January 21, 2018
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WiFi Antennas – the Technology, Types, and Applications

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There are already 1.75 billion smartphone users as of 2014 and the number is only expected to grow in the next decade. This puts an increasing demand on wireless antennas, which help these smartphones connect to the Internet through WiFi. WiFi has become a common household item, as everything from computers to televisions rely on them to get access to the World Wide Web.
The wireless antennas are very much similar to a radio transmitter, as they work by sending and receiving radio signals. The range of the antenna will be decided by the power gain. This figure is usually indicated in decibels (dB). A 2-9 dB range should be sufficient for most of the needs of homes and offices. A far higher range – of around 30 dB – is essential when trying to bring a larger area under the same network.
Since the need for WiFi has come up in different areas, there are specialised WiFi antennas for specific purposes.
There are two major types of a WiFi antenna: Omni directional and directional.
The former is used to link one signal to several points whereas the latter is used for point-to-point purposes.
Types of WiFi antennas:
There are several types of WiFi antennas within these two main categories. The Rubber Duck and Ceiling Domes are an example of the omnidirectional unit. They are primarily used in homes or small offices, which require the WiFi signal only to reach a few rooms at the most. A 5dB ceiling dome antenna could be ideal for covering an entire home or office.
Excel Wireless offers omni directional WiFi antennas – along with several other networking products – that operate in the 2.4GHz & 5GHz band. These are available with varying power gains of even 24 dBi.
Directional units are primarily meant to link two points. Since it is not required to provide 360° coverage like the omni directional technology, it is easier to extend the range of the device. This becomes especially useful when connecting two buildings that are far apart.
Types of directional WiFi antennas:
• Yagi
• Grid
• Panel
• Patch
WiFi antennas for long distances:
Yagi is one of the preferred WiFi antennas when it comes to connecting two buildings that are far apart – even as far as a few miles. The major requirement of a Yagi antenna is the presence of a clear line of sight. The Yagi antennas offered at ZDA Communications operate between 902 MHz – 2.4 GHz. Their power gain is also in the region between 8 – 18 dBi.
The parabolic dish is also a type of directional antennas, but these are ones used for covering long distances. The dish antenna focuses its signal on a specific region and then beams it out using the reflector. The 5 GHz parabolic dish antenna that has a gain of 24-34 dBi offers excellent solution for long-distance WiFi connectivity. The only disadvantage comes in the connectivity part, as these antennas are a little difficult to point and beam the WiFi signal.
The number of Internet connected devices is expected to exceed 50 billion by 2020. The presence of such exceptional WiFi antenna technologies should take care of the demand.