This tower is located on the campus of my wife's employer. She's asked around but no one seems to know the purpose of it. Does anyone have any idea what this may be used for?

Edited to add Additional Information:

This tower is located on a corporate campus in Naperville, IL, USA. The entire complex is fenced and secure.


Edited to add additional information: All the cell towers we have around here look similar to these, with these types of antenna arrays. There are no others that just have 3 verticals, so I hesitate to accept "cell tower" as the correct answer.

Cell Tower Multi-Cell Tower

  • $\begingroup$ In that top picture you don't show enough detail to conclude that those are verticals. They could easily (and more likely) be radome enclosures with more complex antennas inside. $\endgroup$ – SDsolar Apr 18 '18 at 5:24

That's a typical cell phone tower. The 3 antennas are phased so that they can change direction when receiving.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ ha, close to a collission. Here, have my upvote! $\endgroup$ – Marcus Müller Oct 2 '17 at 22:12
  • $\begingroup$ @MikeWaters Please see the additional pics and info I added to the question regarding cell phone towers in my area. $\endgroup$ – Lance Oct 13 '17 at 1:15
  • $\begingroup$ @Lance are those all cell towers? $\endgroup$ – Mike Waters Oct 13 '17 at 19:05
  • $\begingroup$ @MikeWaters Yes, they are. All the cell towers around here are similar. Some have just one array and some have many, but all the arrays are similar in style. $\endgroup$ – Lance Oct 13 '17 at 20:04

The picture isn't of sufficient quality to say for sure, we would need a better closeup of the cabinets and antenna elements to say with any kind of confidence. Also without knowing the country and region where it is situated, it would be hard to compare to what existing operators use for what in said region.

Based on the image alone however I would say it is unlikely to be a cell phone tower, especially an LTE one.

The antenna elements appear to be omni-directional pole antenna, both from the shape and the mounting structure, which are practically never used in modern cell-phone installations.

If the antenna were in fact very slim sectorized antenna, that would indicate a high frequency (1.8Ghz+) system. Given the height of the tower (>=25 metres), a mast head amplifier (MHAs) or remote radio head (RRHs) would normally be used for high frequency cell sites as you would lose a third to a half of the signal in the cabling. Again this could be due to distance the photo was taken at, but there are no visible MHAs or RRUs in the image.

The microwave dish does however suggest a multi-site or cellular system.

My guess would be smart metering system, emergency services radio (e.g. TETRA), or some form of private communications such as on-site walkie talkies (e.g. PBR), fire alarm systems, etc. Could also be a very old cellular paging system.

Regardless, a close-up picture of the cabinets at the bottom would tell us a lot more.


It's kind of hard to make out on the picture, but it looks like there's something dish-y on the right: So that's very likely a microwave point-to-point link. That might be used as some cellular network's backhaul, for some intra-company communication, video stream, basically anything that has reasonably high rate.

I favor the cellular backhaul theory, since a) that is very common, and b) the box at the bottom of the tower looks reasonably much like a enodeB box I know from LTE installations. Con is the lack of good fence.

The three poles are probably multi-antenna elements that actually do the up- and downlink between user equipment and base station.

  • $\begingroup$ Apparently in its past, there were more dish-y things on it. $\endgroup$ – Lance Oct 8 '17 at 20:21

The three antennas at the top are definitely a phased array.

Likely this is a cell tower, but I've seen airport radar towers that are similar as well.


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