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.
The WCO-868-WMB 868 MHz compact outdoor wall-mount omni-directional antenna is ideal for LoRA, LPWAN and IoT external antenna deployments
The WCO-915-WMB 915 MHz compact outdoor wall-mount omni-directional antenna is a discreet solution for LoRa and LPWAN applications
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.
The WMO86916 high gain omni antenna is designed for outdoor wall-mount applications using 868 MHz and 915 MHz frequency bands
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 Button 868 915 MHz compact low profile antenna is a discreet screw-mounted puck antenna designed for LoRa and licence free frequency bands
The Wall-Blade antenna 868 MHz external mount antenna is designed for ISM band and LORA applications where a terminal mount antenna is unsuitable
When selecting ISM-band and LoRa terminal antennas, there are many options for your application. Download our ISM band terminal antennas overview here:
If you are mounting antennas directly onto a terminal or enclosure using 169 MHz, 433 MHz, 868 MHz or 915 MHz, then the flyer has some suggestions for antenna choices. Our portfolio is not limited to these antennas and we have a full range for terminal antennas through to high gain omni antennas like the DMO8684 or the WMO8685.
The 169 MHz antennas are used for the European licence-free metering band at 169 MHz and we can offer terminal or wall-mount antennas at this frequency.
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.