There are different types of microwave antennas that are proven critical in any microwave network. While many types are available to meet different mechanical and electrical requirements, the most common type used for terrestrial microwave networks is the parabolic.
However, there are also less frequently used such as the dielectric lens, flat panel, horn, sector, and Yagi. Each one is suitable for specific situations and systems. Here are some of the most common types of microwave antennas.
Two of the main types of parabolic antennas are high performance and standard performance. In standard microwave parabolic antennas, the parabolic shape will focus the energy at the feed point and will assure a constant phase front at the aperture.
However, due to the potential interference of the standard performance antennas in the crowded microwave spectrum, the high-performance antennas are used instead for licensed microwave bands.
This is the requirement of most government regulations due to the greater suspension provided by high-performance antennas.
A high-performance parabolic antenna uses a shroud to enhance the performance of the side lobe, as well as its front-to-back ratio. The shroud referred to is the one called ‘shield’ or ‘drum’ because of its appearance. Such a design will reduce the side lobes allowing the antenna to meet more stringent pattern requirements to reduce interference.
Other specialized designs also exist beyond the high-performance style microwave antennas, such as the ultra-high performance antenna or the super high performance. This type of specialized design will provide a slightly better pattern performance.
These designs are required in congested areas with high link density, which enables the successful coordination of the link. There are also other types of specialized antennas that meet requirements for ETSI Class 4. Such would contain lower side lobes in comparison to Class 3 antennas to help in the reduction of interference and offer better frequency reuse.
Sometimes called hub antennas, sector antennas are intended for the purpose of providing a segmented coverage pattern over a selected area. Such is the most common type of antenna used for cellular communication systems.
Sector antennas are able to deliver a wider beamwidth compared to parabolic point-to-point antennas. Thus, due to its wider beamwidth, it delivers a corresponding lower gain.
Flat-panel antennas can be packaged in a low profile radome as square-shaped antennas. When aesthetics are important, flat panel antennas are used due to their visual appeal and concealment. Such are generally available for broadband wireless bands, which include 2.4, 3.5, and 5GHz bands.
Although flat-panel antennas are not optimal for point-to-point microwave networks, they can be utilized for some applications at the range of microwave frequency.
This type of antenna is versatile as it uses a driven element with a reflector behind the driven element and a director in front of the driven element. This is a useful directive antenna in the HF, UHF, and VHF bands.
The Yagi uses relatively easy construction techniques to provide a reasonable gain of up to 2GHz.
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