As the most visible part of wireless equipment, it’s important to know a little bit about antennae when choosing a system. Just to get everyone on the same page, antenna is designed to transmit and receive clear signals between multiple points. This can be from your wireless router to your laptop, from a laptop to a printer, or any other of a wide variety of applications. For any wireless network to work quickly and efficiently, an antenna is a requirement. And just as there are different types of wireless setups, there are different antennas for different purposes. As such, when choosing your model, it’s important to understand the three key specifications: frequency, beam width, and gain.
Frequency is described as the data transmission between two points via electronic waves that carry kinetic energy. The associated energy of the wave is directly proportional to the wave’s frequency. Frequency is represented by the equation E=hv where v=frequency and h=Planck’s constant, which is 6.626 x 10-34 J s. Therefore, the higher the frequency, the more kinetic energy the wave carries, and the more powerful the wave.You may want to check out impact to assets for more.
Gain refers to the measure of the ability to amplify incoming signals. The value of the gain directly correlates to the antenna’s receiving strength. It is measured in dB, a function of the capture area and reception/transmission frequency. A larger antenna with a greater capture area has higher gain values, as do ones at higher frequencies. Wide area networks, such as those where data is sent over longer distances, need antennae with higher gain ratings (10+). In a smaller area or smaller room, lower gain works just fine.
The beam width is the area in which the signal is received and is usually measured to ½ power points. This refers to the number of degrees between the points where gain is 3dB less than the gain for the antenna’s strongest direction. The higher the gain, the lower the beam width. Increased gain with a decreased beam width receives signal over a smaller area but offers a strong signal. By contrast, less gain increases the beam width, which receives the signal over a larger area but at a weaker strength. Beam width is measured in two planes, vertical and horizontal.
While these are three key factors to understand, a search for an antenna may also introduce you to “OMNI”. OMNI is especially powerful, versatile, and useful for 360 degree beam width in one plane or another. As a result, the antenna is capable of signal reception and transmission in all directions on that particular plane.
Beam width is an important factor in antenna placement. If the unit will be mounted on or against a wall, you don’t need the beam width to cover the wall part of the horizontal plane. The same is true when the device is mounted on the ceiling or the ground. When antennas are used to transfer signal from roof to roof, you must mount it so the beam widths of the two receivers intersect. And finally, if you plan on using it in the center of a wireless network, OMNI is the way to go.