LoRa LPWAN IoT Antennas are a hot topic right now and building out a reliable network based on 868 MHz or 915 MHz requires the deployment of quality antennas and accessories. Here we look at four robust antenna types to facilitate consistent and dependable installation.
High gain outdoor omni-directional antenna
On the edges of the network where signal strength cannot always be depended on, a quality outdoor antenna is often a go to solution. Common requirements for such antennna are be robust with the antenna and bracket built from quality components, offer high gain (5 dBi+) to provide a stable signal, be compact enough to be discreet and offer flexible mounting options. Combining these factors will deliver consistent performance whatever the climate conditions. A fine example of such an antenna is the WMO86916.
Wall-mount omni-directional antenna
Some external LoRA LPWAN IoT antennas are required because the antenna cannot, for one reason or another, be mounted directly onto the radio. For reasons of signal coverage, location of radio/terminal below ground or in a shielded area, willful damage or simply practicality, wall-mounted omni-directional antennas are often used. For most applications they need to be compact, discreet and cost-effective while offering robust RF performance. They also need to be easy to install in order to keep installation costs/time to minimum. Two excellent choices of such antennas are the Wall-Blade and the WCO-868-WMB. Both are very compact, easy to install and offer accomplished RF performance.
Low profile permanent mount puck antenna
Antennas are often required to mount directly onto a terminal or enclosure. Mostly permanently mounted by a threaded boss through which the cable is fed, they offer a secure and effective way to facilitate 868 MHz and 915 MHz communications. Such antennas need to be very compact with a durable radome, be of a material to withstand inclement weather, possess a durable mounting stud and offer reliable RF performance. Many of the small pucks, smaller means that they less likely to draw attention to themselves, are groundplane dependent i.e. they have to be mounted onto a metal surface. One such antenna is the Button 868 915 MHz antenna. This antenna is compact as it gets without compromising on RF performance.
Terminal/Radio-mounted dipole antenna
In cases where the antenna does not need to be mounted away from the radio or terminal, a dipole antenna can offer reliable RF performance when directly connected via a coaxial connector. This type of antenna is not the smallest, you can find small 1/4 wave antennas that are much more discreet, but they typically offer robust RF capabilities. Especially where no groundplane is available, for example if the terminal has a non-metal enclosure, the dipole style antenna can offer RF advantages over rival terminal antennas. In addition, do verify the build quality of such antenna so that you can be assured that it is built to last as inferior antennas can be very easily damaged thereby demanding costly engineer revisits. A good example of a quality dipole antenna is the BKR915 and the BKR868.
Aside from the antennas, it is wise to make sure that if you are running coaxial extension cables you use quality cables to minimise cable losses. At 868 MHz and 915 MHz for cable runs up to 10M, you could typically use RF195 type cable. From 10-20M it would be worth considering RF240. And for longer RF400 cable installations. Using inferior coaxial cable will negate the benefits of use quality antennas as signal losses across the inferior cables will be experienced.
Some of the antennas mentioned can be purchased via the Connex webshop.
A new High Gain 915 MHz outdoor wall-mount omni-directional ideal for LoRA and LPWAN applications has been released by EAD. Offering 5.8 dBi gain at 915 MHz, the WMO86916 is a compact and robust solution. It is supplied with an effective, reversible L-bracket allowing both wall-mount and pole mount capability.
The WMO86916 antenna is supplied with a white low loss 5M cable as standard terminated in a SMA-Male connector. Other connectors such as RP-SMA and RP-TNC are available. The cable length can also be customised from 0.5M to 5M in overall length.
Designed with fringe sites in mind, this high gain 915 MHz antenna is an excellent for ensuring signal continuity. The antenna tube is made out of fibreglass for longevity and with an overall length of just 840mm, the WMO86916 is compact enough to be discreet in many installations. Applications include remote monitoring applications, ultilities, RF mesh networks and unlicensed RF frequency band deployments.
Alternative omni-antennas for 915 MHz are available including the compact Wall-Blade antenna and the WCO-915-WMB antenna.
The WMO86916 also supports 868 MHz with a gain figure of 5.8 dBi.
For more information on these antennas, please contact your local EAD representative or contact us directly.
ECE 118-R compliant antennas are now available from EAD for passenger vehicle applications. The ECE-R 118 is a directive which relates to the combustion behaviour of materials used in these applications.
The range of EAD low profile multi-port puck antennas, for example, the CMG– MIMO LTE + GNSS, CMO– MIMO LTE, CLWG – 1 x LTE, 1 x WiFi 1 x GNSSand C2LW MIMO LTE + WiFi as well as the ultra small Button LTE antenna can now be supplied with an ECE 118-R compliant cable.
Ideal for bus and transport applications where a durable, multi-port and compact antenna is required, our ECE 118-R antennas offer an effective answer to MIMO antenna requirements.
For more information and quotation of ECE 118-R antennas, please contact us.
Two new 868 915 MHz antennas from EAD offer more choices for connectivity in 868 MHz and 915 MHz applications. Addressing deployments such as LoRa, Sigfox and other unlicensed frequency band systems, the Button 868/915 and the Wall-Blade offer designers and installers more flexibility when rolling out wireless systems.
The Button 868/915 antenna is a compact low profile puck antenna designed to be mounted onto a groundplane (i.e. metal surface) such as a cabinet, enclosure, kiosk or roof. Permanently mounted via a threaded stud underneath, the antenna is fed by a single cable and supports both 868 MHz and 915 MHz frequencies. It measures just 62.7mm in diameter and 27.5mm in height and offers a robust, discreet solution for modems, gateways and access devices where an antenna needs to be mounted externally.
The Wall-Blade antenna is an effective wall-mounted blade antenna for 868 and 915 MHz with small dimensions to enable unobtrusive installation either indoors or outdoors as required. It is supplied with bracket and fixtures for mounting and is fed by a 3M cable and SMA-Male as standard. The Wall-Blade offers reliable and consistent performance in both bands and is an innovative alternative to standard tube-style omni-directional antennas.
For more information on these antennas and other solutions we offer for 868 MHz and 915 MHz, please visit our product catalogues.
For European customers some EAD 868 and 915 MHz antennas can be purchased via the Connex webshop.
The LTE-MIMO-Mag LTE magnetic mount antenna from EAD is designed for mobile applications where a high performance magnetic antenna is required.
Operating from 700 MHz to 2700 MHz, the MIMO-MAG antenna is compact, but effective for metal roof, enclosure, kiosk and other metal surfaces where permanent mount antennas mounted via drilled holes are undesirable.
Measuring less than 100mm in height and 70mm in diameter with a high-pull strength magnetic, the LTE-MIMO-Mag antenna is ideal for 4G and LTE tactical deployments, mobile leisure applications such as inland waterways as well as LTE-based kiosk and wireless security systems.
With a gain of 3 dBi across the bands, the antenna is an effective performer despite its compact dimensions. It is supplied with a 3M cable and SMA-Male connector as standard.
The LTE-MIMO-Mag antenna can be purchased in small quantities by customers in Europe via the Connex Webshop.
This blog article entry considers the merits of choosing which of various low loss RF coaxial cables to use for IoT, LTE or LORA wireless applications where an external antenna is used to connect to router, gateway or terminal.
In this article, we will consider cables such as RG174, RG58, RF195, RF240 and RF400 as possible coaxial cable choices for your installation.
The first point to consider is that running extension or jumper cables between the antenna and the radio (router, modem, terminal, gateway, wireless device – for the sake of this article we’ll simply use the term radio) is that the cable will always introduce loss into the system. Whether you use very low loss, high quality coaxial cable or very thin and “lossy” cable, attenuation will be introduced between antenna and radio. A key area to focus on is to minimise the loss introduced by the cable in order to maximise the performance of the antenna. On longer cable runs it is very important to use low loss RF coaxial cables otherwise attenuation is too great for a functional wireless deployment.
Looking at RG174, it is a thin coax typically with a PVC sheath and can be used often for lower frequencies up to a very maximum of 2-3 metres. Most often it is used for what we call “pigtail” or adapter cables which a short cables that typically connect a cable to radio often to convert from one connector to another or if a connector presenting to the radio is too small to be fitted to a very low loss coax. (RF400 cables are 10.2mm diameter and as such connectors like MMCX, QMA, MCX cannot be fitted to RF400).
RG58 is a stranded coaxial cable about 5mm in diameter. It can be used for longer runs than RG174, however we typically recommend customers switch to RF195 which is also 5mm in diameter, but due to its solid copper core and superior insulation is lower loss than RG58.
RF195 is typically used in cable runs for 4G and cellular applications up to maximum cable run of 10M. Any more than 10M then the attenuation introduced by the cable into the system starts to affect the overall performance. The advantages of RF195 is that it is cost-effective, flexible and has good RF properties making it ideal for 5M extension cable requirements.
For longer runs that RF195 offers or for lower loss performance over 5 to 10M, then RF240 low loss coaxial cables are an ideal selection. RF240 is very similar to LMR240. With an overall sheath diameter of 6.1mm, it can be offer in a PVC all-purpose sheath or a LSZH (Low Smoke Zero Halogen) CPR Class Eca compliant sheath. RF240 could be used up to about 15M cable runs for 4G and cellular applications and probably shorter runs if using it for WiFi. Once again, RF240 is cost-effective, but it is also flexible and robust making it ideal in installations where cable routing might be a little tricky.
For even longer cable runs, we have RF400 with PVC sheath for multi-purpose applications and RF400 LSZH Eca cable. These two cables are very low loss and we supply cables runs up to 50 or 60M depending on the frequency used in the installation. Both RF400 low loss RF coaxial cables are approx. 10mm in diameter, offering a little bit of flexibility, but most key is excellent RF properties meaning that you can minimise attenuation from the antenna to radio in your system.
EAD is a UK-based vendor of antenna solutions from 100 MHz to 6 GHz and also custom-assemblies low loss coaxial cables to customer specifications. For more information, please visit our product pages at www.customcoax.co.uk or contact us for specific requirements or questions you may have.
EAD is pleased to introduce RF400 and RF240 Eca low loss coaxial cable assemblies. For coaxial cables requiring permanent installation into in-building applications, CPR compliance is now mandatory. CPR (Construction Products Regulation) legislation as it relates to coaxial cables addresses flammability properties of cables that are be installed inside buildings.
RF400 LSZH and RF240 LSHZ are both CPR classified as Eca and is manufactured in the European Union to high and consistent standards. At EAD, we cut the LSZH (Low Smoke Zero Halogen) cables to the required length and terminate with the customer-specified connectors.
For more details on the two Eca low loss cables visit our RF cables products page and for quotes or lead times, please contact us.
Two L1 L2 L5 antennas introduced recently by EAD enable enhanced precision and accuracy in global GNSS tracking and timing applications.
The MP-RTK is a global GNSS magnetic mount puck antenna which is robust and low profile with an active antenna element. Ideal for mobile non-permanent tracking and positioning installations where permanent mount antennas are undesirable, the MP-RTK antenna is compact, durable and waterproof. It is fed by a 3M cable as standard which exits from the side of the unit and whilst terminated with a SMA-Male connector as standard, other connector terminations are possible. The MP-RTK antenna has an integrated LNA with approximately 37 dB effective gain for GPS L1, 36 dB effective gain for GPS L2 and 32 dB effective gain for GPS L5 thereby offering high gain performance.
The HIGAIN-RTK antenna is a high gain multi-constellation antenna for outdoor pole-mount deployment. This antennas mounts to poles with a 1-14 UNF thread. With effective gain of 41 dBi for GPS L1, GLONASS G1, GALILEO E2-L1-E1 and BEIDOU B1 and an effective gain of 39 dB for GPS L2, L5, GLONASS G2, GALILEO E5A, E5B, E6 and BEIDUO B2 and B3, the HIGAIN-RTK offers flexibility allowing the antenna to be installed some distance from the receiver using low loss cables.
For more information and quotations on our L1 L2 L5 antennas, please contact us.
If you are looking to select a 4G directional panel as a high gain antenna solution for a 4G / LTE deployment, EAD has a range of solutions to look at. Directional panels are used in environments typically where higher gain antennas are required where network signal strength is not as good as it could be. On installation the panel antenna is pointed in the direction of the local network tower (in the same way that you would install a roof mounted TV aerial) and the reception will only be in this directional. If you want to pick up signals from all directions, then you would need to look at high gain omni-directional antennas.
With both MIMO and SISO directional antennas available, the products are compact whilst offering excellent RF performance.
If a SISO (single port) 4G directional panel is required, then we have two options for your application. The first option is the LPS8270, a compact product terminated on the back with a N-Female connector so you can mix and match customised low loss jumper cables such as RF240 and RF400 coaxial cables. Alternatively, for a directional antenna pre-terminated with low loss cables, the SMP-4G-LTE from Sirio is an interesting solution. Both antennas come with brackets for wall or pole mount and both offer robust gain figures to help you maximise your signal strength to the 4G router or modem.
For a MIMO (2 port) 4G directional panel antenna, we also have two options. The first option is the LPM8270, a compact dual polarised directional panel antenna terminated in two N-Female connectors on the rear of the antenna. As with the LPS8270, these antenna should be coupled with low loss jumper cables and these can be configured to specification. For a pre-terminated antenna with 2 x 5M cables, then the SMP-MIMO-4G is a discreet, but effective solution offering robust gain figures in an aesthetically pleasing radome.
For more information on the panel antennas, please contact us. For one off single quantity purchases in Europe, please use the Connex webshop.
In considering MIMO LTE antenna solutions for your application not all product offerings are equal. In addition, not all solutions will be suitable for your project.
A supplier with a range of many flavours of MIMO LTE antenna can greatly assist your quest for the best possible wireless deployment. This range should cover as a minimum blade antennas, low profile antennas, magnetic antennas and outdoor omni-directional and directional antennas.
A modular range of products allows the customer the choice to pick the correct product option. Take a low profile puck antenna for example, you may have the option of a MIMO LTE permanent mount puck antenna. This however might not quite meet your requirements, but the option of having such an antenna with an integrated WiFI element or an integrated GNSS element might be more suitable. Notwithstanding those options, it may be that you do not want to drill a hole in the skin of vehicle, cabinet or kiosk and a magnetic mount MIMO LTE antenna is preferable. In this case once again, the options of 2 x LTE, 2 x LTE + GNSS or 2 x LTE + WiFi are welcome to help you meet the requirements of your installation.
In terms outdoor MIMO antennas, a similar principle applies. Directional or omni-directional radiation patterns are important and how to mount the antenna, wall, pole or cabinet mount – a solution needs to be able to address these requirements. Also the possibility to marry these antennas with custom length low loss cables such as RF240 and RF400 rather that being offer a fixed length cable solution at 5M.
EAD is excellently placed to help you with this product options. Many of our antenna solutions are based on modular platforms meaning that we can mix and match radiating elements to deliver exactly the antenna our customers need. In addition, we have access to a broad portfolio of world-class products in our SAS product porfolio which augment and enhance our offerings. For one-off single unit requirements, many of our antennas can be purchased via our sister company’s webshop.
For distributor and reseller pricing and requests, please contact us directly.