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Posted by Jerome Hansen on August 05, 2010
Two requests we field everyday:
Power in an antenna, typically refers to antenna gain. With a cellular amplifier, power usually means gain and output power. To the consumer with a weak cell phone signal, “I want the most powerful..” means the most powerful signal I can use to make calls or surf the web. In other words, “I don’t give a flip about gain or output power or oscillation or antenna separation”. Despite that, I will go ahead and explain briefly (very briefly and not technically) these power measurements and how it helps to decide on the most effective cellular amplifier system for your unique situation.
There are several factors to measuring the attributes of an antenna and deciding which would be more effective in an particular installation. Power is measured in decibels (db). Antenna gain is derived from a formula that compares the relationship between an actual antenna’s intensity compared to an theoretical ideal antenna that radiates in all directions. Need more detail? We have a good page on antenna information in the resources section of our website.
The higher the gain of an antenna, the wider the pattern. Of course you give up radiation height with more width. Picture a beach ball. A 0db gain antenna would be close to round. As you push down on the top of the beach ball, it reaches out further but not as high. The pattern is more focused as you push down on the ball. As an example a 0db gain antenna is usually a better fit in a city surrounded by tall buildings or an area surrounded by hills or trees. A 5db gain antenna would be more powerful in flatter, more open areas.
I’ll get to Amplifier Output Power & Amplifier Gain in the next post. In the mean time you can read 7 Tips to Identify a Quality Cellular Amplifier from Wilson Electronics.