Wireless local area networks (WLAN) require antennas for their functioning. These antennas are responsible for the wireless signal used in browsing the internet, playing games online, and other activities that require internet connection. The world we are in today is a digital one. Therefore, the internet plays a crucial role in our daily activities. Both businesses and individuals need the internet to carry out some of their activities.
Electronic devices such as computers, smartphones, and televisions can communicate with each other through WiFi. Connecting more devices can result in some certain issues like weak WiFi signal. WiFi has made it much easier to connect with the internet. These days, people now find it very easy to connect several devices to the internet via WiFi.
What do WiFi Antennas do?
Wireless devices can communicate with one another by using RF waves. These devices include smartphones and routers. They comprise transmitting and receiving antennas. WiFi receiving antennas transform electromagnetic waves into electrical signals while the transmitting antennas do the reverse.
Furthermore, a WiFi antenna offers an improved performance and better range when walls or other form of barrier blocks signals. WiFi is a short-distance wireless communication system that develops local networks. Its signals can get to 15 Km over 9 miles if they have got the right antenna. This means that Wifi signals have the capability to pass through isolated places or thin walls. However, they can’t pass through stands of trees or big buildings.
What are the Types of WiFi Antennas?
WiFi antennas are of two main types which are directional and omnidirectional.
These antennas concentrate all of power in just a single direction. They function in a similar way as a flashlight. For example, when a flashlight is switched on, it radiates the space you shine its light. The beam width of this flashlight is in a triangular shape. Therefore, any item outside the triangle won’t get light.
Directional antennas can transmit and receive wireless signal from a far distance. This is because the power of these antennas is in one direction. However, they have a small coverage area. This means the light can go beyond one room. However, it won’t radiate a whole room. You can use directional antennas for long-range point to point networks to enable internet connection between buildings.
There are different classifications of directional antennas. These include:
Mini panel antennas
These antennas can transfer radio waves from a particular area to a certain area. Mini panel antennas can enhance WiFi signal indoors. Also, they can be used instead of a paddle antenna on a router. These antennas need to be focused in the direction where you would be transferring a signal to and get a signal from. This helps to get rid of any connectivity problem that may likely occur. Also, you need to understand that the radiation patterns of mini panel antennas are 60 degrees.
This type of directional antenna looks like arrows. A Yagi antenna can only function when it focuses in the direction it is transmitting a signal to or getting a signal. The radiation pattern of a Yagi antenna is 450.
These are very powerful antennas that enable signal transmission from very far distances. You can link them to a router for further transmission of data or connect them to a USB WiFi adapter to get data from far distances. These antennas are usually more directional when compared to mini panel antennas. Also, panel antennas feature a radiation pattern of 35 degrees.
These are the second type of WiFi antenna. They transmit a signal at a 3600 angle in order to offer the most broad signal coverage. Omnidirectional antennas are similar to un-shaped incandescent lightbulb. For instance, a lightbulb will disperse light evenly in every direction in order to provide illumination to a room.
The range of omni-directional antenna is much shorter than that of a directional antenna. However, omnidirectional antennas have a much larger coverage area compared to directional antennas. This means the light radiated by the lightbulb won’t go any further as that of a directional antenna. You can use omnidirectional antennas in outdoors and indoors.
Classifications of Omnidirectional WiFi Antennas
There are different classes of omnidirectional WiFi antennas.
Outdoor omni antennas: These antennas can enhance WiFi signal when used outdoors. When these antennas are linked to a router or an outdoor access point, they enhance the wireless coverage outside.
Paddle or dipole antennas: They are usually integrated in WiFi adapters, access points, and routers.
Ceiling dome antennas: You can connect these antennas to an access point or WiFi router through coaxial cable. Based on their name, these antennas are installed on the ceiling of homes. Also, they are found in warehouse or office building.
The Wavelengths, Frequencies, and Range of WiFi Antennas
WiFi devices need radio waves to interact with each other. Just like all other waves, frequencies are the measurement of radio waves. These frequencies are the Hertz per second that is transmitted and received within a particular interval. It should be noted that WiFi antennas integrate several frequencies when transmitting data. These frequencies are 3.6 GHz, 5 GHz, 2.4GHz, 4.9 GHz, 900 MHz, and more. The frequencies specifically range from 900 MHZ to 60 GHz.
5GHz and 2.4 GHz are the two highly preferred frequencies utilized in WiFi communication. These frequencies correspond to wavelengths of 6cm and 12.5 cm. Based on this information, you will realize that lower frequency waves usually have longer wavelengths. Therefore, WiFi antennas with lower frequencies find it very easy to pass through obstacles like walls and metals. This enables them to transmit data further. However, data transfer is usually at a very slow rate.
On the other side, shorter wavelengths move at a faster rate and as such, this allows the transmission of very high speed data. But, shorter wavelengths find it very difficult to penetrate obstacles which in the long run, minimize the range of the signal.
WiFi antennas are carefully designed to correspond with the wavelength and frequency of the signal being transferred. This means that, a 2.4GHz antenna can never replace an antenna of 5GHz and vice versa. Also, some WIFi antennas can use both frequencies. These antennas are often referred to as dual band antennas. They have the capability to function under one frequency at the same time.
What are 5GHz WiFi Antennas?
5GHz WiFi antennas have a much shorter range coverage. However, this is much higher than 2.4GHz antenna. Also, the penetrating power of this antenna is less. It finds it difficult to pass through objects such as walls. The 5GHz frequencies are integrated in W-Lan and WiFi applications.
What is WiFi Antenna Gain?
Gain measures the ability and strength of an antenna and how it can direct EM waves in a particular direction. Decibels (dB) represent the measurement of antenna gain. Isotropic antennas feature 0 gain or O dBi. These antennas transfer and receive an even signal in every direction.
Antennas that feature much higher dBi measurements can reach further and stronger. Therefore, they are believed to be a much better option. However, antennas with higher dBi aren’t usually better. The range of these antennas increases as their dBi rises. However, there is a decrease in their coverage area.
Let’s say an isotropic antenna is like a symmetrical ball. The sides of this ball will increase once you press down. The ball will become flatter when you add more pressure to it. Also, the ball’s beamwidth will be altered when you add gain. Therefore, this changes the shape of the ball from a sphere to that of a pancake.
Importance of WiFi Antennas in Homes, Offices, and Outdoor Spaces
Improves WiFi Signal at home
WiFi antennas can improve WiFI signals, enabling them to get to dead zones. When used in the home, these antennas improve the performance of your WiFi signals. The best way to enhance the network in your home is to move the antenna to a central location. If there are dead zones in your home, there are some antennas that can help you enhance the coverage.
For instance, if your home has a wireless gateway with no detachable antennas, an Ethernet cord is a great option in linking the gateway to a wireless router without detachable antennas.
Enhance WiFi signal in offices
Offices or commercial spaces are usually much bigger than homes. In some cases, there are obstacles that prevent WiFi signals from penetrating. Just like our homes, we always want the antenna to be in the best location. Luckily, if the router features detachable antennas, it could help in enhancing the coverage.
Office buildings have different devices positioned in different areas. Devices such as laptops, computers, cell phones, and printers are best used with omnidirectional antennas. It is possible to enhance the signal in big spaces with ceiling dome antennas. You can install these antennas on a building’s ceiling.
Boost WiFi Signal outdoors
In most cases, WiFi signals don’t always have a high transmission rate outside since there are hindrances that weaken the signal. An outdoor omnidirectional antenna can be a great tool in boosting the WiFi signal in outdoor spaces. This antenna offers a better signal when used. You can connect it to the router or an access point outside.
It is advisable to get a low gain antenna for outdoor spaces. This is because this antenna offers the best possible coverage. High gain antennas can discharge signal at farther distances.
What Does the 5.8GHz Antenna Offer?
The 5.8GHz antenna is a dual-band WiFi antenna that supports about 1300 mps. This antenna is commonly used since it offers enough frequency needed to allow modern wideband signals function. Also, this antenna is affordable and more economical.
You can improve the quality and range of a wireless connection by using this antenna. 5.8GHz antenna offers higher frequency than 2.4 GHz antenna. Most devices used in homes run on the 2.4 GHz antenna. However, the 5.8GHz band has less overcrowding compared to the 2.4GHz. This is because there are fewer devices that integrate this band.
There are 23 different channels in the 5.8GHz antenna and devices can integrate these channels. Meanwhile the 2.4GHz band features 11 channels and this depends on your region’s wireless regulations. 5.8GHz antennas offer less coverage. However, these antennas offer faster data transmission.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best WiFi Antenna
Speaking of connectivity, the size of a WiFi antenna matters a lot. A big antenna can enhance your signal range and offer more reliable signal.
WiFi signal direction
This usually indicates the antenna type you need. A directional antenna will be ideal if you need to link one or more machines in the same direction. However, if the devices you intend to connect are in different location in a building, you should opt for an omnidirectional WiFi antenna. There are a wide selection of WiFi antennas and you can choose based on your choice.
In this case, you have to consider the interruption your WiFi signal may experience. Physical obstacles and interruption are two different things. Also, interference attacks signals and minimizes their strength or blocks off the signal completely. Therefore, you need to choose a WiFi antenna that can tolerate this interference.
Distance, obstacles, output, and power are factors that could weaken the signal of a router. Physical obstacles could be in houses or furniture. If you are purchasing a WiFi antenna, put these obstacles in mid. Opt for an antenna that can intensify a signal regardless of the obstacles.
People don’t often consider this when choosing a WiFi antenna. Cost usually determines everything in the long run. Although you shouldn’t compromise quality or functionality for cost, there are budget-friendly antennas out there.
WiFi signals can go out of reach across cables. Therefore, integrate the minimum length of the cable. WiFi antennas with higher gain are ideal for signal transmission over long distances. To get the best WiFi signal, ensure the polarization between antennas corresponds. WiFI antennas are integral part of a wireless connectivity. Every WiFi antenna has receiving and transmitting properties that influence the coverage area of a device.