microwave antennas

Microwave Antennas: Understanding the Pros and Cons

Over the years, microwave antennas have gained more prominence as the preferred device for transmitting broadcasting signals as well as radar and radio astronomy. In fact, 35% of all terrestrial communication uses microwave radio relay systems that use frequencies between 500 MHz to 300 GHz and operating between 15 miles to 4,000 miles.

 

But microwave antennas also come with their own advantages and disadvantages. Let’s take a closer look:

 

 

The Pros

 

Low costs

 

Perhaps one of the biggest advantages of using a microwave antenna is its low cost. Microwave communication systems are known for being cost-efficient from construction to maintenance, which is why a lot of companies prefer them to other options. This is mainly due to the fact that a microwave communication system doesn’t need any attenuation device or physical cables, which add to the cost of using wireline systems.

 

Microwave transmission towers can also be placed strategically on rooftops, hills and even mountains to make them as efficient as their counterparts but not as expensive. This is why it’s no wonder why more companies are now replacing their old systems with microwave radio antennas.

 

 

Efficient transmission

 

More than the cost, microwave communication systems are popular for their efficiency in transmitting even huge quantities of data due to their high frequencies.

 

Microwave antennas get even more efficient when used together with microwave repeaters that allow them to transmit data even in extremely long distances. Repeaters work by transmitting a signal to one antenna, converting that message into an electric signal and transmitting it again as a full-strength microwave signal.

 

Microwave radio systems are known for their capability to transmit thousands of data channels without the need for physical cables or fiber optics. This makes them a more convenient option for companies that are looking for efficiency and low cost in their transmission systems.

 

 

The Cons

 

Interference

 

Despite their efficiency in transmitting signals, microwave radio systems are still susceptible to electromagnetic interference (EMI), which can degrade or obstruct the efficiency of microwave signals.

 

This is why it’s very important to check if there are electric power transmission lines, electric motors, wind turbines, and other devices that emit EMI near a microwave radio system to make sure that it’s efficiency isn’t affected in any way.

 

Rain fade, which is heavy moisture caused by rain, snow, and fog could also cause interference to the transmission of microwave radio signals.

 

 

Solid objects

 

One of the biggest challenges for microwave radio systems is the fact that microwave signals cannot pass through solid objects. This means that when a transmission system is placed near tall buildings or mountainous areas, there may be difficulties or delays in sending signals from one point to the other.

 

There is also the problem of signals being bounced off of solid objects, which could be addressed by using repeaters between two towers if there are any solid objects nearby blocking the signal.

 

There is definitely so much to learn about microwave antennas and the best way to know if they are the right devices to use is to determine your exact needs and assess the downsides of using this type of system.

 


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