With technological advancements and the increase in wireless system installations, outdoor Long Term Evaluation (LTE) antennas are becoming increasingly popular. Strong and stable connectivity is a requirement for a wide range of applications such as remote network access, vending systems, wireless security, and information screens. For effective connectivity to modems, routers, and devices located indoors, an outdoor LTE antenna is usually required.
LTE Antenna Parameters
LTE antennas support a broad spectrum of frequencies, anywhere from 700 MHz to 2600 MHz. This support is made possible by the following parameters:
- Return Loss: The higher the return loss the better because this means a lower insertion loss
- Efficiency: Efficiency is the measure of radiated power and could be affected by losses in the surroundings
- Correlation Coefficient
Single Versus Dual Antenna Ports
There are two broad types of antennas; the SISO (one single antenna port) and MIMO (2 antenna ports). The type of antenna you would use will depend on the LTE equipment and whether that has 1 or 2 LTE antenna connectors.
MIMO antennas are commonly used in cities where the advantage of signals bouncing off buildings, trees, and so on, preventing fading losses. They improve the range of transmission but have the disadvantage of being more expensive than SISO antennas.
The SISO antenna also has its advantages and disadvantages. SISO antennas are less expensive than MIMO antennas since they use a single antenna design. They also require less volume and are driven by less power, making them a good option for cell phones which have limited battery capacity. Some disadvantages of SISO antennas include their reduced data rates and lack of polarization diversity. They also lack spatial diversity, given their single antenna design.
Factors to Consider in Choosing the Right Antenna
Choosing the right LTE antenna would usually require some research. There are some factors one must consider when deciding on the right LTE antenna, whether it has a single antenna port (SISO) or 2 antenna ports (MIMO). These include the following:
- The distance from the antenna to the LTE equipment, and the network signal strength. Stronger network signal strength means more flexibility for the length of the cable run to the LTE equipment. A rule of thumb is that a cable run of over 10 meters would typically require strong network connectivity.
- The mounting method for the antenna. The best mounting method would be one that is supported by the available infrastructure. Poles and masts are commonly used but where those are cannot be readily made available, LTE antennas could be wall-mounted or mounted permanently through a hole.
- Local authority planning guidelines. These guidelines determine the acceptable antenna sizes and must be adhered to.
- The quality of cables and other components like lightning and surge protectors. A quality protector may not necessarily prevent a strike to your LTE antenna, but it should protect the connected network equipment. To avoid trial and error in choosing the right quality of equipment, it is important to consult professional providers of LTE services such as Cradlepoint.