Radios are the brains of the the Radio Access Network. When the antenna receives a signal from a handset, the radio determines what part of the network to pass on the message. Radios also receive signals from the core network to send to handsets, should they be in the cover area. (L) 2G and 3G antennas and radios. The closer the radio is to the antenna, the better the performance of the network. (M) Certain tower styles don’t have the space to have radios placed by the antennas. In such, cases the radios are generally located near the base of the tower. (R) Connections include power, sending and receiving signals for the antennas, and a connection leading to the core network. It is important to remember at some point, all wireless transmissions travel across wires.
Microwave dishes can be used for a range of communication services, including backhaul connections for mobile phone networks. While they can come in different sizes, microwave dishes tend to have a characteristic drum shape. (L) A microwave dish affixed to a structure on Kerr Hall at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada. (M & R) A large number of microwave dishes of various size sit atop a building in Montreal, Canada.