omni antennas

Basic Information on Isotropic and Omni Antennas

Antennas serve as the first receiving point and the last exit point in a satellite transmission system. They can transmit and receive from all directions (these are known as omni antennas) or in a particular direction (like those used in television broadcasting).



Antenna Basics

An isotropic antenna is a hypothetical antenna. It emits the same radiation in all radiation – uniform radiation in short. A directional antenna can radiate or receive electromagnetic waves from certain directions, with some directions better than the others. Omni antennas can radiate or intercept electromagnetic fields fairly well in horizontal directions.



Isotropic Antenna

Although defined as an ideal antenna that can radiate uniformly in all directions, there is no actual physical example of this. It has a three-dimensional radiation pattern, which simply means that it has a 360-degree beam width both in the vertical and horizontal direction. It is also defined as an ideal antenna that can radiate across all directions and has a gain of 1 (0 dB), meaning zero gain and zero loss.


With that, it is used as a reference antenna for antenna gain, one of the characteristics of antennas. The unit used to measure antenna gain is called dBi, which stands for decibels over isotropic. It is calculated by dividing the power in the strongest direction by the power that would be transmitted by the antenna that is emitting the same total power.



Omnidirectional Antenna

An omnidirectional antenna can receive signals of equal quality from all directions, similar to an isotropic antenna. This is in contrast to directional antennas, which are better at receiving signals from a particular direction. Having this kind of quality has its advantages, including the ability to detect signals that are weaker or somewhat distant – something it does better than an omni antenna. However, being able to do so leaves such an antenna unable to pull in signals from other directions.


Although the use of the prefix omni indicates that the antenna can receive signals from any direction, the truth is that such antennas are omnidirectional on just one plane. Put simply, an omni antenna can detect signals from the northern, southern, eastern, and western portions of its location but it can’t do so from above or below.




Given its spherical radiation pattern, omni antennas can be used for a variety of applications. They are widely used for radio broadcasting and in mobile devices that make use of radio. Examples of the latter include cellular phones, cordless phones, FM radios, GPS, walkie-talkies, and wireless computer networks.


Omnidirectional antennas are also used by base stations that need to communicate with mobile radios. Examples of these include dispatchers for the police and taxis, as well as aircraft communications.


Omni antennas are not difficult to install. Since it covers a 360-degree horizontal pattern, this type of antenna can be mounted from a ceiling in an indoor environment in an upside down position.


While omnidirectional antennas certainly have advantages over the directional variety, it’s still best to determine the type to use after a proper site survey.




RF Engineering and Energy Resource have 20 years of experience building products domestically and abroad. We’re located in Portage Michigan and we’re happy to offer our services here and to the surrounding areas: Kalamazoo, Portage, Scotts, Fulton, Vicksburg, Schoolcraft, Mattawan, Delton, and Battle Creek

microwave antenna

Why Are Microwaves Used for Satellite Communication?

What would we do without television or the internet? How can one relax after a stressful day at work without the television? How can one catch up with friends and family or binge-watch that latest series on streaming services without the internet?


All of the activities mentioned above require communications satellites. These satellites make use of different radio and microwave frequencies to transmit and receive data. This article concerns the latter and why it is used for satellite communications.


To be clear, the microwave antenna isn’t the only antenna used for satellite communication.



Microwaves in Satellite Communication

Microwaves are used for their smaller wavelength, which allows antennas to point them directly at a receiving antenna. This feature makes it possible for different microwave equipment to use the same frequency but never interfere with each other.


Another reason for the use of microwaves is their high frequency, which allows them to carry huge amounts of information.


Microwave transmission is carried out with the help of microwave antennas, which are deployed in either of the following radio bands:


  • C band – 4 to 8 GHz
  • X band – 8 to 12 GHz
  • Ku band – 12 to 18 GHz
  • K band – 18 to 26.5 GHz
  • Ka band – 26.5 to 40 GHz
  • Q band – 33 to 50 GHz
  • W band – 75 to 110 GHz


Microwaves are best suited to communicate with geostationary satellites since they have a higher frequency and small wavelength. They are not the best for communication with satellites in low orbit.


Satellites emit microwaves with wavelengths between 1 and 10 cm. The dishes that emit the wavelengths have a larger diameter. This doesn’t produce wide diffraction, therefore, emitting a narrow beam which doesn’t spread out.


Given that, it follows that both transmitting and receiving dishes need to be aligned with one another. You can find a working example of this in a neighborhood with many satellite dish subscribers. If you take a close look at each of the dishes, you’ll find that all of them are pointed in the same direction.




Satellites in geostationary orbit are useful for communications since a microwave antenna can be aimed at them without having to know their exact location. The first geostationary satellite was used to broadcast the 1964 Summer Olympics. Major broadcast television networks have also made use of geostationary satellites to distribute programming to local affiliates. Such satellites are also used by cable TV networks.




Wireless LAN protocols make use of microwaves. If you’ve ever used Bluetooth or the WiFi then you have had experience with one of the uses of microwaves. A lot of tasks of modern living can now be done over the internet, and there’s a microwave to thank for that. Without it, buying groceries, paying bills, and booking movie tickets through smartphones and laptops won’t be possible.


Microwaves are used for satellite communication, but it isn’t the only one. A microwave antenna is used for its high frequency, which allows it to carry lots of information, and its short wavelength, which makes it easier to point directly at a receiving antenna.




RF Engineering and Energy Resource have 20 years of experience building products domestically and abroad. We’re located in Portage Michigan and we’re happy to offer our services here and to the surrounding areas: Kalamazoo, Portage, Scotts, Fulton, Vicksburg, Schoolcraft, Mattawan, Delton, and Battle Creek

wi-fi extenders

5 Things You Need to Know About Wi-Fi Range Extenders

Having a good WiFi signal at home or in the office has become imperative these days. With the increasing need for a good internet connection to perform various activities, it’s no surprise that a lot of people are looking for ways to make their WiFi signals more reliable and solid. The answer to this is a WiFi range extender. But how exactly do Wi-Fi extenders work?


Here are Five Things you Need to Know:


Signal Amplification

Wi-Fi extenders work simply by receiving your existing signal where it amplifies it before transmitting it. This means that you get to double the coverage area of your network so it covers every corner of your home or office and even reaches different floors. By amplifying a weak signal, a WiFi extender will allow all wireless devices within its expanded coverage are to connect to your network and it has been proven to reach even your backyard making it a great investment for boosting your signal.


A WiFi extender works once a connection between the router and your wireless device is established. So, if you have a mobile phone and you want to connect to the internet without using up too much data, it’s smart to turn your router on. The extender then captures the transmission, amplifies it and pushes it back to your mobile phone where the signal is recognized and a connection is established. This means that you can browse the web even when you’re far away from your router and in areas in your home or office where you may not have had an internet connection.



Wi-fi extenders, boosters, and repeaters are essentially the same because they’re all used to boost WiFi coverage. But not every extender works the same, so it’s very important to choose one that fits your needs best. Do your research first and look at your options before choosing a kit that will best address your needs for better WiFi coverage.


Use and Installation

Investing in a WiFi extender is a lot better than purchasing extra cables and networking accessories just to improve signal strengths within your home or business premises. With the help of an extender, you can guarantee that signal is bounced to more areas across your house or office and you get to enjoy the same speed for browsing even in the farthest corners of your space.


To be able to install a WiFi extender in your home or office, you will need a couple of things like Ethernet ports and antennas. You also need to determine the right area in your house to place your extender because it needs to be plugged into an outlet and placed on a secure surface. You can also mount it on a wall for better coverage.



Now that you know the basics of how Wi-Fi extenders work, it will surely be a lot easier to decide if you need one for your home or office or not. And if you’re ready to purchase a WiFi extender for your space, make sure to trust only the best manufacturer to guarantee the best results possible.




RF Engineering and Energy Resource have 20 years of experience building products domestically and abroad. We’re located in Portage Michigan and we’re happy to offer our services here and to the surrounding areas: Kalamazoo, Portage, Scotts, Fulton, Vicksburg, Schoolcraft, Mattawan, Delton, and Battle Creek

antennas - sector antennas and others

What Makes High Directional Gain Antennas Better?

In the world of antennas, sector antennas are said to be some of the best on the market because of their high directional gain. This means that they offer more precision in targeting radio signals and their narrow radio beams offer better signal strength. This is why high-gain antennas are preferred in space missions and in open areas where geography will not interrupt radio waves. But what really makes a high directional gain antenna the best choice?



A High Gain Antenna can make a Signal 100 Times Stronger


High gain directional antennas such as sector antennas are known for transmitting more power to their receiver, which in turn increase the strength of the signal that it receives. This helps them strengthen a signal for up to 100 times than a regular antenna by capturing more energy.



Can Transmit to a Wider Distance


When compared to omnidirectional antennas, sector antennas transmit to a wider distance because it reduces interference from other sources. Their radio frequency can also be diverted in a specific direction to help transmit a signal to a farther distance. The frequencies used for directional antennas may vary from 200 to 300 MHz because of their size and their wideband property also depends on their type and directional properties.



Known for Energy Savings


In a regular omnidirectional antenna, a signal intended from Node A to C will need to travel from Node A to Node B before it reaches Node C. This process will take longer and uses up more energy. But in the case of sector antennas, this process is cut short because of the antenna’s directional gain. This means that Node A will reach Node C in a single hop because its beam is focused and has the ability to reach its receiver at a farther distance. But with their ability to increase transmission range, directional antennas require lesser power to reach their destination, which helps in saving energy spent by nodes for transmitting and receiving signals.



A High Gain Antenna makes Multiple Transmissions Possible


Perhaps one of the best features of directional antennas is their ability to allow continuous multiple transmissions without any interruptions. This means that Node A and Node B can transmit signals simultaneously with Node C and Node D without interruptions because the sender has the ability to focus the beam towards a specific receiver. Unlike omnidirectional antennas where continuous transmission is not allowed, directional antennas can perform the process seamlessly and without any problems.



Finally, directional antennas are highly in demand because of their ability to prevent wormhole attacks, which are used to disrupt signals using a high-quality out-of-band link that replays forwarded packets to other locations. When this happens, communication between nodes is completely disrupted, which can easily cause problems. With directional high gain antennas, a node will only get the signal that it’s intended to receive. This means that an attacker will not have the opportunity to execute a wormhole attack because the signal will only be recognized as a false neighbor.



RF Engineering and Energy Resource have 20 years of experience building products domestically and abroad. We’re located in Portage Michigan and we’re happy to offer our services here and to the surrounding areas: Kalamazoo, Portage, Scotts, Fulton, Vicksburg, Schoolcraft, Mattawan, Delton, and Battle Creek


In the World of Antennas: A Design for Every Application

Antennas have been used for many years and together with technology, they also evolved into different types to fit each of the applications they were designed for. Antennas are generally classified on the basis of frequency, aperture, polarization and radiation. Here, we take a look at these classifications and what their uses are:



Frequency Basis


Antennas classified according to their frequency include very low frequency (VLF), low frequency (LF), medium frequency (MF), high frequency (HF), very high frequency (VHF), super high frequency (SHF) and extremely high frequency (EHF) antennas.


This classification is based on the frequency band capability of each antenna. For instance, a VLF antenna transmits 3-30 KHz and is used for navigation and SONAR, the MF antenna transmits 300-3000 KHz perfect for AM broadcasting and the EHF antenna transmits 30-300 GHz making it ideal for RADAR and experimental uses.



Aperture Basis


Apertures antennas include wire, horn, parabolic and cassegrain varieties that transmit and receive energy from its aperture. The wire antenna is the most common type because its mechanism is simple and it’s relatively cheap compared to other antennas.



A horn antenna is shaped like a conical horn and commonly used as a waveguide where it radiates radiation into an open space. Also called as a microwave dish, the parabolic reflector antenna has a three-dimensional curved surface. The cassegrain antenna, on the other hand, is used because it has better beam steering capacity, is less prone to back scatter and has the ability to place a feed in a good location.



Polarization Basis


Linearly polarized and circularly polarized antennas are classified depending on the polarization of their electromagnetic waves. Antennas transmitting or receiving E field vectors either horizontally or vertically are classified as linear while those who transmit or received E field vectors in any orientation are known as circular.



Radiation Basis


Antennas classified on the basis of their radiation pattern include directional, omnidirectional, isotropic and hemispherical antennas. Also known as a unipole, an isotropic antenna radiates uniformly in every direction, but it is fictitious and used only as a reference antenna. An omnidirectional antenna will radiate well in in azimuth direction, which all wire antennas have in common.



A directional antenna, on the other hand radiates energy only in one direction. This makes it ideal for covering a large wireless distance because of its high gain. A log periodic antenna is the perfect example of the directional type. Finally, a hemispherical antenna radiates on either the upper or lower hemisphere. Hemispherical antennas are commonly used in aircrafts to radiate data from the lower hemisphere.




These are just four of the many factors that designers take into account when designing an antenna for a specific application. Other things that should be considered include antenna efficiency, gain, beam area, radiation resistance and antenna measurements, all to ensure that the antenna achieves its purpose.



This is why it’s very important to find a company with designers who have a good understanding of these principles to make sure that your antenna is really worth your investment.




RF Engineering and Energy Resource has 20 years of experience building products domestically and abroad. We’re located in Portage Michigan and we’re happy to offer our services here and to the surrounding areas: Kalamazoo, Portage, Scotts, Fulton, Vicksburg, Schoolcraft, Mattawan, Delton, and Battle Creek

streaming tv device

Smart TV vs STBs and Streaming TV Device: What’s the Difference?

It’s not a secret that the way TV is consumed has changed over the years. Cable was quite popular for some time until new technologies, like smart TV or a streaming TV device, have came along and completely changed the game.



Today, you no longer have to rely on your laptop or tablet device to see YouTube videos or the latest Netflix release. This time, you can choose from different streaming TV device options such as a smart TV or a set-top box. But before you can decide, you need to know what makes each one different.




Apps & Content


Just like smartphones, smart TVs come with a series of apps for your entertainment. It’s no secret that the most popular ones, like Netflix, are part of the package. However, a set-top box (STB) offers many more apps.



Netflix is supported on most devices, and it carries a lot of good films, documentaries, and TV series. In other words, you have a pretty huge library to go through and choose from whatever you feel like watching.



However, smart devices aren’t just about what you see; they are also about what you want to hear and what you want to read. Both smart TVs and STBs have support for Twitter, Netflix, Spotify, or Pandora so it’s just a matter of choosing.



Smart TV manufacturers have obviously noted the wide range of apps available on STBs or on a streaming tv device. As such, it’s not that hard to find models that are developed in partnership with Roku, Android TV, and the rest. In other words, you no longer need a box.






What if you like watching live sports coverage or want to get the latest news? That’s in the realm of live TV but if you want to cut cable, which streaming TV device allows you to consume such content? Set-top boxes do. However, you might need to pay extra for a service but the price isn’t that steep compared to getting cable.



Set top boxes also have additional features such as storage and games.






It costs less to get a STB than it is to own a smart TV. Keep in mind that a smart TV is an all-in-one package while you still need to pair a STB with a display. In terms of convenience, you’re definitely tempted to go for the former, however you might start thinking twice when you think of the cost.



A smart TV is much more expensive than a STB. Plus, when you factor in the limited number of supported apps, getting a STB seems like the more cost-effective option. After all, you can pair an STB with a TV that has smart features (which a lot of models have these days).





Updates are important to smart devices or a streaming TV device. How else will you get new features and protection from security threats? With STBs, updates come easy. The same cannot be said of smart TVs, which have hardware built into the display. Plus, it’s so much cheaper to get a STB than it is to buy a new television set.




Smart TVs are great all-in-one solutions, but if you like variety and low cost, a set-top box is a great solution as a streaming TV device option.




microwave antennas

The Different Kinds of Microwave Antennas and Their Uses

Antennas are necessary for many applications, including communication systems. Broadcasts can be transmitted at the microwave level (between 300 MHz and 300 GHz; 1 m to 1 mm wavelengths), and antennas that operate in those frequencies are called microwave antennas.




Different kinds of microwave antennas 


Microwave antennas are classified according to certain specifications, including frequency, polarization, and radiation, among others. They are as follows:


  • Horn antenna
  • Microstrip patch antenna
  • MIMO antenna
  • Parabolic antenna
  • Plasma antenna



Horn Antenna 


As its name suggests, this antenna is shaped like a horn. In particular, its metal waveguides are shaped like a horn and there’s a reason for that: to direct radio waves in a beam. Also called a microwave horn, this is usually used at microwave and ultra-high frequencies.



A horn antenna is usually used for the following applications:


  • as a feed antenna for bigger antenna structures like parabolic antennas
  • as a standard calibration antenna used to measure the gain of other antennas
  • as a directive antenna for devices such as automatic door openers and microwave radiometers



Advantages to using a horn antenna include a simple construction, a broad bandwidth, a moderate directivity, and a low standing wave ratio.



Microstrip Patch Antenna


Just like a horn antenna, this too looks as its name suggests. It is flat, shaped like a patch, made of metal, and will be mounted on a larger piece of metal. The combination of the two metal sheets forms a microstrip transmission line with an operational frequency that ranges between 100 MHz and 100 GHz.



This kind of antenna is advantageous because of its size, weight, and ease of fabrication. Since it doesn’t cost much to make these, they can be produced in large numbers. Given its size, this kind of antenna is mostly used in portable wireless devices.




MIMO Antenna


MIMO stands for multiple inputs and multiple outputs. It is a method used to strengthen a radio link’s capacity by using many antennas to transmit and receive. For this reason, it has become an important to wireless communication standards, including WiFi.




Parabolic Antenna


This commonly takes the form of a dish and as such, is known by its other names: dish antenna or parabolic dish. Using a parabolic reflector, which is curved in shape, allows this kind of antenna to direct radio waves.



An advantage that this kind of antenna has is its high directivity. It sends and receives radio waves from a single direction. Since it can produce narrow beam widths, this antenna is used at high frequencies like microwave and UHF.




Plasma Antenna


Instead of using metal like traditional antennas, this one uses plasma. It is capable of operating at the 90GHz frequency range, and it can be used for both transmission and reception. This is usually used in digital communications and radar systems.



Microwave antennas are important for communication, but it’s also equally important to know exactly how and where it will be used so you can pick the right antenna.




rf engineering - electrical manufacturing

What Services Does RF Engineering Offer?

For many years, RF Engineering has been the go-to supplier for various telecommunications products and services. Headquartered in Portage, Michigan, the company has a team of engineering and quality control specialists that work with original equipment manufacturers in providing branded solutions that meet the needs of clients.



Cable and Wire Harness Assembly


When it comes to manufacturing and assembling cable harness assemblies, harnesses, electro-mechanical assemblies and turnkey box builds, RF Engineering is considered one of the best in the business.


Its facilities in Portage, Michigan and China are fully equipped with the latest technology and has a wide range of manufacturing capabilities including in-line wire marking, high-speed, automated wire processing, cable braiding for harsh environments and semi-automated terminal crimping to meet the specific needs of clients.


The company also offers added services to ensure the production of high quality cable assembly products used in different industries.



Electronic Manufacturing Services


For many years, RF Engineering has been the company of choice for clients requiring Electronic Manufacturing Services (EMS). From small production of prototypes to large quantities of products using heavily automated manufacturing, the company can cater to the needs of both small and large businesses, offering a personal approach every time. Its capabilities include design, assembly, production, testing and supply chain management.



Contract Manufacturing


With its capability of dealing with non-electronic manufacturing services, RF Engineering is the trusted contract manufacturer for many companies across the country. It can provide quotes for products made in the USA or offshore and boasts of a diverse facility that can cater to the needs of a company.



Turnkey Manufacturing


One of RF Engineering’s strong suits is turnkey manufacturing. Its attention to detail and commitment to delivering a company’s products, components or assemblies in the most cost-effective manner has made it a trusted partner of many businesses in the country.


RF Engineering follows a strict protocol in delivering the requirements of its clients and only uses experienced Asian and North American facilities to procure and manufacture the materials needed to create, test and package a product. To ensure that only the best products are created, RF Engineering imposes strict quality control measures like computerized inventory control and accurate lot traceability.



Private Label Manufacturing


With five partner sites in North America and Asia and a team of highly skilled professionals, RF Engineering offers private label manufacturing services specializing in industrial and graphic design, sourcing, patented products, packaging, project management and brand and line extension. It can also supply personal electronic products such as smart phones, tablets, cables, alarm systems, GPS trackers and Wifi antennas under its client’s brand.



The company also has strong partners in China to help small and medium-sized businesses establish good sourcing and outsourcing roots in the country to help them cut costs and minimize risks.




RF Engineering is definitely a force to be reckoned with in the world of telecommunications. Its expertise, top-of-the-line facilities and commitment to helping businesses find the most cost-efficient solutions to their needs make it one of the most reputable partners in the country today. Contact us today for more information!



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