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.
Low Loss RF coaxial cable assemblies based on RF240 and RF400 low loss cable products are available from EAD.
You can download our RF240 and RF400 overview brochures here:
RF240 Low Loss coaxial cables
RF400 Low Loss coaxial cables
These low loss RF cables can be customer specified with the parameters of length and connector type configurable. Both cable types complement LTE, IoT, GNSS and UHF outdoor antenna installations. Typical products that marry with these cables are the LMO7270, FGO, and HIGAIN-RTK antennas.
Popular RF400 part numbers include RF400-SF-SM-10M and RF400-NM-SM-10M
For more information on EAD’s low loss RF coaxial cable assemblies, please contact EAD or your local distributor.
868 MHz LoRa antennas are becoming a hot topic in our markets. Using the licence-free ISM frequency bands, LoRa is a long range, but low power wireless technology that is increasingly being used for IoT technology. By wirelessly enabling devices and terminals to operate using LoRa technology, applications can be developed for control and monitoring without the need to use mobile cellular networks such as GSM, 3G or LTE. All of the LoRA enabled nodes will need an antenna of some description and here we look at some options to help enable your 868 MHz IoT environment.
There are many choices of 868 MHz LoRa antennas, but we’ll focus on internal, terminal mount and outdoor omni antennas to cover requirements for remote devices and hub/concentrator applications.
In areas of low signal or for concentrator applications where a higher gain antenna is required, an outdoor omni antenna is often a good choice. Especially if you can select an antenna with good gain figures, the nature of an omni-directional antenna in radiating in a 360 degree pattern allows communication with other devices and hubs in every direction. These outdoor antennas can be wall or pole mounted and can be supplied with various levels of gain depending on the antenna size – see the DMO8684 for a 4.3 dBi gain in a compact package or the WMO86916 for a 5.8 dBi gain version which is a bit larger.
For external mount antennas where the following terminal antennas cannot be deployed, sometime a compact wall-mount antenna offers a useful alternative. Perhaps the radio is housed in a metal enclosure or a cabinet and a terminal antenna will not fit directly onto it. An antenna like the Wall-Blade which has a small footprint might well solve the problem.
For terminal mount antennas i.e. antennas that mount directly onto the device or terminal, typically you can go with a small stub antenna like the WS868 and the MW868 or a dipole style antenna similar to the BKR868 or HWD868. The stub antennas are smaller, however usually offer lower performance than the longer whip or dipole antennas. The selection of the terminal antenna depends on the environment in terms of space available and the desired performance. Captive mount terminal antennas are also possible where the antenna is locked in placed with a nut so it cannot be removed and the antenna is connected via an integrated coaxial cable and connector – for an example see the W868-FLY.
For internal mount antennas, a simple solution is a groundplane independent PCB such as the Morava antenna. These antenna mount inside a non-metal enclosure or terminal housing with a minimum of 15mm clearance from any metal components or surfaces and can provide a discreet way of enabling 868 MHz communications without the need for external antennas.
Hopefully the above information has given you some food for thought about possible LoRa antenna solutions and offered some suggestions on how to enable antenna solutions with your application. For customers not using 868 MHz, for example in the USA or New Zealand, many of the above antennas can be re-tuned for 915 MHz if required or have 915 MHz options.
For customers in Europe, the DMO8684 can be purchased via the Connex webshop. For other questions, requests and quotes for 868 MHz LoRa antennas, please feel free to contact us.
The DMO8684 is a 4.3 dBi 868 MHz dual mount omni antenna designed for continuous outdoor deployment for IoT, LoRa and Sigfox applications
EAD has today announced a new outdoor 868 MHz omni antenna for IoT things applications. The DMO8684 (DMO – Dual Mount Omni) has been designed for continuous outside use and can be either pole or wall-mount using the same innovative bracket. Ideal for remote sites using ISM band frequencies including networks using LoRa and Sigfox, this new 868 MHz omni antenna is a flexible solution enabling fast and clean installations.
With 4.3 dBi peak gain, the DMO8684 offers exceptional performance in a fibreglass sheath that measures approximately 500mm in length. Terminated in a N-Female connector, this outdoor 868 MHz omni antenna can be used with a variety of jumper cable types to tailor cable lengths and connectors to each individual application. It can be used with cables such as BWL195, RF240 and RF400.
The zinc plated mounting bracket supplied with the DMO8684 antenna allows for mast/pole mount and can be reversed and used for wall-mounting.
The DMO8684 antenna should start shipping from the end of June 2018. For more information, please contact us.
A higher gain wall-mount 868 MHz omni antenna is also available called the WMO8685.
For small orders once released, the DMO8684 will be available via the Connex webshop.
This month’s hot product is our WMO8685 868 MHz high gain omni antenna designed for 868 MHz frequency bands including LoRa, Sigfox and other IoT technologies where an outdoor, high gain antenna is required.
Offering up to 5.5 dBi gain, the WMO8685 is a slim, but robust fibreglass antenna mounted onto a L-bracket and fed by 5M cable and a SMA-Male connector as standard.
A 915 MHz version is also available, the WMO9156, with a peak gain of 6 dBi.
Other 868 MHz antennas are also available in our range as well as mid-range solutions offering 3 dBi gain – check out the PMO915-3 which can be easily re-tuned to cover 868 MHz.
For more information, please contact us or your local distributor/reseller.