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Topic 7_2 Antennas


- used to increase the range of wireless LAN systems

-proper antenna selection can also enhance the
security of the wireless LAN.
- properly chosen and positioned antenna can reduce
the signal leaking, and make signal interception
extremely difficult.
- Antennas are passive devices  gain in one
direction results from a concentration of power and
is accompanied by a loss in other directions.
- Antennas are reciprocal devices; that is, the same
design works equally well as a transmitting or a
receiving antenna and in fact has the same gain.

Simple Antennas

The half-wave dipole antenna (Hertz antenna) is a

simple, practical antenna which is in common use.

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dipole  two parts

A dipole antenna does not have to be one-half

wavelength in length, but this length is handy for
impedance matching.

Actually, in practice its length should be slightly less

(95%) than one-half the free-space wavelength to
allow for capacitive effects.

Therefore, the length of a half-wave dipole, in

meters, is approximately

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One way to think about the half-wave dipole is to

consider an open circuited length of parallel-wire
transmission line, as shown in Figure(a) below.

The line has a voltage maximum at the open end, a

current maximum one-quarter wavelength from the
end, and a very high standing-wave ratio.

Topic 7_2 Antennas

VSWR. The voltage standing wave ratio

(VSWR) is defined as the ratio of the maximum
voltage to the minimum voltage in a standing
wave pattern.

A standing wave is developed when power is

reflected from a load. So the VSWR is a
measure of how much power is delivered to a
device as opposed to the amount of power that
is reflected from the device.

If the source and load impedance are the

same, the VSWR is 1:1; there is no reflected

So the VSWR is also a measure of how closely

the source and load impedance are matched.

For most antennas in WLAN, it is a measure of

how close the antenna is to a perfect 50 Ohms.

VSWR bandwidth. The VSWR bandwidth is

defined as the frequency range over which an
antenna has a specified VSWR. Often, the 2:1
VSWR bandwidth is specified, but 1.5:1 is also

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Radiation Resistance

The radiation of energy from a dipole is quite

apparent if we measure the impedance at the
feedpoint in the center of the antenna.

An open-circuited lossless transmission line would

look like a short circuit at a distance of one-quarter
wavelength from the open end.

At distances slightly greater than or less than one-

quarter wavelength, the line would appear reactive.
There would never be a resistive component to the
feedpoint impedance, since an open-circuited line
has no way of dissipating power.

A lossless half-wave dipole does not dissipate power

either, but it does radiate power into space. The
effect on the feedpoint impedance is the same as if a
loss had taken place.

Whether power is dissipated or radiated, it

disappears from the antenna and therefore causes
the input impedance to have a resistive component.
The half-wave dipole looks like a resistance of about
70 Ω at its feedpoint.

The portion of an antenna’s input impedance that is

due to power radiated into space is known, as the
radiation resistance.

- this resistance does not represent loss in the

conductors that make up the antenna.

Topic 7_2 Antennas

The ideal antenna just described radiates all the

power supplied to it into space.

A real antenna, has losses in the conductor and

therefore has an efficiency less than one. This
efficiency can be defined as

Topic 7_2 Antennas

Unlike the isotropic radiator, the half-wave dipole

does not radiate uniformly in all directions.

The field strength is at its maximum along a line at a

right angle to the antenna and is zero off the ends of
the antenna.

RF Antennas
An RF antenna is a device used to convert high
frequency (RF) signals on a transmission line (a
cable or waveguide) into propagated waves in the

The electrical fields emitted from antennas are called

beams or lobes.

Three general categories of antennas

omni-directional, semi-directional, and highly-

Omni-directional (Dipole) Antennas

Simple to design, the dipole antenna is standard

equipment on most access points.

The dipole is an omni-directional antenna, because it

radiates its energy ‘equally’ in all directions around
its axis.
Directional antennas concentrate their energy into a
cone, known as a "beam."

Topic 7_2 Antennas

Radiation Pattern or Antenna pattern.

θ : angle of elevation.

radiation pattern  the graphical

representation of the radiation properties of
the antenna as a function of space.

 describes how the antenna radiates energy

out into space (or how it receives energy).

 an antenna radiates energy in all

directions, at least to some extent, so the
antenna pattern is actually three-

It is common, however, to describe this 3D

pattern with two planar patterns, called the
principal plane patterns.

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These principal plane patterns can be

obtained by making two slices through the
3D pattern through the maximum value of
the pattern or by direct measurement. It is
these principal plane patterns that are
commonly referred to as the antenna

- not much information is lost when only two

planes are shown.

Figure below shows a possible coordinate

system used for making such antenna

Topic 7_2 Antennas

principal plane patterns  azimuth plane

pattern and elevation plane pattern.

azimuth  horizon
elevation  vertical

When used to describe antenna patterns, these

terms assume that the antenna is mounted (or
measured) in the orientation in which it will be

In Figure above, the x-y plane (φ = 90 deg) is

the azimuth plane.

The azimuth plane pattern is measured when

the measurement is made traversing the entire
x-y plane around the antenna under test.

The elevation plane is then a plane orthogonal

to the x-y plane, say the y-z plane (θ = 90

The elevation plane pattern is made traversing

the entire y-z plane around the antenna under

The patterns are shown as plots in polar


Topic 7_2 Antennas

RF Antenna Concepts

A radio wave is actually made of up two fields, one
electric and one magnetic. These two fields are on
planes perpendicular to each other.

The sum of the two fields is called the electro-

magnetic field. Energy is transferred back and forth
from one field to the other, in the process known as

E-plane  parallel with the antenna element

H-plane  perpendicular to the antenna element

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Polarization is the physical orientation of the antenna

in a horizontal or vertical position. The electric field
is parallel to the radiating elements so, if the
antenna is vertical, then the polarization is vertical.

􀂃 Horizontal polarization - the electric field is

parallel to the ground
􀂃 Vertical polarization - the electric field is
perpendicular to the ground

Vertical polarization, which is typically used in

wireless LANs, is perpendicular to the Earth’s plane.


Antenna gain is specified in dBi, which means

decibels referenced to an isotropic radiator.

Antennas have passive gain, which means they do

not increase the power that is input into them, but
rather shape the radiation field to lengthen or
shorten the distance the propagated wave will travel.

The higher the antenna gain, the further the wave

will travel, concentrating its output wave more
tightly so that more of the power is delivered to the
destination (the receiving antenna) at long distances.

Topic 7_2 Antennas


- narrowing, or focusing antenna beams increases

the antenna’s gain (measured in dBi).

Beamwidth  the “width” of the RF signal beam that

the antenna transmits.

- vertical beamwidth measured in degrees 

perpendicular to the Earth's surface.
- horizontal beamwidth measured in degrees 
parallel to the Earth's surface.

Selecting an antenna with appropriately wide or

narrow beamwidths is essential in having the desired
RF coverage pattern.

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Practical Situation

Imagine a long hallway in a hospital. There are

rooms on both sides of the hallway, and instead of
using several access points with omni antennas, you
have decided to use a single access point with a
semidirectional antenna such as a patch antenna.

The access point and patch antenna are placed at

one end of the hallway facing down the hallway. For
complete coverage on the floors directly above and
below this floor a patch antenna could be chosen
with a significantly large vertical beamwidth such as
60-90 degrees.

After some testing, you may find that your selection

of a patch antenna with 80 degrees vertical
beamwidth does the job well.

Now the horizontal beamwidth needed must be

decided on. Due to the length of the hallway, testing
may reveal a high-gain patch antenna must be used
in order to have adequate signal coverage at the
opposite end.

Having this high gain, the patch antenna's horizontal

beamwidths are significantly narrowed such that the
rooms on each side of the hallway do not have
adequate coverage. Additionally, the high-gain
antenna doesn't have a large enough vertical
beamwidth to cover the floors immediately above
and below. In this case, you might decide to use two
patch antennas - one at each end of the hallway

Topic 7_2 Antennas

facing each other. They would both be low gain with

wide horizontal and vertical beamwidths such that
the rooms on each side of the hallway are covered
along with the floors above and below. Due to the
low gain, the antennas may each only cover a
portion (maybe half) of the length of the hallway.

Topic 7_2 Antennas

The 6dB Rule

Each 6 dB increase in EIRP equates to a doubling of

range. Conversely, a 6 dB reduction in EIRP
translates into a cutting of the range in half.

Rough estimate of the Path Loss for given distances

between transmitter and receiver at 2.4 GHz.

Topic 7_2 Antennas

Network Analyser

o/p i/p

Test Antenna


Topic 7_2 Antennas

Angle in degrees RX signal, dB below max

0 0
30 -2
60 -7
90 -12
120 -12
150 -17
180 -20
210 -18
240 -17
270 -10
300 -10
330 -3
360 Should be 0

Topic 7_2 Antennas

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Topic 7_2 Antennas

Antenna coverage patterns

Antenna coverage patterns are denoted by azimuth
and elevation charts. The azimuth chart shows a top-
down view of an antenna's coverage, while the
elevation chart shows a side view of the antenna's
coverage. An azimuth and elevation chart will allow
you to choose an antenna that maximizes coverage
where you need it and minimizes coverage where
you don't.

A manufacturer creates an azimuth chart by placing

the antenna in an RF-shielded room and then
transmitting a signal through the antenna. Using a
spectrum analyzer, the signal strength in milliwatts
is measured in a circle around the antenna. If the
antenna is omni-directional, such as a dipole, then
the signal strength will be roughly the same at all
points on the circle; if the antenna is directional,
such as a yagi, the signal strength will be higher in
front of the antenna than behind or beside the

Topic 7_2 Antennas

The outer ring of the azimuth chart represents the

strongest signal strength that was measured, and is
typically marked “0 dB”.

Inner rings represent a signal strength of some

number of dB below the strongest signal strength.
Note that the azimuth chart does not take the
distance from the antenna into account. The chart
shows the signal strength of each location relative to
each other location, not relative to some absolute
distance from the antenna or some absolute power

Reading an antenna’s azimuth and elevation chart is

Topic 7_2 Antennas

relatively simple. First, determine which direction the

antenna was oriented when it was tested. Common
practice is to point the antenna’s element at the
"zero degrees" (straight up) mark on the azimuth
chart and at the "90 degrees" (directly to the right)
mark on the elevation chart.

Some antennas will have an alignment mark on their

base to allow precision alignment when installing. To
determine the relative signal strength at some
number of degrees of rotation around the antenna,
find the radius on the azimuth chart that represents
that number of degrees of rotation. The point
circumference at which the line on the chart
intersects that radius represents the number of dB
below maximum that the antenna will put out in that

The elevation chart is created and read exactly the

same as the azimuth chart, except that it represents
coverage in a circle in the plane that is above, to the
front, below, and behind the antenna (a side-view
circle) instead of in a circle in the plane that is in
front, to the right, behind, and to the left of the
antenna (a top-down circle).

Topic 7_2 Antennas

Dipole Antennas

a.k.a half-wavelength (λ/2) dipole

The patterns shown in Figure below are those

resulting from a perfect dipole formed with two
thin wires oriented vertically along the z-axis.

The resulting 3D pattern looks kind of like a

donut with the antenna sitting in the hole and
radiating energy outward.

The strongest energy is radiated outward,

perpendicular to the antenna in the x-y plane.

Notice that the azimuth plane pattern is non-

directional, that is, the antenna radiates its

Topic 7_2 Antennas

energy equally in all directions in the azimuth


So the azimuth plane pattern is a circle,

passing through the peak gain at all angles,
shown in Figure below.

Topic 7_2 Antennas

From the elevation plane pattern we see that

the dipole antenna has an elevation plane
beamwidth of 78-degrees as indicated on the
pattern in Figure below by the two blue lines.

These lines are drawn where the gain is down

from the peak by 3 dB.

The elevation plane beamwidth is the total

angular width between the two 3-dB points on
the curve.

Topic 7_2 Antennas

The gain of the half-wave dipole is

approximately 2.2 dBi.

The value of 2.2 dBi is achieved at the horizon

in the elevation plane and everywhere in the
azimuth plane.

Note that the azimuth plane pattern is a circle

passing through the gain value of 2.2 dBi at all

Dipole Side-view

Coverage area of an omni-directional antenna

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Given these antenna patterns, a dipole

antenna should be mounted so that it is
vertically oriented with respect to the ground.

This results in the maximum amount of energy

radiating out into the intended coverage area.

The null in the middle of the pattern will point

up and down. Indoors, this typically isn’t a
concern because of the close proximity of the
ceiling and all the multipath present in the
indoor environment.

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Collinear Omni Antennas

In order to create an omnidirectional antenna

with higher gain, multiple omnidirectional
structures (either wires or elements on a
circuit board) can be arranged in a vertical,
linear fashion to retain the same
omnidirectional pattern in the azimuth plane
but a more focused elevation plane beam
which then has higher gain.

This is frequently referred to as a collinear


Note that the higher gain doesn’t imply that

the antenna creates more power.
It means that the same amount of power is
radiated in a more focused way.

A typical omni pattern is shown in Figure


Topic 7_2 Antennas

The antenna shown in the figure was formed

from an array of three dipoles, oriented along
the z-axis.

The resulting gain is about 5.8 dBi with an

elevation plane beamwidth of about 38

Topic 7_2 Antennas

degrees, as indicated again by the blue lines in

the elevation plane shown in the Figure 5c.

This beamwidth is significantly narrower than

the dipole.

-the energy radiated from this antenna is more

focused, resulting in higher gain (with respect
to the dipole).

As is typical of higher gain omnidirectional

antennas, the elevation plane shows side

These lobes are about 14 dB down from the

peak of the main lobes.

Note that the azimuth plane pattern is still the

same, circular pattern as in the dipole, but the
elevation plane pattern is much narrower,
indicating that the power is radiated in a more
directed way, thus producing a higher gain.

- The outer ring of the chart represents the

strongest signal of the antenna.

Topic 7_2 Antennas

These radiation patterns are valid only in the far-

field region; an observer must be far enough away
from the antenna that any local capacitive or
inductive coupling is negligible.

In practice this means a distance of at least several

wavelengths, and generally an actual receiver is at a
much greater distance than that. From this distance
the antenna would be more accurately represented
as a dot in the center of the graph.

The space close to the antenna is called the near-

field region and does not have the same directional

The distance from the center of the graph represents

the strength of the radiation in a given direction.

The scale is usually in decibels with respect to some

reference. Often the reference is an isotropic

Note that the farthest point on the graph from the

center is at 2.14 dBi; that is, the gain of a lossless
dipole, in its direction of maximum radiation, is 2.14
decibels with respect to an isotropic radiator.

Usually, the pattern is drawn so that the point of

maximum radiation is at the outside of the chart and
the reference level for that point is stated, as shown
in the figure.

Topic 7_2 Antennas

The half-wave dipole itself is sometimes used as a

reference. In that case, the gain of an antenna may
be expressed in decibels with respect to a halfwave
dipole, or dBd for short.

Since the gain of a dipole is 2.14 dBi, the gain of any

antenna in dBd is 2.14 dB less than the gain of the
same antenna expressed in dBi. That is,

G(dBd) = G(dBi) − 2.14dB

Topic 7_2 Antennas

High-gain omni-directional antennas

- offer more horizontal coverage area, but the

vertical coverage area is reduced
- an important consideration when mounting a high-
gain omni antenna indoors on the ceiling. If the
ceiling is too high, the coverage area may not reach
the floor, where the users are located.


Omni-directional antennas are used when coverage

in all directions around the horizontal axis of the
antenna is required.
-most effective where large coverage areas are
needed around a central point. For example, placing
an omni-directional antenna in the middle of a large,
open room would provide good coverage.

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Omni-directional antennas are commonly used for

point-to-multipoint designs with a star topology

Semi-directional Antennas

Some semi-directional antennas types frequently

used with wireless LANs are Patch, Panel, and Yagi
- generally flat and designed for wall mounting.

These antennas direct the energy from the

transmitter significantly more in one particular
direction rather than the uniform, circular pattern
that is common with the omni-directional antenna.

Semi-directional antennas often radiate in a

hemispherical or cylindrical coverage pattern.

Topic 7_2 Antennas


Semi-directional antennas are ideally suited for short

and medium range bridging e.g two office buildings
that are across the street from one another and
which need to share a network connection

In a large indoor space, if the transmitter must be

located in the corner or at the end of a building, a
corridor, or a large room, a semi-directional antenna
would be a good choice to provide the proper

Yagi antennas are most often used on short to

medium length building-to-building bridging up to 2
miles (3.3 km).

Patch and panel antennas are more typically used on

short range building-to-building and in-building
directional links.

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Highly-directional Antennas

- emit the most narrow signal beam of any

antenna type and have the greatest gain of
these three groups of antennas.

Highly-directional antennas are typically concave,

dish-shaped devices.

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These antennas are ideal for long distance, point-to-

point wireless links.

Some models are referred to as parabolic dishes

because they resemble small satellite dishes.

Others are called grid antennas due to their

perforated design for resistance to wind loading.

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High-gain antennas do not have a coverage area that
client devices can use.
These antennas are used for point-to-point
communication links, and can transmit at distances
up to 25 miles (42 km).

Potential uses of highly directional antennas might

be to connect two buildings that are miles away from
each other and have no line of sight obstructions
between them.

Additionally, these antennas can be aimed directly at

each other within a building in order to "blast"
through an obstruction. This setup would be used in
order to get network connectivity to places that
cannot be wired and where normal wireless networks
will not work.

Highly directional antennas have a very narrow

beamwidth and must be accurately aimed at each