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Rooftop and Existing Structures

Rooftop Tower StructuresTESSCO is Your Total Source® for Rooftop & Existing Structure solutions. The rapid spread of wireless networks has created the need for mounting to structures beyond towers and monopoles. A rooftop is often an ideal location, especially in suburban and urban areas. TESSCO offers a wide variety of mounting and cable support options for rooftops and other existing structures.

Careful Considerations When Leveraging a Rooftop Layout

The rooftop is often an ideal location for a wireless network installation, especially in suburban and urban areas. Rooftops can provide the height required for proper operation, without the necessity of erecting a tower or monopole in areas with difficult zoning requirements. Installing telecom equipment on rooftops is usually much more cost effective than erecting a traditional tower. Despite the benefits of a rooftop, careful consideration needs to be given to regulatory compliance, structural impact, grounding and weather. In most counties and cities across the country, the mounting of antennas and related telecommunication equipment requires compliance with building and safety regulations. The rooftop installation must also comply with all applicable standards and regulations, including, but not limited to, the Uniform Building Code (UBC), the National Electrical Code (NEC), and those established by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Before leveraging the rooftop for equipment placement, structural checks must be made to ascertain the capability of a chosen roof to withstand the additional load being imposed on it by the structure and the antenna arrays it will support. All roof-mounted masts or towers must be certified by the building's structural engineer before installations. As a general rule, roof mounts should be limited to lightweight structures of low heights and support minimal dead and dynamic loads. Roof mounts can be installed in the penetrating or non-penetrating modes, and can be self support or guyed. However, non-penetrating roof mounts are most suitable for flat surfaces.

Bonding and grounding is critical to ensure the life of your rooftop equipment. "All roof-mounted antenna masts and metal support structures shall be grounded" (Earthed) (NFPA 70-2005, Article810.15). Typical to new construction, a grounding point, or multiple grounding points, with at least two direct connections to the building's grounding electrode system, will be provided. If a lighting protection system is installed on the building, roof-mounted antenna masts and structures will need to be bonded accordingly. If a lightning protection system is not available, roof-mounted antenna masts and metal support structures should be grounded by directly bonding them to the building's grounding electrode system.

Weather can prove disastrous to rooftop equipment. Mounting hardware should take into consideration the wind speeds and ice loads for your area. To maintain optimum system performance and avoid unnecessary HVAC costs, it is important to keep communications sites weather tight. When necessary to take cable inside or out, entry plates should be used, as well as a cable boots. It is recommended to use cable boots even if the cable is run through conduit. This practice will also keep rodents and insects out of your building.

Often considered the preferred choice for wireless equipment, a rooftop offers many advantages. Before proceeding, it is important to consult a person or company with experience in rooftop installations. Doing so will ensure compliance and a wireless system free of hassle.