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Determining RF Coverage in Criminal Cases

By Richard Miletic

In criminal cases certain techniques are used to determine the location of a mobile phone at the time of a crime. This article explains new methods of figuring out radio frequency (RF) coverage with a high degree of accuracy in order to establish the location of the phone in relation to the serving cell site at the time of the incident.

In order to determine the location of the mobile phone, a subpoena is served upon the cellular network service operator. The service operator provides Call Detail Records (CDRs) and Cell Site Location Information (CSLI) for a certain time period for a specific mobile phone number and a list of the cell sites in the general area. Serving cell sites are the sites that the cellphone was connected to during the calls. Among other things, the CDR and CSLI include cell site ID information that indicates which cell was handling the call. This is how the location of the phone is matched to the location of the cell site. The problem with this is that the phone ca

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