Six Considerations for Your Next Tower Purchase

Tina Furlan

May 30, 2024

Six Considerations for Your Next Tower Purchase

Tower climbers are the backbone of telecom operations, managing installations, operations, and maintenance of telecom systems at great heights. Their work is crucial for keeping networks running smoothly. This article highlights key considerations for selecting towers and staying competitive this tower season.

Tower Height

When planning tower installations, it is essential to consider regulations concerning tower heights and stability while maximizing the tower’s utility. Municipal bylaws, government regulations, and proximity to sensitive areas, such as military installations, can significantly impact decision-making. Additionally, consider the tower’s ability to accommodate future technologies, the necessity of lights or climbing shields, and safety approvals. Interference with surrounding towers is also a critical factor.


In Canada, tower height regulations are governed by local building codes, zoning bylaws, and federal regulations. For instance, in Ontario, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing provides guidelines for telecommunication towers in the Ontario Building Code, covering setback distances, height restrictions, and safety requirements. To find specific regulations, consult local municipal zoning bylaws or building code regulations and federal aviation safety regulations administered by Transport Canada.

Site Assessment & Terrain

Evaluating terrain and surrounding obstacles is crucial when choosing a tower type. Key considerations include:

  • Soil Conditions: The soil composition can impact the choice of tower. Specialized foundation designs may be required for swampy or marshy land, while areas with bedrock may need drilling or blasting, increasing time and cost.

  • Underground Utilities: Identify and consider the location of underground utilities to avoid costly damages and delays. Coordination with utility companies and thorough site surveys are necessary.

  • Positioning for Line of Sight: Minimize signal interference by considering the height of surrounding obstacles, improving signal strength and coverage.

  • Non-Line of Sight and Site-Specific Concerns: In urban or densely populated areas, alternative tower types, such as monopoles or rooftop towers, may be more suitable.

  • Proximity: Consider potential interference when placing your tower near another tower, military base, or airport.

Ease of Installation

Evaluate how quickly and efficiently a tower can be raised and lowered. Consider the additional equipment needed and its accessibility for climbers. Always follow the instructions carefully.

Real Life Scenario

TDL Gentek has assisted with numerous installations. For example, a customer installed a self-supporting tower but realized the base stubs were installed incorrectly, requiring a costly and time-consuming restart. To avoid such errors, TDL Gentek provides access to tower manufacturers' engineers for site assessment and installation guidance.

Weight & Wind Loads

Assess the weight of the equipment and wind load when evaluating tower loads. Consider the longevity of the equipment and whether the current tower can support future upgrades. For example, Tarana Wireless equipment is heavier than Ubiquiti UISP airMax Litebeam, making it crucial to understand the loads and limits for structural integrity. With increasing storm frequency and intensity, ensure towers can withstand harsh elements.

Is it Safe to Climb?

Ensure easy and safe access to the tower with all necessary gear during installation. Proper installation is crucial, including checking for guy wires, inspecting for dents or damage, and ensuring everything is level and plumb. Avoid shortcuts and ensure thorough inspections for safety.

Understanding the Types of Towers

WISPs (Wireless Internet Service Providers) use various towers depending on coverage area, terrain, and budget. Common types include:

  • Self-Supporting Towers: Freestanding structures ideal for limited space areas.

  • Guyed Towers: Supported by guy wires, cost-effective for taller installations in open areas.

  • Monopoles: Slim, vertical poles used in urban or suburban areas where aesthetics matter.

  • Lattice Towers: Steel frameworks suitable for various installations, often used in rural areas.

  • Rooftop Towers: Installed on building roofs, ideal for urban areas with limited space.

Each tower type has its advantages and disadvantages, depending on the WISP's network deployment needs.

Ready to streamline your network expansion efforts? Contact us today for expert advice on selecting the right tower equipment for your next installation. Our team is here to help you stay competitive and optimize both time and cost in your tower installations.

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