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 http://www.esteem.com/2018/05/industrial-wireless-network-antennas-simplified/.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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).
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
The polarization of an antenna describes how it is mounted in reference to the
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.
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.
ESTeem Corporate Information
Electronic Systems Technology
• Incorporated 1982
• Public Offering 1984
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• dBA ESTeem Wireless Modems -
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Partner – 25+ years
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