VB Antennas outlines some key points to consider when selecting the right antenna for your application, highlighting how the company can provide valuable assistance.
When selecting an antenna, there are several key factors to consider to ensure it meets your specific requirements. A wide range of antennas are available and the importance of antenna selection cannot be overstated. Making the wrong choice in terms of antenna type for your communication equipment can have serious consequences, resulting in signal transmission and reception losses. Environmental conditions should also be considered when selecting appropriate antennas. Antennas that are not designed to withstand the physical environment may detach from surfaces or fail altogether. Thus, determining the most suitable antenna for your needs can be challenging. To assist you in this process, here are 7 key considerations when selecting an antenna, along with how VB Antennas provides valuable assistance to our customers.
Frequency: The frequency of an antenna refers to the specific rate at which it transmits or receives electromagnetic waves and determines the type of signals it can effectively handle. Antennas are designed to operate at specific frequencies or frequency ranges. Different types of antennas are optimized for specific frequency bands, such as FM (frequency modulation) radio, SHF (L, S and C Band), television, mobile communications (e.g., 4G, 5G), Wi-Fi, and satellite communication. Each frequency band requires a specific antenna design to efficiently transmit or receive signals at that particular frequency.
Frequency bandwidth: Antennas are specifically engineered to operate optimally within a designated band or range of frequencies. The bandwidth (frequency range) of an antenna denotes the range of frequencies where the antenna meets specific parameter specifications. These parameters typically include gain, radiation pattern, and VSWR (Voltage Standing Wave Ratio). Among these, VSWR is commonly utilized as the parameter for assessing bandwidth, leading to the term “impedance bandwidth” to describe this particular frequency range.
VSWR: The Voltage Standing Wave Ratio (VSWR) provides the degree of impedance matching between the antenna and the radio or transmission line to which it is connected and it represents the amount of power reflected from the antenna. The smaller the VSWR the lower the loss between antenna and the transmission line, resulting in increased power through the antenna. VSWR values span from 1 to infinity. A VSWR value of 2 or less is generally deemed appropriate for the majority of antenna applications. A VSWR of 1:1 means that there is no reflected power and thus the industry adopted VSWR specification is 2:1, which signifies that there is a maximum 11% power reflected.
Gain: The gain of an antenna refers to its ability to direct or focus the transmitted or received electromagnetic energy in a particular direction compared to an isotropic radiator (a theoretical point source that radiates energy uniformly in all directions). It quantifies how much power is concentrated in a specific direction, typically measured in decibels (dBi). A higher gain value indicates a more focused or directive antenna that can transmit or receive signals more efficiently in the desired direction. Although greater power may appear attractive, higher gain does not necessarily indicate superiority. The effectiveness of an antenna depends on various factors, such as the specific application or the installation location.
Radiation Pattern: The radiation pattern of an antenna refers to the spatial distribution of electromagnetic energy radiated or received by the antenna. The radiation pattern provides valuable information about the antenna’s directional properties. It indicates the antenna’s sensitivity and the direction of maximum radiation or reception. An antenna can have either a directional or omni-directional radiation pattern. An omnidirectional antenna is designed to radiate and receive energy effectively in all horizontal directions. Conversely, a directional (or Sector) antenna has the capability to concentrate energy in a specific direction. Omni-directional antennas are most suitable for applications that demand comprehensive coverage in all directions. However, there are situations where all-round coverage is unnecessary or where focusing the antenna’s energy in a specific direction using a Sector antenna is desirable. In such cases, the choice of antenna will be determined by these specific requirements.
Mounting Styles: Mounting refers to the process of physically installing or attaching an antenna to a structure or support system. The mounting method and location are crucial factors that can greatly impact the performance of the antenna. The choice of mounting depends on various factors such as the type of antenna, the desired coverage area, the installation environment, and the specific application requirements. There are different mounting options such as:
- Roof Mount: Antennas can be mounted on rooftops, either using brackets or mast systems;
- Wall Mount: Antennas can be mounted directly on walls or vertical surfaces using brackets or specialized mounts;
- Ground Mount: Antennas can be installed directly on the ground using ground plane mounts or ground stakes.
Correct antenna mounting is crucial for optimizing antenna performance, minimizing signal degradation, and ensuring stability. Factors such as antenna height, orientation, and the presence of nearby obstacles should be considered during the mounting process to achieve the desired coverage and signal strength for the given application.
Placement: The placement of an antenna depends on several factors, including the type of antenna, the intended purpose, and the surrounding environment, such as height, clear Line of Sight, avoid Interference, orientation, grounding, and regulations. It is noted that, antennas can be designed for either indoor or outdoor use. Outdoor antennas are typically equipped with a protective housing to safeguard against environmental contaminants and ensure optimal performance.
Contact VB Antennas for further advice and guidance on antenna selection.