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Industrial Wireless Network Antennas Simplified


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Antennas are a crucial component of any industrial wireless network, so much so that antenna design is a science all its own. View our slide deck for a quick primer on the most important terms and concepts concerning antennas and industrial wireless networks. To read this presentation as a blog, visit

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Industrial Wireless Network Antennas Simplified

  1. 1. Industrial Wireless Network Antennas Simplified
  2. 2. Antenna design and development are their own science. We could do a deep dive into antennas and their role in wireless network design and not come up for air for weeks. But the more useful approach for the wireless user is a basic understanding of the major types of antennas and the terminology used. Antennas can be grouped into two major categories, depending on how they radiate radio frequency (RF) energy. An Antenna Primer
  3. 3. Omni-directional antennas radiate radio frequency energy in (more or less) a sphere. This 360-degree coverage from the antenna allows the RF power to be distributed equally in all directions. This type of antenna is used at locations that need to communicate to multiple other sites such as a master location or repeater location. Omni-Directional Antennas
  4. 4. Directional Antennas As the name would imply, this type of antenna focuses the RF energy in one direction to both transmit and receive power. A directional antenna can be made in many different types such as parabolic dish, Yagi or corner reflector, but each will increase the signal in a single direction to maximize the energy to and from a single location. This type of antenna is best used at remote, fixed locations.
  5. 5. Tips & Terms As a rule when installing an antenna, keep it in open air, not near any metal surface or mounting structure. Anything that is close to or in the beamwidth (see Slide 7 for a definition) of the antenna can change how the antenna operates. With a basic understanding of where best to use a specific type of antenna, there are additional terms involved in selecting an antenna for operation that are useful to know.
  6. 6. Antenna Gain This term is used to define how much increase in signal an antenna will provide. This increase in signal will apply to both the transmit power and the receive signal. The unit of measure for this term is decibel (dB), which is a logarithmic increase. The easiest way to remember how gain affects the signal is that every 3dB gain will double the RF energy. This logarithmic increase is easy to see when you consider that an antenna with a 9dB gain will actually increase the RF energy eight times (2x2x2=8).
  7. 7. Beamwidth This is the most commonly misunderstood antenna characteristic. The beamwidth is the defined area around an antenna where most of the energy is radiated. It can be listed as a vertical beamwidth (up and down) or horizonal beamwidth (side to side). But, from a user’s perspective, the only item of importance is whether the remote site where the radio is sending the signal is within the antenna’s beamwidth. This value is part of the antenna specifications and not something that requires measurement.
  8. 8. Polarization The polarization of an antenna describes how it is mounted in reference to the earth’s surface. If mounted perpendicular to the ground, it is vertically polarized, while an antenna mounted parallel to the ground is horizontally polarized. Most wireless applications use vertical polarization, but the critical factor is that all antennas in the same wireless network must be polarized the same.
  9. 9. The ESTeem Advantage We have 35 years of experience designing, engineering and manufacturing industrial wireless radios and modems - all in the US and all specifically focused on solving our customers’ most difficult networking challenges. Through all of those years, we’ve stuck to the philosophy that applications will not bend to fit the hardware. The solution must fit the application, and we work with our customers to ensure they get the right wireless solution to fit their needs. To that end, all of our models come with full compatibility baked in (195E/Horizon, 192/195 Narrowband), and we write our software/OS specifically for the components used for optimum efficiency and performance. To learn how ESTeem can deliver the cost-effective, reliable wireless network your operation needs, visit our website or submit this simple contact form.
  10. 10. ESTeem Corporate Information Electronic Systems Technology • Incorporated 1982 • Public Offering 1984 • Symbol: ELST • dBA ESTeem Wireless Modems - 2007 Corp/MFG Headquarters • Kennewick, WA • Rockwell Automation Encompass Partner – 25+ years • CSIA Member/Supplier • Control Systems Integrator Association 45,000+ Radios in Service Worldwide • Industry’s most complete portfolio: 10 models • FCC Licensed Frequencies • License-Free Frequencies