stronger signal helps reach your location but unfortunately that stronger signal is susceptible to weather related tropospheric ducting.

Can Peoples provide my service via another technology/frequency?

Possibly… At times there are neighboring towers with alternative technologies that might reach you location however they often require a “line of sight” connection. To discuss potential options, contact our office at (903) 763-2214 to submit your order.