How are they used?
A panel antenna is directional. It is used in cell phone signal booster or amplifier / repeater systems. It is usually used in a cell booster system with Panel "interior" broadcast antennas. It is sometimes used in cell booster systems with Panel "exterior" donor antenna. They are rarely used as standalone units without powered signal amplifier. When they are used on their own like that, they must be connected directly via RF port to cellular or wifi devices to realize signal enhancement.
How do they work?
When we say that Panel antennas are unidirectional, we simply mean that they receive, and send radio signals to, and from a single direction only. A panel antenna uses a wide beam, unlike Yagi antennas, which typically use a transmission beam that is extremely focused. Due to the wide beam, this causes the signal from a panel antenna to cover a bigger area. As it is directional, a panel antenna normally has a higher gain than what an omnidirectional antenna has. This essentially means that it can receive a weaker signal and send a stronger one than what an antenna with a lower gain can.
Panel Antennas Radiate Signal in Single Direction as illustrated below:
When using a cell phone signal booster system, SignalBooster.com recommends that a panel antenna be used as an antenna for inside the home or business. An inside antenna's function is to take cell amplified signal from the booster and then transmit it to spaces where the signal was previously not strong enough to be useful. This Panel internal antenna is also used to receive signals from all cell phones in the space and then sends them to the booster. Cellular amplifier then amplifies these signals and sends them to the external antenna, from where they are retransmitted to cell phone towers.
Although panel antennas can also be used as external antennas if you need to cover a bigger area and provided you use ones that have been designed for outdoor use, Yagi antennas with wide beams are normally recommended for this application. Panel antennas, like all other antennas, are designed to use very specific frequencies. If you are thinking of assembling your own kit, you need to ensure that the antenna you select has been designed to work with the booster.
If you have been doing some research on omnidirectional antennas, you may have come to the conclusion that using an omnidirectional antenna and placing in the middle of the area as the inside antenna would be the best option. The reason why rather using a panel antenna is recommended instead, is that a panel antenna's higher gain will often provide an even better signal than what using an omnidirectional will.
Ways to install them.
When a signal booster system is installed, there are two options for where the panel antenna should be placed. If the space is narrow and long, the best position is normally to mount the panel antenna on one of the shorter walls with it pointing towards the long area. This will have the effect of blanketing the whole space with a strong signal, although it may not cover the areas directly on the panel antenna's sides.
If multiple floors or a larger space should be covered, the best option is to mount the panel antenna on the ceiling and set it to point down. While this is not ideal, we have had a customer face it upwards on basement ceiling to provide signal on the floor above. Although this setup may sound counter-intuitive as it may seem that this will only cover the area directly underneath or above the antenna, the radio signals sent out by the antenna will also bounce from the interior walls and floors. This causes the signal to be spread out and it will cover a much bigger area than what is only covered by the antenna's beam. By using this technique, one panel antenna is able to be used to cover an area of between 5000 and 7000 sq. ft., depending on what exactly the space looks like.
If you have a question about panel antennas or any other type of antenna you want to use with your cell phone signal booster system, please feel free to contact us and we will gladly help you.
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- 75 Ohm Panel or Dome Antenna Expansion Kits with Cables & Splitter.
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