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.
EAD in partnership with leading world-class vendors of antenna products has constructed its SAS (Specialist Antenna Solutions) range, an outstanding antenna portfolio of over 6000 antenna and RF accessory solutions for a range of markets from 130 MHz to 6 GHz. This covers VHF, UHF, LTE, Cellular, GNSS, WiFi, 5G frequencies and beyond.
With market-leading innovative suppliers such as Sirio, Laird, PCTEL, Smarteq and Scan, EAD’s offering is unrivalled in terms of quality and RF performance.
Some recent portfolio highlights include:
Coach II – a unique high accuracy global GNSS including GPS L1, L2 and L5, LTE and WiFi Multiband low profile roof mount antenna
FlexMIMO – MIMO 2.4/5 GHz internal flexible PCB antenna
LTE Phantom MIMO – LTE MIMO roof mount low profile antenna
UHF5G – 4G/5G multiband marine omni-directional antenna
SMP-4G-MIMO – 4G/LTE MIMO Directional panel antenna
AllDisc – High Gain LTE low profile dome antenna
HGO-4G-LTE – High Gain 4G LTE Omni-directional outdoor antenna
All this alongside a broad range of antenna products including
VHF/UHF Helical and Whip Antennas
Fibreglass omni antennas from 150 to 6 GHz
VHF/UHF yagi antennas
Magnetic mount antennas – various frequencies including LTE and UHF i.e. 450 MHz
Marine antennas – including 4G, WiFi and UHF variants
Specialist GNSS antennas – including magnetic, timing and synchronisation variants for GPS, GLONASS, Galileo and Beidou
Surge Protection – contact us for our surge protection offering
Power Dividers – a range of 2-way, 4-way and 8-way splitters mostly for 4G and LTE frequency bands
RF Low Loss Cables
With the widest porfolio of antennas available across the UK and European markets, we are best placed to be able supply your project with the exact antenna that fits the technical specification. Coupled with custom RF coaxial cable terminations in-house, we can provide a comprehensive service based around quality, customisation and innovation.
Notwithstanding the above, we have our own range of EAD antennas that augment our offering so there are fewer voids in our portfolio than other suppliers.
We only show highlights of our outstanding antenna portfolio on our website. You can visit the manufacturers’ websites for full antenna catalogues or call us for further direction.
To discuss your specific antenna requirement, please feel free to contact us.
The Coach II multi-constellation GPS L1, L2, L5 MIMO LTE and WiFi antenna has been released by PCTel. Known as the GL125-DLTEMIMO, this antenna is an unrivalled solution for transportation applications requiring multi-constellation GNSS, MIMO LTE and MIMO WiFi within a single antenna radome.
Permanently mounted via a stud underneath, the GL125-DLTEMIMO offers the following features:
- Global multi-GNSS compatibility: 1150-290 MHz (GPS L2/L5; GALILEO E5A/E5B/E6; GLONASS L2/L3; BEIDOU B2/B3); 1500-615 MHz (GPS L1; GALILEO E1; GLONASS L1; BEIDOU B1/B1-2)
- Dual port 4G LTE / sub-6 GHz 5G NR
- 802.11ac WiFi / Bluetooth connectivity
- AAR compliant for railway applications
- IP67 rated design
The Coach II multi-constellation antenna is available now, please contact us for more details.
Outdoor LTE Antennas are being increasingly deployed as wireless systems installations multiply. Applications such as wireless security, information screens, kiosks, network backup and resilience, remote network access, telemetry and telematic and vending systems demand strong and stable connectivity. Unfortunately many modern buildings are effectively Faraday cages; they are metal clad structures into which mobile cellular signals are unable to penetrate. Therefore often outdoor LTE antennas are required to provide connectivity to the LTE terminals, modems, routers and devices located inside the buildings.
For outdoor LTE antenna deployments, there are a number of considerations. These include network signal strength where the antenna will be installed, the distance from the antenna to the LTE equipment, the mounting method for the antenna i.e pole/mast mount, wall-mount or permanent through-hole mount, the size of antenna in case of local authority planning guidelines. Notwithstanding the above, the quality of the antenna, the quality of any low loss cable and other RF components such as lightning or surge protectors (to protect the LTE equipment against lightning strikes) are critical in a successful outdoor installation. You wouldn’t put cheap tyres on a medium or high end car so why would install low quality antennas and RF cables into professional LTE wireless access deployment.
Looking firstly at network signal strength and the distance from the antenna to the LTE equipment. These two points are related. A strong network signal at the antenna will typically allow for a longer RF low loss coaxial cable run to the LTE equipment. A good network signal at the antenna is generally required if the cable run is to be more than say 5 or 10M. The longer the cable run typically the thicker the type of coaxial cable installed in order to mitigate losses. For example, for 10-15M cable run for an omni-directional outdoor antenna located in a good signal strength area then RF240 6mm diameter low loss cable will usually suffice. Longer cables runs would usually look to RF400 10.2mm diameter low loss coaxial cable to mitigate cable run losses.
In terms of antennas, there are two types of antenna – SISO (one single antenna port) and MIMO (2 antenna ports). The type of antenna you would use will depend on the 4G / LTE equipment and whether that has 1 or 2 LTE antenna connectors. If the LTE device has one antenna connector, you use a single port LTE antenna. If the LTE device has two LTE antenna connectors, you should select a MIMO antenna.
For each SISO and MIMO type antenna, there are a number of antenna options. We will review some quality antenna choices here:
SISO – Single Port Outdoor LTE Antennas
Omni-directional – Antennas that radiate in all directions are called omni-directional (or omni) antennas. Think of a light bulb and how that radiates light into a room and you will understand the concept of an omni-directional antenna; it just radiates RF not light. For LTE outdoor installations, you will need a high gain omni-directional antenna. For wall-mount or pole mount LTE multi-band antennas, ideally you will need an antenna offering minimum 4-5 dBi gain, manufactured with materials such as UV-resistant radomes, non-corroding metal parts and the antennas should include mounting brackets. Two such examples are the FGO and HGO-4G-LTE antennas from EAD and Sirio respectively.
Other outdoor omni-directional antennas can be magnetic mount antennas, permanent low profile screw-mount antennas and typically these need to be mounted on to a metal surface. The LTE-HIGAIN-MAG, the AllDisc and the TRA6927M3 antennas are great of examples of discreet, compact antennas offering excellent RF performance.
Directional – Antennas that radiate in a single direction are called directional antennas. If you think of how a torch focuses a beam of light in one direction, a directional antenna functions in the same way radiating RF energy in a single direction. Typically, they operate the same way as a roof top TV antenna, you need to point the antenna towards the local mast (tower or base station). The most popular directional outdoor LTE antennas are panel antennas. They are typically quite compact and offer excellent gain properties usually somewhere between 8 and 11 dBi. A quality LTE directional panel antenna is the SMP-4G-LTE from Sirio or the LPS8270 from EAD.
MIMO – Dual Port Outdoor LTE Antennas
Omni-directional – MIMO omni-directional antennas usually compromise a little on the gain figures due to having two antenna elements inside one radome. But often installers find it preferable to install one MIMO antenna instead of two SISO antennas. The same selection criteria applies to the MIMO omni-directional antenna as the SISO, so look for quality, UV-resistant, proven MIMO LTE antennas combined with 2 quality low loss coaxial cables (one cable for each port). Choose an antenna with a flexible bracket configuration to allow ease of mounting. Such a choice is the popular LMO7270 antenna.
Another type of outdoor MIMO LTE antenna is a compact puck style antenna for discreet applications where the antenna should be mounted on a metal cabinet or enclosure. The antenna uses the metal surface as a groundplane so the antenna can be smaller and more compact without compromising performance too much. One such antenna is the CMO antenna. There are various possibilities for this style of MIMO antenna and some of these may include an additional RF element such as a WiFi or active GNSS antenna.
Directional – as with the SISO directional antennas, the most popular MIMO directional antennas are panel antennas. Despite their compact dimensions, they can offer higher gain than omni antennas, but need to be pointed towards the local network mast. Across the 700-2700 MHz range, directional antennas can typically offer 5-9 dBi gain. Good examples of such antennas are the SMP-MIMO-LTE and the LPM8270.
For outdoor installations, as we alluded to earlier, the correct selection of RF low loss coaxial cable is critical for longer cable runs especially at the higher frequency bands i.e. 1710-2690 MHz, a higher performance cable is required. The attenuation per metre figures are important, the longer the cable run, the less attenuation per metre is desired. For outdoor applications, industry “standard” cables such as RG58 are inadequate due to losses. A better solution is to pay a little more per metre and go with a low loss or very loss cable such as RF240 or RF400. You can download a summary guide of these cables here. The more low loss the cable, the longer the cable run between the antenna and the LTE device can be.
Also to protect your installation from lightning strikes you might need to consider surge protection. A decent surge protector will not typically save your antenna from a strike, but it should protect the network equipment sitting behind the antenna and cable. Such a surge protector is the PTC lightning arrestor. Please contact us for more details on this part.
We hope this short guide will provide you with some thoughts and considerations for installing outdoor LTE antennas. Please feel free to browse our website for our wide range of solutions and contact use
The portfolio of Specialist Antenna Solutions (a division of EAD) is now being uploaded to the EAD website allowing visitors to search across EAD and Specialist Antennas products on one website.
The Specialist Antennas range of products are stable of antenna and RF solutions from leading manufacturers such as Sirio, PCTEL, Smarteq, Laird and others. The range includes some fantastic antennas for frequencies from 150 MHz to 6 GHz.
LTE-HIGAIN-MAG Antenna – a very popular low profile LTE magnetic mount antenna
SMP-LTE-MIMO Antenna – a directional LTE MIMO panel antenna
AllDisc – a low profile, high gain LTE dome antenna
8178D – a GPS GLONASS network timing reference antenna
Specialist Antennas can supply the whole product ranges from our suppliers. The website shows just a small proportion of the popular products. Don’t forget that the antennas can be combined with our RF195, RF240 and RF400 low loss cables for a fully customised solution.
Many of the SAS products can be purchased in small quantities via the Connex webshop.
For more information on the Specialist Antennas portfolio, please contact us.
RF195 cable assemblies from EAD are now available. They are built to customer requirements based on length and connector type. The RF195 cable assemblies supersede the BWL195 cables that EAD has supplied for many years. RF195 cables are manufactured in the European Union and assembled in the UK to customer specifications. With many connector options, including N, TNC, SMA, RP-SMA, BNC, FME and QMA, we can tailor the cables to the exact requirements for the applications.
RF195 cables have an outer jacket diameter of just 5mm. This means whilst offering excellent RF performance they retain flexibility which makes them great for tricky cable runs.
Other low loss cable options from EAD include RF240 and RF400.
For more information on RF195, please contact us.