In today’s world, internet connectivity is essential for both personal and professional use. With the advent of wireless networking, WiFi has become the backbone of the internet infrastructure. However, the quality of your WiFi signal depends on several factors, including the strength of your wireless router and the quality of your antenna. One of the best antennas for improving WiFi signal strength is the Yagi antenna. In this article, we will discuss the Yagi antenna and how to choose the right one for your WiFi signal.
How YAGI Antennas Work: Understanding the Basics
What is a Yagi Antenna?
A Yagi antenna or a Yagi-Uda antenna, is a directional antenna that radiates signals in one main direction. It consists of a long transmission line with a single driven element consisting of two rods connected on either side of the transmission line.It is a directional antenna and has operating frequency above 10 MHz. It can be used for 40 Km to 80 Km distance and has two types of elements.
- Active elements (driven elements)
- Parasitic elements (reflector , director)
Yagi antennas are commonly used for point-to-point communication, such as wireless bridges or satellite communication. However, they can also be used for WiFi networks to extend the signal range and improve the signal strength in a particular direction.
How Does It Work?
In a Yagi antenna, you have “Reflectors” and “Directors”. These antennas absorb radiation and re-radiate in all directions, with a set phase difference. These are called “parasitic” elements because they are not themselves powered, but take all their power from the radio signal. This is basically an antenna array, but only one antenna is actually hooked up. The rest are just reflecting signals.If the signal is coming in from the “front” of the Yagi, the reflections from the parasitic elements add constructively to the primary antenna. If it is coming from behind, they add destructively, thus making the antenna directional.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a YAGI Antenna for Your WiFi Signal
While purchasing a Yagi antenna for your WiFi signal, there are several factors that you should take into account. Here are some of the key factors to consider when choosing a Yagi antenna for your WiFi signal:
- Frequency Range – The first factor you should consider when selecting a Yagi antenna for your WiFi signal is the frequency range of your router. Yagi antennas come in different frequency ranges, and it is essential to choose one that matches your router’s frequency range.
- Gain – The key advantages for using a Yagi antenna are the gain and directivity it provides.The Yagi or Yagi-Uda antenna gain is particularly useful because it enables all the transmitted power to be directed into the area where it is required, or when used for reception, it enables the maximum signal to be received from the same area.Coupled to this the fact that it has reduced gain in other directions means that it receives or transmits less signal in other directions thereby reducing the levels of interference.
- Beamwidth – The beamwidth of a Yagi antenna refers to the angle of the signal spread. A narrow beamwidth means that the signal is more concentrated in a particular direction, while a broader beamwidth means that the signal is more spread out. A narrow beamwidth is ideal for long-range transmission, while a broader beamwidth is better suited for shorter distances.
- Polarization – The construction enables the antenna to be mounted easily on vertical and other poles with standard mechanical fixings.The two common polarizations are horizontal and vertical, and you should choose an antenna with the same polarization as your router.
- Weight – The weight of the antenna can be an issue for some antenna installations. The brackets need to be sufficiently robust to hold the antenna, so if the antenna is large, then much stronger brackets are required.
- Length – The length of the antenna may be an issue for some antenna installations. The more gain the antenna has, the longer it will be. This may impact the mountings required for the overall installation – the longer the antenna is the greater the effect of the wind will be on it.
- Durability – The Yagi antenna should be able to withstand different weather conditions and temperatures. Choose an antenna made of sturdy materials that can endure harsh weather and extreme temperatures.
- Price – Finally, the price of the Yagi antenna is an important consideration. While expensive antennas may have better performance, there are also affordable options that can provide excellent signal amplification.
Different Types of YAGI Antennas and Their Applications
Yagi antennas are widely used in various applications, including radio and television broadcasting, ham radio, and wireless communication.Here are some of the different types of Yagi antennas and their applications:
- Standard Yagi Antenna – This is the most basic type of Yagi Antenna. It is used in amateur radio, television reception and cellular communications.
- Long Yagi Antenna – It has a large number of directors which increases its gain and directionality. It is used in microwave links and satellite communications.
- Log-Periodic Yagi Antenna – It is a multi element antenna that works over a wide frequency range. It is commonly used in radio and television broadcasting, as well as in scientific and military applications.
- UHF Yagi Antenna – It is designed to operate in the ultra-high frequency (UHF) range, typically from 300 MHz to 3 GHz. It is used in television broadcasting and in Wifi and Bluetooth communication systems.
- Compact Yagi Antenna – This type of Yagi antenna is designed to be smaller and more compact than a standard Yagi antenna. It is commonly used in portable and mobile communication systems, such as ham radio and amateur radio.
Installation and Maintenance: Tips for Maximising Your YAGI Antenna’s Performance
Yagi antennas are high gain directional antennas and perform best when they are pointed directly towards the tower you are trying to receive a signal from.
The first step to installing a Yagi antenna is determining the best place on the building to mount it. Measuring the cellular signal around your building is an important part of the install process.
Yes, it is important to measure the signal strength outside on all sides of the building to determine the location of the nearest cellular tower and the greatest signal strength for the antenna to draw upon.Avoid obstructions such as trees, buildings, and other structures that can interfere with the signal.
Once installed, it is important to perform routine maintenance checks to ensure the antenna is functioning properly.
- Check for any damage or wear and tear, clean the antenna regularly, and inspect the cable connections to ensure they are tight and secure.
- Additionally, keep an eye out for any changes in signal strength and make adjustments as needed.
With proper installation and maintenance, a YAGI antenna can provide reliable and long-lasting performance . Let’s follow the below tips to increase your yagi antenna performance…
- Mount the antenna as high as possible and in the direction of the signal source.
- Avoid obstructions like trees, buildings, and other structures that can interfere with the signal.
- Use a better quality coaxial cable and ensure the cable connections are tight and secure.
- Keep the antenna clean and free from debris and damage.
- Use a preamplifier or a signal booster to amplify weak signals.
- Daily check out signal strength and make any necessary adjustments to the antenna’s positioning.
- Use a mast-mounted preamplifier or a power inserter to increase the signal strength.
- Use a lightning arrestor to protect the antenna from electrical surges during thunderstorms.
- Use a rotator to adjust the antenna’s direction without physically moving it.
- Experiment with different antenna configurations, such as stacking or phasing, to find the optimal setup for your specific location and signal source.
Comparing YAGI Antennas with Other WiFi Antennas: Pros and Cons
Yagi antennas are a type of directional antenna that can be used for WiFi applications, but there are many other types of WiFi antennas available. Here are some pros and cons of Yagi antennas compared to other WiFi antennas:
Pros of Yagi Antennas
- It is simple to build.
- It is a compact size and also it is lightweight.
- It offers wide bandwidth due to the use of folded dipoles.
- It is lower cost because it is easy to handle and maintain.
- It offers a unidirectional radiation pattern which is reasonably good.
- It offers substantial increases in directivity and gains compared to the considered simple dipole antenna.
- It can be easily mounted with standard mechanical fixings on vertical poles or other poles.
- High gain is achieved to about 7 dB.
- Less amount of power is wasted.
- Frequency coverage is broad.
- It is sensitive to frequency.
- It does not offer very high gain, limited to around 20 dB.
- The design is obstructive in nature.
- Bandwidth is reduced if a number of director elements is used in the array.
- Need a large number of elements to be used.
- It is prone to noise.
- It is also prone to atmospheric effect.
Other types of WiFi antennas include:
- Omnidirectional Antennas – An omnidirectional antenna is a wireless transmitting or receiving antenna that radiates or intercepts radio-frequency (RF) electromagnetic fields equally well in all horizontal directions in a flat, two-dimensional (2D) geometric plane. Omnidirectional antennas are used in most consumer RF wireless devices, including cellular telephone sets and wireless routers.These antennas radiate the WiFi signal in all directions, which makes them ideal for indoor applications or for use in areas where the access point is not located in a fixed position. They typically have lower gain than Yagi antennas, but they can cover a larger area.
- Parabolic Dish Antennas – Parabolic reflectors typically have a very high gain (30-40 dB is common) and low cross polarization. They also have a reasonable bandwidth, with the fractional bandwidth being at least 5% on commercially available models, and can be very wideband in the case of huge dishes (like the Stanford “big dish” above, which can operate from 150 MHz to 1.5 GHz).
The smaller dish antennas typically operate somewhere between 2 and 28 GHz. The large dishes can operate in the VHF region (30-300 MHz), but typically need to be extremely large at this operating band.These antennas are typically small and flat, and they can be used for indoor or outdoor applications. They are less directional than Yagi antennas but can still provide good signal strength in a specific direction.
3. Patch Antennas – A patch antenna is a low-profile directional radio antenna that is used for indoor locations covering single-floor offices, stores and small studios. It is mounted on a small, rectangular, flat surface and consists of two metallic plates placed upon each other. One plate is larger than the other, which is called ground plane and has a dielectric layer in the middle.A patch antenna is also known as a panel, flat panel or microstrip antenna.
The Yagi antenna is a very practical form of RF antenna design suitable for applications requiring gain and direction. Although the cost is higher than the basic antennas, the Yagi often offers the most cost-effective gain and directional option.On the go, Yagi antennas are a good choice for long-range outdoor WiFi applications where directionality and high gain are important.