Choosing the right gateway or router isn’t all there is to successful mobile networking. Signal quality is essential and this can only be guaranteed by picking the right antennas for 4G LTE or 3G solutions.
To help our channel partners understand more about antennas and selecting the best-fit options, Westbase.io has put together a “Cellular Deployment Guide” as well as “Antenna Buyer’s Guide“. In this article, we highlight the key points from both.
Selecting the right antenna
When selecting an antenna the following considerations need to be made:
Where will the antenna need to be situated?
If outside then the antenna will need the appropriate IP rating to ensure it is protected against dust and water. If inside then it will need to be of a suitable size.
What application is the antenna being used for?
Different applications require different types of antennas, for example WiFi and GPS will require their own antennas in addition to cellular antennas for 4G LTE.
What environment is the antenna being placed in?
For example, vehicular or industrial locations will require an antenna that is suitably ruggedised with the appropriate fixtures.
What is the quality of the signal in the intended location?
If the signal quality is poor then a high gain external antenna may suit it best.
What frequency band are you using?
Most high quality antennas cover a wide range of frequencies, but some cheaper antennas are only suitable for one type of connectivity, e.g. 2G, 3G or 4G.
How visible will the antenna be?
If it is highly visible in a prominent location then it may be important that it is aesthetically suitable.
Where and how does the antenna need to be fixed?
Different locations require for the antenna to be attached in different places, for example on a window, wall or ceiling, and will therefore require different types of fixtures, for example screw-on, stick-on or magnetic.
After these questions have been addressed, the process of selecting the correct antenna for your 4G LTE solution can begin. Download the full cellular deployment guide using this link to read more about the different types of antennas and the situations they are best used for.
Selecting the right cable
Selecting a low loss cable is very important to maximising the signal delivered to the cellular device. Even with the most suitable antenna, the wrong cable could see loss of signal between it and the device – which could ultimately undermine the solution and handicap its performance.
As with antennas there are a lot of cheaper cable options which can often promise performances which aren’t achievable in reality, so ensure that a high quality cable is selected to minimise the risk of signal loss.
Site installation advice
We have summarised our installation advice below into a few short tips:
- Complete a desktop survey first to check coverage
- Take a small selection of best fit antenna options with you to site, to test and make the best selection first time
- Invest in a signal analyser to help quantify signal quality and determine device and antenna placement
- Mounting an external antenna will deliver the best results so this should be the first choice of location
- If the 4G LTE router or gateway is in an enclosure, then the antenna must be outside it
- Don’t increase the cable length unnecessarily as this will lead to increased loss
Antenna ordering advice
Westbase.io represent a broad range of cellular and WiFi antennas, focused on high quality solutions. Our Antenna Buyer’s Guide provides a simple comparison table of antenna features and designs, as well as some use case advice for our product range – download it now by clicking this link.
Many of the antennas included in the guide come with cable lengths and connectors which will work with our range of cellular routers and gateways straight out of the box. In order to make some models more flexible in their deployment however, certain antennas will require additional cable lengths and / or connectors.
When you place your antenna order with Westbase.io, please check with your account manager whether additional cables and / or connectors are required if you’re unsure.
Download your full copies now
You can download our Antenna Buyer’s Guide and Cellular Deployment Guide in full by simply following the links provided. If you need any additional information then please contact your account manager on +44 (0) 1291 437 567 or firstname.lastname@example.org.