How To Choose the Best Antenna for A LoRaWAN Gateway
Choosing the right antenna for your LoRaWAN gateway can be a challenge. There are so many different types of antennas, and they all have their own strengths and weaknesses. The key is to be smart and know what you need your antenna to do, and then find the product that best meets that requirement.
A gateway antenna is an IoT device that connects your LoRaWAN or Gateway system to the Internet.
Gateway antennas generally come in two types: fixed and portable.
Fixed gateway antennas are usually mounted on walls or other surfaces, while portable ones are designed to be hand-held or worn on your head.
How Do I Choose a Gateway Antenna?
LoRaWAN is an open standard that allows for interoperability between IoT devices from different manufacturers. This means you can use any LoRaWAN-compatible gateway device as a connector for your home's devices to the internet. However, some gateways are better than others at performing specific tasks—for example, an antenna that can transmit and receive signals in both directions (transmit/receive diversity) will be more effective at sending data than one that only transmits or receives signals in one direction (monopole).
Consideration Of the Number of IoT Devices
First, consider how many IoT devices will connect to your gateway's antenna.
If there are only one or two devices that need reception, then an Omnidirectional antenna might be enough. But if you're expecting lots of devices to connect to the gateway at once, then an omnidirectional antenna might make sense. The more devices that connect at once in a specific radio, the more bandwidth will be needed by each device—so an omnidirectional antenna won't be able to provide as much bandwidth as a directional one would.
Consideration Of the Distance from the Access Point
Next, think about how far away from the gateway's access point you'll be installing it.
Generally speaking, shorter antennas provide a better performance than longer ones because they have fewer elements and therefore less signal loss between them and the receiver. You'll also want to consider whether or not there's already a lot of radio interference in the area around where you plan on installing your antenna; if there is, then an omnidirectional antenna may be best because it will cover all directions equally well.
Consideration Of the Environmental Factors
Indoor connectors should use a magnetic mount antenna, a rubber duck mount antenna is good, while exterior gateways should normally use a glass fiber Lora antenna mount. Additionally, the environment is harsher for outdoor LoRaWAN gateways, whereas fiberglass antenna has strong weather resistance, corrosion resistance, UV resistance, anti-aging, and impact resistance, and still has a good performance in high temperature, low cold, and harsh environments between -45 and 110 degrees, making it more suitable for a variety of complex environments.
What Are the Key Specifications of Antennas?
To get the most out of your gateway antenna, make sure you know what kind it is and how it was designed. For example: if you live in an apartment building with many walls surrounding your home, then you'll need a directional antenna that has been designed for use in such a setting—one that's specifically designed for this purpose would be ideal for you.
You should also note whether or not there are any restrictions on where you can place your gateway antenna (if there are any). You may have to keep it away from windows or electrical outlets because they could interfere with its signal quality.
The key specifications of a gateway antenna are:
- Power Output
Gain is the amount of signal strength that the antenna can amplify. Most gateway antennas have a gain of 20 to 30dB.
For an Omnidirectional antenna, it is advised to choose an antenna with a gain of no more than 25 dBi and no less than 2 dBi. A directional antenna's strength must be 3 dBi higher than its Omni-directional equivalent for the same transmission range and wire length in order to ensure successful network connectivity.
Directivity is how much signal power is directed in a single direction (i.e., toward the transmitter or away from it).
Most gateway antennas have a directivity of ≤2.5dBi (decibels referenced to isotropic radiated power).
Polarization refers to whether an antenna sends or receives signals in a single plane—that is, horizontal or vertical.
Many gateway antennas are polarization-mirror-receivers (PMRs) and thus receive signals from both directions at once; this makes them suitable for use as both transmitters and receivers when paired with another antenna type.
Sensitivity is one of the most important specs in a gateway antenna because it determines how well it can pick up signals from far away.
A highly sensitive antenna will be able to pick up weaker signals from farther away, which means it will have a better range than an antenna with low sensitivity.
In addition to improving range, high-sensitivity antennas also have greater range than lower-sensitivity ones—so if you're looking for something with a long reach and great range, look no further!
The power output of an antenna is another important specification because it affects both its range and sensitivity. High-power antennas have more powerful signals that can travel further without losing their strength than low-power ones do; they also pick up weaker signals more clearly than those with low-power levels do.
Spring antennas, PCB, FPC, Ipex SMA antennas, and fiberglass antennas are examples of common LoRaWAN antenna types. Different antennas can be chosen to meet the LoRaWAN module's power and frequency range.
You can select a spring antenna, PCB antenna, or FPC antenna for a 100mW LoRa module. SMA rubber duck antennas are available for modules that are more powerful than 500mW. Magnetic mount antennas and glass fiber antennas are options for modules over 2W.
Our Thingpark Market Antennas Selection Products
A portable 8dBi dipole antenna for use with the Browan Outdoor Gateway, the Lora Antenna can function flawlessly in inclement weather and has protection for DC lighting. Fiberglass radome with a vertical polarized LoRa antenna that can operate in all weather.
It uses the open 868MHz band. With a maximum gain of 8dBi, it performs well as a core network for Sigfox and LoRa communications. With its fiberglass radome, this candle antenna is incredibly durable.
It is through and is secured by drilling because of its nut and seal, which have a rigid 17 cm straight strand size. It has an uFL connector and a 10cm size RG178 cable.
A pass-through antenna from Panorama Antennas that uses the 868MHz frequency bands. This antenna is perfect for Sigfox and LoRaWAN networks. The highest gain of this incredibly sturdy and covert antenna is 2dBi.
An antenna from Panorama Antennas that operates in 868MHz bands and with LoRa or Sigfox. The format of this anti-vandalism antenna is small and discrete. It has an SMA-m connector and is secured using drilling on the box or ceiling.
At the end of the day, choosing a proper antenna for your gateway depends on what you're trying to achieve with your applications. When selecting an antenna product for LoRaWAN networks, parameters including gain, directivity, polarization, sensitivity, and power output must be taken into account.