Wireless Wi-Fi Antennas: Everything You Need to Know

Imagine what would’ve happened if Wi-Fi wasn’t invented, frustrating, right? Wi-Fi is the technology our devices use to connect to the internet by receiving radio waves transmitted by routers on specific frequencies. One of the critical elements of this transmission is the Antenna, which receives incoming transmissions and distributes outgoing ones.There are two types of antennas: the first type regroups the internal ones embedded within the device itself, and the second includes the antennas mounted externally on the router or receiver.

Antenna Power Gain

An antenna’s power gain is the ratio between input power and output power. It indicates how efficient the antenna regarding transforming the electrical energy into radio waves.In other words, this number shows how effective is the transmission of an antenna compared to the reference antenna. The higher the gain is, the better is the antenna’s range.The Power Gain is measured in relative decibels (dB), for which there are two standards used by manufacturers: dBi, or decibels relative to an isotropic antenna and dBd, decibels relative to a dipole reference antenna. The first is the one widely used in Wi-Fi antennas, while the latter’s zero point corresponds to 2.14 dBi.

Types of Wireless Wi-Fi Antennas

Wireless Wi-Fi Antennas

#1. Omnidirectional Antennas

An omnidirectional antenna can receive and transmit signals from and to any direction. It is widely used in smartphones, tablets, and routers as these devices require a 360° radio transmission. Some factories use what’s called a rubber duck antenna, which is a short monopole one for which the gain is 2 to 9 dBi,which is similar to the antenna used in walkie-talkie radios. Omnidirectional antennas can be used in a home network, your car, or any location where a point-to-point connection isn’t that efficient.

#2. Uni-Directional Antennas

In some situation, a 360-degree coverageis not needed,and we’d rather have a powerful signal instead of one that’s omnidirectional. In those cases, we use a Uni-Directional Antenna that has an extended Wi-Fi network range compared to the omnidirectional ones,and that can reach farther places, as it focuses more energy to single corners or hard-to-reach places in factories and such. There are particular types of directional antennas that include:

Yagi-Uda

Once reserved to catching TV signals, Yagi antennas can currently be used for long-distance Wi-Fi signals. These antennas have high gain, starting from 12dBi and are widely used to extend the range of outdoor hotspots. You can make this antenna yourself, although making a contenna is way easier.

Cantenna

A cantenna is a super antenna with a high frequency of 2.4Ghz and a gain that can reach 12 dBi. It supports a beam width of 30 degrees too. A cantenna can be used indoor and outdoor and can easily be made as part of a Do-It-Yourself project.

Backfire antennas

It’s a directional antenna that has a parabolic form with an excellent gain that can reach 15 dBi. This antenna is excellent for point-to-point and point-to-multipoint transmissions thanks to its significant gain,and it has a small size.

How to get a better signal?

When your Wi-Fi signal starts getting weaker or it isn’t enough to cover your entire house anymore, you can perform a Wi-Fi network upgrade by installing an exterior antenna on your router. You can do that for a home network or an office one. The latter may require installing new Wi-Fi hotspots. If you’re planning to perform such upgrade, here are some tips for you:

  • Make sure your Wi-Fi device is compatible with third-party antenna upgrades
  • Get an omnidirectional antenna as they’re better for a broader coverage
  • Check the properties of the desired antenna, especially its gain and frequency

Along with installing a new Antenna, there are many tips to boost your signal. You can check some of them here.

Signal Boosting for Wi-Fi Antennas

If you upgrade your network with a new antenna,but your signal is still weak, you may be suffering from a weak radio transmitter, not a defective antenna. To solve that, you need a repeater which is a device used to amplify your router’s signal which improves the signal.

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