Monday, 16 December 2013

Five key considerations when deploying outdoor M2M antennas

We are witnessing an increasing number of outdoor deployments of antennas for M2M applications including security and CCTV systems, utilities, telemetry and monitoring and installations on roofs, walls, cabinets and other street furniture.  These applications are using many frequencies including 4G, 3G, LTE, GSM, WiFi / WLAN, 433 MHz and other ISM bands. There are also a wide breadth of antenna choices and we often see that many customers are unsure of what to consider when deploying antennas outdoors. So through this article we would like to give you some key points to consider.


One of the first questions to look at is where and how you are intending to mount the antenna. Some mounting methods are more likely to pose challenges in terms of weatherproofing that others.

Outdoor can have two interpretations - either the antenna is fully exposed to all elements or that the antenna is outside, but in a protected position. The position of mounting should have an influence on the antenna selected. If the antenna is fully exposed to all the weather mother-nature can throw at it, then the quality of the antenna materials should reflect that - i.e. fibreglass or UV-resistant plastics/sheath and weatherproof metal parts that will not oxidise or rust and also high quality accessories - mounting brackets, clamps, cables and connectors.

Antennas can be independent components such outdoor antennas for pole or wall-mount when usually as long as they are of quality construction and fully sealed then the bases are covered. When the antenna is cabinet, enclosure or street furniture mounted, then there is a point where the installation can become compromised.

For through-hole mount antennas, typically you have to drill a hole in the mounting surface and the antenna will have a stud (or hollow boss) through the middle of which the antenna cable exits. The antenna stud is placed through the hole in the mounting surface and there is a nut that is screwed onto the stud from underneath (the mounting surface) and holds the antenna in place. It is important to check the quality of the stud-nut combination. A weak stud and nut configuration does not lend itself to longevity. In addition, most quality antennas will have a thick, durable gasket sitting under the antenna so when the nut is tightened there is a really watertight seal where the antenna mounts. If the stud-mount antenna does not have a gasket or simply a meagre one, best to leave well alone. As a belt and braces approach, some installers add a thick layer of Mastick (waterproof bond) between the gasket and the mounting surface - this provides an even more durable seal to ensure absolute water tightness.


In the selection of the antenna, it is wise to understand if the radome, sheath, body and other antenna material is suitable for long term outdoor use. As mentioned previously, fibreglass or expressly UV-resistant materials should be used. There is nothing worse than purchasing an antenna with a white radome that yellows after a short time mounted outside. Also in terms of the mounting brackets and clamps, ensure that these are galvanised metal or made of materials that are not going to corrode or rust.


Time and time again we come across customers who have used low cost antennas outdoors and discovered to their cost that the antennas are very lightly glued or badly bonded and within a very short period of time the antennas are suffering an ingress of moisture or worse still the sheath or radome has become detached from the antenna body. This has two costs - one is the cost of a replacement antenna, second is the cost of second site visit which usually ends up costing way more than 10 antennas in the first place! We suggest you do check how well the antennas you intend to use are sealed and bonded and whether they are robust enough to withstand long term outdoor deployment.


The choice of connectors is also critical when deploying outdoor antennas. Standard M2M connectors such as SMA or FME aren't bad, but definitely fall behind N-Type or TNC connectors when considering outdoor RF installations. The N-Male / N-Female and TNC-Male / TNC-Female connectors might be larger than SMA or FME, but they are a lot more robust and can tolerate more abuse! Also it is worth considering the type of panel-mount or bulkhead connectors you intend to use - make sure you select a panel mount connector with an O-Ring so, for example, when you mount the N-Female Bulkhead Jack against the inside of an enclosure there is a rubber O-Ring sitting between the flange of the bulkhead connector and the enclosure making a nice tight seal protecting against the ingress of moisture.


As a rule of thumb, M2M antenna deployments are only as good as the design, the products, planning and installation. This also should include the accessories - waterproof tape, waterproof bonds and sealants help to make a good installation better. There is nothing wrong with covering an installed coaxial connector with waterproof tape to help ensure longevity. Also when deploying other products in the installation - surge protection, splitters, RF cable etc. do make sure these are designed into the installation effectively so they do not introduce a point of failure/weakness into the otherwise weatherproof installation.

We hope the above considerations will aid you in the design of your outdoor installation and the selection of the appropriate antennas and associated products. We wish you a successful deployment.

Monday, 2 December 2013

4G MIMO antennas - some installation ideas

Here are three different 4G MIMO antennas to complement your 4G/LTE router wireless broadband set up:

High Gain Directional MIMO antenna

LPM8270 MIMO Panel Antenna

The LPM8270 is a 800-2700 MHz MIMO panel antenna offering 8/9 dBi gain across both antenna elements. The antenna has two N-Female connectors on the back allowing the installer to connect up the RF jumper cable of choice - be low loss or extra low loss cable and allowing the length of cable used to be flexible. This antenna must be pointed generally in the direction of the local 4G tower.

Window Mount MIMO Antenna

WA700_2700 MIMO Window Antenna
The WA700_2700 window mount MIMO antenna can be installed on vehicle window (car, van, caravan, truck, bus etc.) or alternatively on a building window. With dual ports offering full band 700-2700 MHz support, the WA700_2700 is a discrete, but effective 4G multiband MIMO antenna. It is supplied with suction cups for mounting and can be operational with a minimum of fuss. The WA700_2700 can be purchased online at the Connex webshop.

Outdoor MIMO Omni Antenna

LMO7270 Outdoor MIMO Omni Antenna

The LMO7270 is an outdoor MIMO Omni antenna for 4G, LTE and multiband applications. Supporting the full 700-2700 MHz band, this antenna can be pole-mounted, wall-mounted, non-metal enclosure mounted and also a marine mount adapter. Supplied with 2 short pigtails with SMA, the LMO7270 is designed to accomodate customer-specific jumper cables i.e. specific in terms of length, cable grade and connectors. The LMO7270 is ideal for fixed broadband access, security, CCTV and monitoring as well as leisure marine applications.

For more information and other 4G antenna solutions, please contact us at

Two new Maxtena GPS L1 helical antennas released

Maxtena has introduced two new GPS L1 helical passive antennas that fit Sarantel product footprints These antennas are now available for Specialist Antennas. The M1575HCT-22P-MR and M1575HCT-22P-SMA offer either a recessed SMA or flush SMA respectively in a compact, lightweight sheath.

Alongside their compact form factors, these antennas offer competitive performance making them ideal for navigation, surveying/measuring equipment, military and security applications as well has handheld terminals where the antennas could end up in virtually any orientation.

These antennas complement the comprehensive portfolio of quality GPS and GNSS antennas available from us including antennas from PCTEL, Pulse and Smarteq.

For more information on these antennas or other GNSS antennas in our range, please contact us at

Monday, 18 November 2013

High gain or low profile?....... 4G/LTE antennas on the move

Broadband access on the move is becoming a way of life.... from WiFi access in cafes, on buses and trains to having a hotspot in the car so the family can access web-based services on the move - the demand for mobile broadband moves onwards and upwards!  And the whilst quality of the broadband service is not just down to signal quality (network capacity also counts!!!), a stable, reliable connection is a significant element of wireless broadband service - and key component of this should be the use of a quality 4G antenna.

For roof-mount applications for 4G, LTE, and multiband (includes 3G, GSM and cellular frequencies) services, the choices typically are either a magnetic or a permanent mount antenna. In addition, one must factor in antenna frequency,  gain, size, robustness, durability, cable quality and connector type. Over the last few years, I must have seen hundreds of vehicle mount antennas from tape mount to stud mount, magnetic mount to collar mount, from collinear whips to planar inverted F (PIFA) based antennas with wide variations in performance.

For most typical applications, here are some of my thoughts on what to look for when selecting a 4G roof-mount antenna:

1. Frequency suitability - is the antenna suitable for all 4G, LTE, 3G and GSM frequency bands? In Europe, 4G services are typically running in a range of frequency bands from 790 MHz to 2700 MHz, so any antenna selected should be able to operate effectively in this range.

2. Antenna gain - does the antenna offer a suitable gain figure? The larger the gain the more chance the antenna has of improving your signal, though one should exercise some caution as a number of disreputable vendors overstate their gain figures. Typically, multi-frequency band mobile roof mount antennas will be offering gain figures somewhere between 0 dBi and 4 dBi depending on the antenna type and solution.

3. Antenna size - yes, size does matter in this instance!! Typically, the larger the antenna, the better the gain and performance will be. Some antennas like the LTE-HIGAIN antennas are designed to be mounted on metal surfaces and the metal surface aids the antenna performance which means the antenna can be more discrete. Beware of small antennas offering impressively high gain figures!

4.  Robustness / Durability - is the antenna designed for outdoor use? Is the antenna going to last more than a few weeks? Build quality of mobile, roof-mount antennas is critical as the antenna should be able to survive the wind, rain, snow etc. and withstand a few knocks and scrapes. A low profile antenna is typically more durable than a whip and also less obvious, more discrete thereby minimising the risk of theft/vandalism.

5. Cable quality/connector - is the cable type and the connector suitable for the application. As a rule of thumb, thicker RF coaxial cable is less "lossy" than thinner cable so across a cable run of say 3M one will lose less signal with a thicker cable than a thinner cable.

When considering 4G roof mount antennas, keeping the above points in mind should aid in the selection of a good quality antenna for mobile applications. For further information, please feel free to e-mail us at or visit our EAD and SAS 4G antenna pages or alternatively shop at our Connex webshop.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Passive GPS patch fed by cable

EAD has added a passive internal GPS patch antenna measuring 20x20x4mm to its portfolio. This antenna, the GPS3602, is fed by a microcoax and an IPEX (U.FL connector) as an alternative to passive internal GPS patch fed by a pin.

GPS3602 passive GPS patch antenna

The GPS3602 is ideal for the straightforward design-in of a passive internal GPS antenna where the GPS module has a U.FL antenna receptacle available.

For more information and pricing, please visit or contact your local EAD distributor.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Two popular EAD 169 MHz antennas available to buy online

The H169-SMA 1/4 Wave helical 169 MHz antenna with SMA-male connector and the WMO-169-WMB 169 MHz wall mount omni antenna are both now available to buy online via the Connex website. Both antennas are optimised for 169 MHz at centre frequency and are in stock.

H169-SMA 1/4 Wave Helical Antenna
The H169-SMA is designed for metering applications to be mounted onto a panel mount SMA jack connector. This antenna is optimised for a groundplane size of 150x150mm.

WMO-169-WMB Antenna

The WMO-169-WMB is suitable for indoor and outdoor wall-mounted 169 MHz applications. The antenna is supplied with a L-bracket for wall-mounting and does not require an additional groundplane (it must however be mounted on the bracket supplied).

For more information or for RF cables to go with these antennas, please contact us.

Friday, 1 November 2013

4G Multiband MIMO Outdoor Omni antenna announced by EAD

Embedded Antenna Design Ltd (EAD) has announced an innovative 4G Multiband (4G/LTE/3G/GSM/Cellular) outdoor MIMO omni antenna for enclosure, wall and pole-mounting. Housed in a durable radome, the LMO7270 antenna is suitable for outdoor applications including leisure marine environments to improve reception of 4G (LTE), 3G and GSM signals.

LMO7270 MIMO 4G/Multiband Omni Antenna
The frequencies supported are 700, 800, 900, 1800, 1900, 2100 and 2600 MHz covering all major 4G, LTE, GSM and 3G frequency bands.

The LMO7270 measures approximately 187mm in height and 106mm at the base. It will be available with or without the wall/pole mount bracket and fed by two short pigtail cables, allowing for longer jumper cables to be connected for specific cable runs. The peak gain on each element is as follows:

Antenna Element 1
 Frequency     Peak Gain
 700-800 MHz     1.4 dBi
 800-960 MHz     2.0 dBi
 1710-2170 MHz     3.0 dBi
 2500-2700 MHz     3.3 dBi

Antenna Element 2
 Frequency     Peak Gain
 700-800 MHz     2.8 dBi
 800-960 MHz     3.0 dBi
 1710-2170 MHz     3.9 dBi
 2500-2700 MHz     3.9 dBi

The LMO7270 antenna is supplied with a gasket and a moulded nut as standard so the antenna can be installed as a permanent, through-hole mount solution to be mounted onto a non-metal surface or enclosure. Alternatively, the antenna can be ordered to include brackets for wall or pole mount.

The LMO7270 is just one of a comprehensive range of 4G, LTE, GSM, 3G and cellular antenna products available from EAD and Specialist Antennas. The Connex Technologies webshop has a wide range of 3G and 4G antennas available to purchase online. More information will be available on the LMO7270 antenna during November, in the meantime if you have any questions, please contact us via e-mail at

Friday, 11 October 2013

It takes (at least) two (ports) to MIMO.....

In wireless applications, where download speed is king, network devices are turning to MIMO antenna systems to help provide the bandwidth speeds customers require. The use of MIMO (Multiple In, Multiple Out) antennas in WiFi and LTE applications is helping to improve communcation performance and often critically in mobile applications download speeds.

These MIMO antennas can use spatial and/or polarisation (pattern) diverstity to improve signal at both the receive and transmit ends of the network.

From our wide portfolio antennas, we have summarised some our more popular MIMO antennas here for WiFi and 4G applications:

08-ANT-0943-3X - Triple Feed Dual Band (2-3GHz/4.9-5.9GHz) Indoor MIMO Antenna

The 3 port MIMO-Dual Band antenna manufactured by MP Antenna is a low profile Multi-Polarized MIMO (Multiple-Input-Multiple-Output) antenna  offering continuous wideband performance ( from 2-3GHz/4.9-5.9GHz for fixed installations for both indoor and outdoor applicaitons. The 3X-MIMO-Dual With three separate antenna feeds, it facilitates maximum diversity for 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz WiFi and WiMAX frequencies. This Triple Feed antenna has a built in ground plane and is supplied with low loss cables for maximum efficiency.

MPMI MIMO WLAN - Multiple Port MIMO WLAN antenna


The MPMI MIMO WLAN  from PCTEL omni antenna products are omnidirectional, operating at both the 2.4 GHz and the 5 GHz band. They are designed to support access points offering 802.11n coverage. The antennas are suitable for both indoor and outdoor installations, and include mounting hardware for wall/mast or ceiling mount applications, depending on model.

Models include:

MPMI2458-3-RPSMA .

FP2458-DP3X3 - Directional MIMO Panel antenna

The FP2458-DP3X3 is a dual-band MIMO WiFiantenna that offer spatial and polarization diversity across the 2.4-2.5 GHz and 5.1-5.9 GHz broadband wireless frequencies in a discrete, low-profile housing. This antenna was conceived to address enhanced coverage for areas with large numbers of mobile
data users such as stadiums, concerts etc. It has been designed with both outdoor and in-building installations in mind that are utilizing 802.11n wireless LAN access points across the 2.4 and 5 GHz frequency bands.

For 4G and LTE frequencies, we have a range of MIMO products:

LPM8270 - MIMO 4G Multiband Outdoor panel antenna

LPM8270 4G/Multiband Outdoor Directional MIMO Antenna

The LPM8270 from EAD is a 4G/3G/GSM multiband outdoor directional high gain antenna offering 8/9 dBi gain across the frequency range. It is dual polarised with 2 ports (2 x N-Female) to connect to 4G routers and modems requiring diversity across 2 antenna ports. Jumper cables can be customised to suit.

WA700/2700 - MIMO 4G Multiband Mobile antenna

WA700/2700 MIMO Window Mount antenna

The WA700_2700 is a 4G, 3G, GSM and cellular dual port MIMO antenna for mobile applications - supplied with suction cups for window mount, this antenna comes into its own in non-fixed environments where two ports MIMO antennas is required to improve download speeds.

For more information, please contact us via e-mail at Some of the above antennas are available at our Connex webshop.

Specialist Antennas is one of Europe's leading independent antenna suppliers and is a division of Embedded Antenna Design Ltd.

New Iridium Rugged Passive Omni Antenna introduced

A new product manufactured by SCAN Antenna is now available to buy online via the Connex webshop. The Iridium certified 65900 rugged passive omni antenna is offered bundled with a deck mount and provides Iridium connectivity for marine and harsh environments.

65900 Iridium Omni Antenna
The features of this antenna are:

- Passive Antenna for Iridium terminals
- Requires no pointing towards satellite
- Rugged design for reliable performance in harsh conditions
- Compact size
- Smooth surface low loss radome
- Mounts directly on poles and brackets with 1"-14NF threaded studs

Other Iridium antennas available to purchase online are the 9211D magnetic mount manufactured by PCTEL and the M1621HCT-SMA from Maxtena. Datasheets on these antennas can be downloaded at the Specialist Antennas GNSS antennas webpage.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Antenna options for ISM 433 MHz frequency band - a short guide

The ISM (industrial, scientific, medical) frequency band at 433 MHz is a popular frequency for control, telemetry and access applications. The choice of antenna types is not as great as at 2.4 GHz due to 433 MHz having a longer wavelength than 2.4 GHz, however in most cases there are enough off-the-shelf external antenna options available to address most customer requirements. We'll take a look a some of them here.

In terms of antenna connectors, we are going to assume for the benefit of this overview that the radios are fitted with SMA-Female Jack connectors. In practice, the connector may be different, RP-SMA or BNC or TNC for example.

433 MHz Whip antennas  - often a moulded 1/4 wave whip antenna. It offers more bandwidth than a stub or helical antenna and is often better suited to mobile applications because the inherent flexibility of the whip antenna (they can withstand knocks a bit better than rigid antennas). A typical 433 MHz whip antenna will be approximately 170mm in overall length and will look something like:

433 MHz Whip antenna

The moulded antennas can often have what is known as a skirt - this is the length of moulding that extends past the end of the barrel of the connector (this can be seen in the image above). The 1/4 Wave whip requires a groundplane to operate correctly. Whips can also be permanent mounted with a flying lead for applications where a bulkhead mounted antenna is not desirable.

433 MHz Helical antennas - often a moulded 1/4 wave helical antenna. A typical 1/4 helical antenna is approximately 75mm in overall length. Like a whip antenna, it needs a groundplane to operate effectively, but due to the design the bandwidth of the antenna is smaller than the whip antenna. A typical moulded helical antenna will look something like:

433 MHz Helical antenna

433 MHz Stub antenna - usually shorter than a 433 MHz Helical antenna, the stub is actually also a 1/4 wave helical antenna, but the pitch of the radiating coil is smaller. This affects bandwidth and gain, but when the overall length is 55mm, the small size of the antenna may make the compromised in performance worthwhile. A typical 433 MHz stub antenna would look like this:

433 MHz Stub antenna

433 MHz Wall-Mount - wall-mount antennas come in various flavours, high gain or low cable and with options for integrated cables. As a minimum the wall-mount antenna typically offers 2 dBi gain and is generally designed to feed via a cable to the radio. One example of a wall-mount 433 MHz antenna is shown below:

433 MHz Wall-Mount antenna

433 MHz High Gain Omni antennas -  usually designed for pole-mouned applications, these antennas are typically constructed using a fibreglass tube and can offer 5 dBi or 8 dBi gain. However the compromise for high gain omin antennas is the length of the antenna (they are not discrete), the 5 dBi antenna is approximately 140cm long and the 8 dBi nearly 3M long. These antennas will give you much more range that terminal mount or the wall-mount antennas and some applications require this performance. Below is an example of a high gain omin antenna for 433 MHz:

433 MHz High Gain Omni antenna

433 MHz Yagi antennas - directional antennas offer much higher gain than omni antennas as they radiate broadly in one direction. At 433 MHz frequencies, a Yagi antenna will be similar in size to a traditional TV antenna. 433 MHz Yagi antennas can vary in gain depending on the number of elments the yagi has, but typically the gain can range from 7 or 8 dBi to 14-15 dBi. These antennas are usually pole mounted with a jumper cable to the radio or modem and are designed for outdoor deployment. A typical six element yagi looks like this:

433 MHz Yagi antenna (6 Element)

433 MHz Panel antenna - a panel antenna is also directional in its radiation pattern, more discrete than a yagi antenna, but not offering as much gain, typically gain at 433 MHz could be 6 to 10 dBi. The panel antenna can usually be wall or pole mounted and is fed by a jumper cable. A typical panel antenna looks like this:

The above antennas are the common options for 433 MHz applications - there are of course more specialist antennas such as robust low profile magnetic mounts or collinear vehicle mount antennas - but in many applications a terminal mount, an omni or a directional antenna will fit the bill. The challenge is to understand the trade-offs in performance and select the correct antenna for your application.

For further information, please visit our websites or contact us via e-mail at

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Maxtena M1621HCT-SMA antenna now available to buy online

The popular Maxtena M1621HCT-SMA antenna is now available to purchase online from the Connex webshop. The product is in stock and ready for dispatch.

M1621HCT-SMA at the Connex webshop

The M1621HCT-SMA is a passive helical style antenna for Iridium applications. A discrete product, the antenna is terminated in a SMA-Male connector. It's small size - just 48mm in height - make idea for mobile terminal applications. The datasheet can be downloaded here via the SAS webpage.

The M1621HCT-SMA antenna is just one antenna from an extensive range of GPS and GNSS antennas from Specialist Antennas including roof-mount, magnetic mount, timing and reference and internally mounted antennas, For more information, please contact us with your requirements.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

New Access Point Enclosure Brochure

A new weatherproof enclosure for access points brochure is now available from PCTEL. Summarising the wide range of PCTEL NEMA-rated enclosures for access points from Cisco, Aruba and Motorola with options for ventilation, PoE, antenna ports and cabling, the brochure is a go to reference point for what is available. The enclosures are typically built and configured to order.

You can download the brochure from the SAS Press Release here.

For further information and to price up an exact configuration, please contact us.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Keeping the elements out of your network - NEMA enclosures from PCTEL

Specialist Antennas PCTEL's NEMA rated enclosures are designed to protect a good number of access points from various manufacturers from the elements including wet, corrosive and dusty environments whilst adding security against theft or vandalism. Lightweight and rugged, they are designed to provide maximum durability whilst making handling and installation easier and more straightforward for the installers.

The features of these enclosures include:

• High impact resistance: 1200-1400 in-lb Falling Dart Impact per ASTM 3029
• Ratings: UL/cUL-508A, UL/cUL-50E Type NEMA 3R, 4, 4X, 12, IP66, F1 UV-light, 5VA flammability
• Flat lid surface for easy HMI/pilot device mounting
• Latches and hinges do not penetrate the enclosure
• High performance inserts, molded bosses and integrated hasp lock
• Multi-directional mounting foot kit standard with all models
• Sizes from 6x6 to 18x16 inches
• Seamless gasket for water-tight and dust-tight seal for IP66 integrity
• Customizable mounting panels
• Industrial grey gloss finish

The PCTEL NEMA range accomodates most acces point lines from Cisco in most environments including the following CISCO access points: AP1200, AP1242, AP1250, AP2600, AP3500 and AP3600.

For more information, please contact us on telephone 01280 824055 or via email at

Specialist Antenna Solutions is a specialised distributor of antennas, RF accessories, connectors and cables from market leading suppliers such as Smarteq, Laird, Sirio, MPAntenna, Star-H, Beta Cavi, and more. We offer standard antennas with customised versions available - we can customise cable lengths and connectors in-house. We also offer custom cables based on RG174, RG316, RG58, BW195 and BWL400 terminated with your choice of connectors on rapid turn-around.

Multi-band ceiling antenna for in-building 4G and 3G network deployments

The Connex webshop now has the Laird CMD69273 2 port MIMO ceiling mount antenna available. It is intended to address 3G and 4G inbuilding applications. An aesthetically pleasing antenna, the CMD69273 is designed to be attached to a ceiling grid or ceiling tile. With excellent peak gain figures for a ceiling mount antenna, this is an ideal MIMO antenna for indoors/in-building build outs of 3G and 4G multiband networks.

CMD69273 4G/3G/GSM Ceiling Mount Antenna

Antenna Specification:

Frequency: 690-2700 MHz
698-806 MHz < 2.5: 1.0
806-960 MHz < 2.0: 1.0
1710-2110 MHz < 2.0: 1.0
2110- 2170 MHz < 2.5: 1.0
2300- 2700 MHz < 2.0: 1.0
Nominal Peak Gain
698-960 MHz 3.5 dBi
1710-1990 MHz 5.5 dBi
2100-2700 MHz 4.6 dBi
Average Efficiency
698-960 MHz 90% (max: 96%)
1710-1990 MHz 91% (max: 95%)
2100-2700 MHz 80% (max: 86%)
Polarization Vertical
Pattern Omnidirectional
Input Impedance 50 Ω
Maximum Power 100 W

The CMD is in stock now and is terminated with a 30cm cable and N-Female connector. Go to the product page on the Connex webshop here.

Monday, 8 July 2013

4 of the best LTE and 4G Omni antennas for site offices

Site offices needing the full range of communications services can be a challenge especially in environments where the locations are remote or temporary and fixed line communications cannot be easily commissioned. In these cases, the only option is wireless access and for data applications using a 3G or 4G / LTE network is an obvious answer for higher data rates. Often site offices are cabins constructed of metal and as a result the cabins themselves can block the wireless signals for users inside. In this case a wireless antenna is often deployed outside the site office to optimise reception.

Here we look at 4 of the best 4G and LTE omni antennas for site offices.

(An omni (or omni-directional) antenna is an antenna that radiates in every direction and does not needing to be pointed at the local tower or base station. Directional antennas (such as TV antennas for example) need to be pointed at the transmitter, omni antennas can receive signals from all directions thereby often receiving signal from more than one local tower). 

High Gain Omni Antenna - The FGO - a truly high gain omni offering 4-5 dBi gain across the bands without the need for mounting onto a large metal surface (groundplane) and affords users the best in omni-directional performance. Of durable construction with a Fibreglass sheath to withstand the elements, the FGO is designed for pole-mount or wall-mount deployment. When coupled with various low loss cable options connecting to a 4G router or modem inside the site office, the FGO provides effective access to wireless services. You can download the datasheet here.

High Gain Magnetic Low Profile Antenna - The LTE-HIGAIN-MAG - based on the high-quality 4G multiband, low profile antenna from Laird, this antenna should be mounted on metal surface for optimum performance. With good gain across the bands, this antenna is supplied with 4M of cable terminated in a SMA-Male as standard. It can be mounted on a metal roof of a site office and then the cable can be run inside. As the antenna is low profile, it is less susceptible to damage, especially useful in construction or mining applications. The LTE-HIGAIN-Mag is available to purchase from our webshop.

Cost-Effective Omni Dipole Antenna - For a cost-effective, site office omni antenna solution, the LGGNF, based on Laird's OC69271 is a practical choice. With multiband LTE, 4G, 3G and GSM frequency support, this antenna is compact and discrete and suitable for outdoor mounting. As it is terminated in a N-Female connector, it can be bundled with a variety of low loss cables for connectivity to the router inside. The datasheet on this antenna can be downloaded here.

Window-Mount MIMO Antenna - The MIMO-Blade from EAD is another omni-directional antenna for window-mount applications. If mounting one of the above antennas outside, is really not practical or feasible for whatever reason, then this compact MIMO (multiple-in / multiple out) 4G multiband antenna is a great alternative. With two antenna elements and two cable feeds each connecting to an antenna port on the router, the MIMO-Blade can be stuck to the inside of a site office window using the suction cups supplied with the antenna.

In most environments, the above omni antennas should address site office needs. In remote areas, directional antennas may be required for reliable 3G and 4G access, these come in various form factors and types such as MIMOcompact 4G panel, standard panel, and yagi antennas. For more information on any of the above solutions, please feel free to contact us at or visit our websites for addition antenna options as well as RF cabling and accessories such as lightning protection, power dividers etc.

Friday, 5 July 2013

LPM8270 Dual Polarised MIMO 4G/3G/GSM Directional antenna now shipping

EAD is pleased to introduce the LPM8270 dual polarised MIMO directional compact panel antenna. With gain of 9 dBi on the lower band (790-960 MHz) and 8 dBi on the upper bands (1710-2170 / 2500-2700 MHz), the LPM8270 is a discrete solution for outdoor access to 4G/Multiband networks.

 LPM8270 4G MIMO Antenna

The antenna is terminated on the back with 2 x N-Female connectors so that jumper cables of the correct length and grade (i.e very low loss cables for longer cable runs) can be specified for each installation.

For more information, you can download the datasheet at the EAD website here. Alternatively the antenna can be purchased through EAD's sales channels or via the Connex webshop.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Two very neat antennas for 3G & 4G on the move

For 3G and 4G frequencies, we have two very neat, unique antenna products that can be used for mobile applications. The LTE-HIGAIN products and the WA700/2700 are high quality antennas for external mounting and window-mounting respectively.

The LTE-HIGAIN range is based on a dome-shaped low profile antenna with either magnetic or permanent mount. Covering the 700-2700 MHz, worldwide 4G, 3G and GSM frequencies are supported. When mounted onto a metal surface (such as a car roof), the LTE-HIGAIN antenna offers a gain of around 4 dBi. The antenna dome part of the antenna can be supplied as a black or white radome. This antenna is a durable, robust solution for outdoor, mobile applications.

The LTE-HIGAIN-MAG is the magnetic mount antenna. Supplied on a heavy duty, high pull strength chrome-finished magnetic base, the LTE-HIGAIN-MAG is supplied with 12' (approx. 4M) of cable and as standard is terminated in a SMA-Male connector.

The LTE-HIGAIN-PERM is the permanent mount antenna. It is supplied with a discrete permanent mount and is terminated in 17' (just over 5M) cable and a SMA-Male connector as standard.

The WA700/2700 is a MIMO 4G, 3G and GSM window-mount omni antenna. Supplied with suction cups to attach to a window, the WA700/2700 has two antenna elements inside and two feeder cables allowing user to connect routers and terminals that have 2 antenna ports for MIMO operation to maximise download speeds. The WA700/2700 is supplied with SMA-Male or TS9 connectors as standard.

EAD and Specialist Antennas have an extensive range of 3G and 4G antennas for fixed, mobile and terminal applications covering omni-directional antennas, directional antennas, low profile and terminal antennas. For more information, please contact us or download the datasheets from our websites. A selection of the antennas can be ordered at Connex Technologies Ltd.

Friday, 31 May 2013

HGO-3G omni antenna upgraded to HGO-4G by adding 2600 MHz support

SAS is pleased to announce that the Sirio's HGO-3G high gain omni blade antenna has been upgraded to the HGO-4G with immediate effect and is now shipping.

By adding support for the 2600 MHz band to complement the 900/1800/2100 MHz frequencies (GSM and 3G bands), the HGO-4G can support 4G and LTE applications in the 2500-2700 MHz band.

This addition of the 2600 MHz increases the versatility of the HGO enabling high gain omni functionality into applications such as CCTV and security, broadband access, fixed line back up and many other applications where high gain directional antennas are unsuitable. As the HGO is omni-directional, it can often see more than one local network mast unlike a directional antenna thereby offering a level of redundancy that a directional antenna cannot.

Electrically, the HGO-4G still offers 5-6 dBi gain across the bands and mechanically the form factor is unchanged.

There are two cable options: 0.5M cable length and SMA or 5M cable length and SMA. SAS can supply low loss jumper cables for the 0.5M cable version as required.

**Please note that the HGO-4G does not support the 800 MHz band and therefore does not support 4G applications that run at 800 MHz.

A selection of our 4G antennas can be purchased online at our webshop.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

The 10 most comon RF coaxial connectors for wireless applications and how to identify them

We regularly take calls from customers looking to connect antennas to routers, dongles, access points and gateways or looking for RF coaxial pigtail cables to connect from one port to another. It is clear that in a world of ever increasing wireless devices, there is plenty of confusion about which connector is which.

Here, we aim to shed some light on the most common connectors for wireless applications and help you identify which connector you require. Be aware the informtion in this article is not "definitive" as some connectors look very similar to each other i.e. CRC9 and TS9, but at a minimum it should help you narrow down your connector search to one or two options.


The most common wireless connectors on routers, access points and gateways. There are typically two types of SMA connector:

SMA-Male (SMA Plug) - Either a nickel plated or gold plated brass barrel (often hex shaped) with thread on the inside and a pin in the middle. The SMA-Male connector looks like this:

SMA-Male Plug

SMA-Female (SMA Jack) - Either a nickel plated or gold plated brass barrel with a thread on the outside of the barrel and no pin. The SMA-Female connector looks like this:

SMA-Female Jack

SMA connectors can be used on microcoax such as 1.13 and other cable types including RG174, RG178, RG58, 195 and 400 Type cable such as BWL195 and BWL400 (LMR195 / LMR400).


Similar to SMA, but effectively the pins reversed.

RP-SMA Plug - Either a nickel plated or gold plated brass barrel (often hex shaped) with a thread on the inside and not pin. The RP-SMA plug looks like this:


RP-SMA Jack - Either a nickel plated or gold plated brass barrel with a thread on the outside of the barrel and a pin. The RP-SMA Jack connector looks like this:


RP-SMA connectors can be used on microcoax such as 1.13 and other cable types including RG174, RG178, RG58, 195 and 400 Type cable such as BWL195 and BWL400 (LMR195 / LMR400).


The CRC9 connector is often used across a number of cellular, GSM, 3G and 4G dongles and modems (typically on devices from Huawei). Very similar in appearance to the TS9 connector, the CRC9 plug has either nickel plated or gold plated circular barrel with slots at the end and has a pin. The CRC9 connector looks like this:

CRC9 Plug

The CRC9 connector is suitable for RG174, RG178 and RG316 only. Antennas with CRC9 connectors can be found at Connex.


The TS9 connector is often used across a number of cellular, GSM, 3G and 4G dongles, datacards and modems. Very similar in appearance to the CRC9 connector, the TS9 plug has either nickel plated or gold plated circular barrel with slots at the end and has a pin. The TS9 connector looks like this:

TS9 Plug

The TS9 connector is suitable for RG174, RG178 and RG316 only. Antennas with TS9 connectors can be found at the Connex website.


The TNC connector is a more traditional RF coax connector. To differentiate between TNC and BNC, a good way is think TNC =Twist  (and BNC is Bayonet). There are two types of standard TNC - TNC-Male (Plug) and TNC-Female (Jack). The TNC connectors look like this:

TNC-Female Jack

TNC-Male Plug


The BNC connector is another more traditional RF connector. Think BNC for "Bayonet" to help identify it. There two types of BNC - BNC-Male (Plug) and BNC-Female (Jack). The BNC Male Plug connector looks like this:

BNC-Male Plug


The N-Type connectors are fairly robust RF coax connectors and there are two standard models - N-Male (Plug) and N-Female (Jack). Please note that N-Female connectors are quite commonly presented on quality outdoor antennas such as the FGO antenna. The N-Male and N-Female connectors look like this:

N-Male Plug

N-Female Jack


MMCX is a small RF coax connector used on some cellular modems and small devices. The MMCX-Male (Plug) is widely available in straight and right-angle versions. The MMCX-Female (Jack) is usually a straight connector only. The MMCX is suitable for microcoax i.e. 1.13mm diameter, RG174 and RG178 only.

The MMCX-Male (Plugs) connectors look like this:

MMCX-Male Plug RA

MMCX Male Plug Straight

The MMCX-Female (Jack) connector looks like this:

MMCX Female Jack Straight


The FME connectors have been widely used for cellular applications for many years, but are now tending to be dropped in favour of SMA or CRC9/TS9 connectors. There are male and female versions of the FME connector - FME-Female is a longish connector with a thread on the outside of the barrel and white "nipple" at the end. The FME-Male is typicaly nickel plated brass and has the thread on the inside of the barrel and a pin (be careful not to confuse this with a N-Type male as on first glance it can look quite similar). The connectors look like this:

FME-Female Jack

FME-Male Plug


The U.FL is a microcoax connector designed only for micro-coax such as 1.13mm diameter cable. A very low profile connector it is often used as an embedded connector inside a device. The U.FL plug is the only U.FL connector that can be attached to a cable. The U.FL receptacle is typically a surface-mount connector. The U.FL plug looks like this:

U.FL Plug Front

U.FL Plug Rear

There are a number of U.FL compatible connectors such as IPEX connectors which are cheaper, but essentially have the same function as U.FL. An example of such a connector can be found below:

IPEX Plug Front
Typcially, U.FL is nickel plated and the IPEX connectors are gold plated connectors and this is how you can differentiate between the two. For U.FL adapter cables, you can find them at EAD and on the Connex webshop.

I hope this brief article has been of use in helping you identify the 10 most common RF coax connectors for wireless applications. Please feel free to contact us with any requirements you may have. Standard cable assemblies can be found at including SMA, U.FL, CRC9, TS9 and many more. Further information on our antennas can be found at and

Monday, 22 April 2013

4G/3G/GSM Dual Polarised MIMO Directional Panel introduced.

EAD has just introduced a new 4G, 3G and GSM multiband, dual polarised, MIMO directional panel antenna, the LPM8270.

The LPM8270 has two radiating nelements, one vertically polarised and one horizontally polarised, operating from 800-960, 1710-2170 and 2500-2700 MHz. Terminated with dual N-Female connectors on the back of the antenna, the LPM8270 is primarily designed for outdoor access applications using 4G with fall-back to 3G and GSM frequency bands.

LPM8270 Dual Pol MIMO 4G Multiband Antenna
With gain figures of 9 dBi on the low band and 7 dBi on the higher bands, the LPM8270 is a high performing, compact directional antenna to complement 4G routers, modems and terminals, but also fully supporting 3G devices so 3G users do not have to change the antenna in the event they decide to upgrade to 4G. The radome measures 200x200x40mm and the antenna is supplied with pole/wall-mount brackets.

Customised jumper cables using low loss coaxial cable including BWL195 and BWL400 can be assembled to your requirements with customer-specified length and connectors.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Omni antenna options for 4G and 3G/GSM frequencies

For 4G and 3G/GSM access, external antennas can be used to improve signal strength and improve stability/quality of the network connection. Directional antennas typically offer higher gain than omni-directional (omni) antennas, but they have to pointed directly at the local network mast which may be inconvenient for temporary or mobile applications. Omni antennas will offer less gain, but should radiate equally in each direction, making them more flexible for applications such as mobile broadcast or boating as well as security or CCTV applications where the omni antenna may be able to communicate with multiple network masts thereby introducing an element of network redundancy i.e. if one local mast fails, the antenna communicates with another.

There are a number of options when considering omni antennas for 4G, 3G and GSM applications. Here are a selection of omni antennas to think about:

High Gain Multiband Omni - Offering approx. 5 dBi gain across the bands, the high gain omni is especially useful for deployment in weaker signal areas or when the antenna will be located quite some distance from the router/modem and a long low loss cable run is required. Typically, available as wall or pole mount, the high gain omni is mounted outdoors with jumper cable connecting to the router/modem. This antenna should support all bands where possible i.e. 800 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2600 MHz for 4G and 900, 1800 and 2100 Mhz for GSM and 3G connectivity. The FGO antenna from EAD is a good example of a outdoor high gain omni with a robust design and good performance figures. It can be purchased here.

Access Multiband Omni - Where a cost-effective access solution is required, an omni for access can be used where the signal at the antenna is good, but at the router is poor and the cable distances are not too long. Typical examples, a temporary site offices (effectively a metal box!) and basements where the network signal cannot penetrate, but just outside the network is good.  In these cases, a omni antenna with a gain of approx. 2 dBi and a cable run of up to 5M is more than adequate. Multiband support is also advantageous to offer 4G with fall-back to 3G/GSM. This antenna can also be pole or wall-mounted. A good example of that is the OC69721 from Laird which can be purchased as part of a bundle from Connex.

Low Profile High Gain Omni - Another option is to consider a low profile high gain omni antenna which can be used when something more discrete is required. Antennas such as the LTE-HIGAIN-MAG based on the Multiband Phantom antenna from Laird or the BMLPVDB/LTE from PCTEL (contact SAS for more details). The LTE-HIGAIN can be magnetic or permanent mounted, but must be mounted onto a metal surface (or groudnplane) for optimal operation. However these types of antennas can offer execeptional performance in a low-profile package and can be very useful for mobile or height-restricted applications - some examples include library vans, narrowboards and utility cabinets.

Window-Mount Omni - Designed for mobile applications, window-mount antennas can offer a flexible, non-permanent external antenna solution for 4G/3G applications, especially if external/outdoor antennas are not practical or cannot be used in the application. Antennas such as the WA_700/2700 are MIMO ready meaning that they can connect to 2 antenna ports on your 4G router if available otherwise one cable can be connected to a single router antenna connector. The WA_700/2700 datasheet can be downloaded from SAS here. Typical applications for this type of antenna include narrowboats, caravans, vehicles and site offices.

For more information on omni antennas for 4G, LTE, 3G and GSM, please feel free to contact us.

Monday, 8 April 2013

How to move GPS signals inside and why bother?

If you have ever used a GPS-enabled device, you will have encountered the scenario that location-based services using GPS tend not to work inside buildings. For the individual user that might not pose too much of a problem, but there are certain environments where having a GPS signal indoors would be extremely helpful.

Examples include the following (though this is by no means an exhaustive list):
  • Electronic manufacturing and test laboratories: perform all GPS receiver tasks indoors.
  •  Any equipment that has a GPS receiver within that needs to be built, tested, calibrated or repaired at certain stages of its life-cycle. It would be helpful if the manufacturing, testing, calibration, repair and operation of GPS-enabled equipment could be carried out indoors, instead of stepping outside or hanging by fingernails out of the nearest window! It has been known for each bench, area or department within a facility to have its own outdoor GPS antenna and feeder cable.
  • Fire stations: on-board command and control equipment maintain contact with satellites while safely locked up in the station, so there is no need for an agonising wait for satellite acquisition upon exiting the station during a callout.
  • Retail outlets: provide GPS signal in the store so that technology can be demonstrated with live satellite signals - think of the array of satnav systems in your local electrical store that display a message that says "signal lost 5 days, 24 hours, 12 minutes and 8 seconds ago".
  • Vehicle manufacturing plants: on-board GPS systems can be tested indoors - no need to sit outside waiting for the satnav systems to acquire a satellite fix.
  • Aircraft servicing hangars: it may be inconvenient to take a smartphone outside to test the GPS functionality, but it's even harder to push an Airbus jet out of the hangar.
Thanks to recent changes in licensing policy in the UK and the new “light licensing” approach, GPS repeaters can now be deployed to address in-building GPS requirements and as such, the list of applications for GPS repeater technology is not quite endless, but it is ever-increasing.

A repeater offers an easier, more convenient, less time-consuming way to work with a wide range of GPS-enabled systems, but what does a GPS repeater system consist of?

In general terms, a repeater is a device that relays GPS signals to any indoor location that isn't normally reachable and will typically include the following components:

  • Outdoor GPS antenna
  • Antenna mounting bracket
  • Coaxial feeder cable
  • Indoor GPS repeater unit
  • AC/DC power adapter
The outdoor antenna should be installed in a location where it has a good view of the sky, preferably at or above roof level, in order to pick up signals from as many satellites as possible. The Outdoor antenna can vary – from medium gain to high gain units – take a look at the GPS-TMG antenna range as examples of quality GPS antennas for fixed applications. These GPS antennas are designed for precision performance and are used not only in GPS repeater systems, but also in timing and synchronisation applications.
The received satellite signal travels down the coaxial cable and into the repeater unit, which in turn boosts the signal and transmits it to the indoor space

In terms of coaxial cable to be used, this would depend on the gain of the outdoor antenna and the length of cable required from the outdoor antenna to the repeater. Typical examples of coaxial cable for these applications include BWL195 and BWL400 low loss RF cables. The cables can be pre-terminated and customised for each application. For extremely long cable runs (underground installations, mines etc.), then the coaxial cable can be replaced by Fibre Optics due to the extremely low latency of Fibre. For more information on GPS repeaters using Fibre links, please contact Phil at FaltchGPS.

The indoor repeater unit has an internal re-radiating antenna that emits signals in a beam approximately 140 degrees wide, giving a coverage radius of up to 18 metres. A good example of fully approved GPS repeater can be found here.

If one repeater unit isn't enough to cover the required area, extra repeaters connected together by a signal splitter can be connected together to increase the effective coverage area up to a nominal 60M by 60M (depending on the shape and layout of the space).

Overall, the major benefit of this technology is that a GPS signal can now be accessed where previously it couldn’t be, making applications more efficient and more reliable for organisations ranging from electronics manufacturers to emergency services. Using high gain outdoor GPS antennas, quality low loss cables and GPS repeater technology, many organisations can now take advantage of cost-effective solutions to solve GPS voids indoors.

For more information GPS antenna products, feel free to take a look at the offering from SAS. For fully custom GPS repeater solutions, please visit Faltech GPS.

A big thank you to Phil at FaltechGPS  for assistance with the content on this post.