CTS 072: Guide to Using External Antennas

Why should you use external antennas in your Wi-Fi environment? There are many reasons you should use them. In this episode, we talk about what to look for in external antennas, what to watch out for when deploying them, and what details to keep in mind.

We are used to internal antennas from our access points. Have you considered using external antennas to meet your Wi-Fi requirements? In this episode, we provide some educational material around external antennas. Yes, they do add some cost to a project but it’s not much compared to the solution they bring to your Wi-Fi network. There are use cases for external antennas and below are the topics we talk about during the episode.

This episode is proudly sponsored by AccelTex Solutions. They are providing a special offer just for our listeners. If you head over to their products page and use promo code CTS Podcast 72 they will send you a free antenna sample of your choice.

AccelTex Solutions

Episode Contents

  • Why use antennas, other than the ones built into the AP?
    • Aesthetics
    • Direct signal
    • To meet requirements
    • Use outdoor
  • Antenna types
    • Omni
      • Signal in 360 degrees
    • Semi-directional
      • Ranges in degrees such as 65 degrees, 120 degrees, etc
      • Patch
    • Directional
      • Dish
      • Yagi
  • Antenna details
    • Beamwidth
    • Azimuth and elevation pattern
      • Lobes
    • Gain
      • Passive
    • Connectors
      • RPTNC
      • RPSMA
    • Elements
      • Isolation
        • Antennas hearing each other
      • Horizontal
      • Vertical
    • Orientation
    • Antenna Polarization
      • Important for indoors?
        • MIMO
      • Outdoor PtP links
  • Design
    • When designing Wi-Fi be sure to use the right antennas
  • Deployment
    • Mount the antennas properly
    • Get the right angle
    • Consider spacing between antennas
    • Don’t connect two antennas to one access point, unless you’re using something like a DART connector on the Cisco 3802E
  • Personal experience
    • High density
    • Outdoor
    • Special use cases
Sample Radiation Pattern for AccelTex ATS-OP-245-47-6RPSP-36

Sample Radiation Pattern for AccelTex ATS-OP-245-47-6RPSP-36

 

RF Elements Antenna Propagation Patterns

RF Elements Antenna Propagation Patterns

 

Meraki MR53 2.4 GHz antenna pattern

Meraki MR53 2.4 GHz antenna pattern

Links and Resources

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About the Author
Rowell, CWNE #210, is a network engineer in Higher-Ed. He enjoys working with wireless networking technologies and loves to share and engage with the community. You can connect with him on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

4 comments on CTS 072: Guide to Using External Antennas

  1. Chad says:

    Good description of antenna patterns. We use a ton of RF Element horn antennas for outdoor PtP and PtMP 5 GHz installs and they are fantastic – much better than traditional sector antennas despite lower gain (higher gain is not always desirable even in outdoor longer range installs). While I’ve never needed to worry about patterns for indoor installs, it is a primary concern for our outdoor installs. And, vertical beam width is as important as horizontal beam width for us. A traditional sector antenna often has a 120 degree horizontal width but maybe just 6 degree vertical. When you are putting that antenna on a mountain top aiming down, that narrow vertical beam really reduces your coverage area. The RF Element horns have a 60 degree (or whatever) perfect circle that radiates out – giving you 60 degrees in all directions.

  2. Koen Verbeeck says:

    Another great episode. Were can i find more info about the plastic antenna models as shown in the “RF Elements Antenna Propagation Patterns” picture. Keep up the good work.

    Best regards,
    Koen

      1. koen Verbeeck says:

        Are these plastic models for sale? Cannot seem to find the info.

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