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Understanding Donor and Server Antennas | TX RX

 

Understanding Donor and Server Antennas

When you enter a building and make a cell phone call or access mobile internet without issue, you probably think nothing of it. You know that reception and signal strength in some buildings is better than in others, but you don’t put much thought into why. However, behind the scenes of commercial buildings, stores, hospitals, sports stadiums, and subways, modern-day antenna technology is responsible for the connectivity you enjoy.

Distributed antenna systems (DAS) feature donor and server antennas, which work together to ensure seamless connectivity. Donor and server antenna technology is critical for WiFi, mobile devices, and other devices you use daily. In an emergency, a DAS ensures first responders can take life-saving actions. Here is a quick guide to understanding donor and server antennas and their role in modern wireless communication.

The Basics of Distributed Antenna Systems

Distributed antenna systems operate on simple principles. In a DAS setup, donor antennas capture signals and feed them into a network. Server antennas receive signals from donor antennas and distribute them to end users.

While that sounds simple enough, in real-life applications, things get more complicated. The requirements of a DAS implementation are shaped by location, atmospheric conditions, building materials, and the frequency of the RF signals. Donor and server antennas can be found inside buildings as well as outside at base cell towers.

The donor and server antenna technology used should support the needs of the specific project. For example, a retail store that provides WiFi for a few hundred customers will use a different DAS setup than hospitals, which feature medical equipment and communications systems with their own RF signals.

Donor Antennas Capture and Enhance Signals

The differences in antenna technology among various DAS systems are most noticeable in the donor antennas. Donor antennas serve as the initial point of contact for external signals. They are often installed outside, on rooftops or in towers. Donor antennas capture, enhance, and then transmit external signals to a network of server antennas.

The requirements of a specific DAS implementation will determine which type of donor antenna is used. Here is an overview of several common donor antennas:

Directional donor antennas

Directional donor antennas capture signals from a specific direction. If you want to capture the signal from one particular cell tower, a directional donor antenna is likely what you’re looking for. By capturing wireless signals from one direction, the directional donor antenna can effectively filter out unwanted signals from other directions.

Omnidirectional donor antennas

Omnidirectional donor antennas capture signals coming from all directions. You might choose an omnidirectional donor antenna if you are in an area where signals come from multiple sources or you’re unsure of the exact location of the source.

Sector donor antennas

Sector donor antennas cover a specific sector of the surrounding area, making them ideal for situations where signals should come from a particular direction, but some variability comes into play.

Server Antennas Distribute Signals Across a Network

Server antennas are typically positioned indoors, although they can be used in outdoor applications like distributing cell signals throughout rural areas. But given the fact that they are most often seen indoors, as part of a DAS installation, the different types of server antennas are distinguished by their indoor applications. With that in mind, here are the most common types of server antennas:

Wall-mounted server antennas

Wall-mounted server antennas attach to indoor walls. They provide coverage to specific rooms or floors of a building. For instance, an executive conference room might feature a wall-mounted server antenna to ensure strong cellular and WiFi reception.

Ceiling-mounted server antennas

Ceiling-mounted server antennas provide a wide range of coverage. They are beneficial in buildings with large open spaces like department stores, convention centers, warehouses, and airports. They are commonly used in residential DAS systems to efficiently cover an entire home.

Panel server antennas

Panel server antennas are discreet and can be mounted on walls or ceilings. They are designed for buildings where aesthetics are a primary concern, such as upscale hotels, restaurants, and clubs.

What You Can Expect from a DAS and Donor and Server Antennas

Regardless of the types of antennas used, a DAS installation should provide the same end results. Donor and server antennas work together to enhance and distribute signal strength and provide these extra benefits:

  • Minimizing interference: Donor antennas are positioned for the best signal strength and apply filters to reduce noise and interference.
  • Extending coverage range: The type and number of server antennas in a DAS implementation can extend a signal’s coverage range as needed.
  • Boosting network capacity: A DAS increases a network’s capacity, allowing more end users to connect simultaneously with better signal strength and performance.

TX RX Engineers Craft Leading Donor and Server Antennas

Each project requires different donor and server antennas. Choosing the wrong antenna technology can result in wasted money and lost time. Turn to the experts at TX RX for personalized solutions.

TX RX has been the leader in RF and land mobile radio technology since 1976. We offer customized solutions to meet our customers’ specific needs. To learn more about the donor and server antenna technology products we offer in our custom solutions, contact us today.

 

 

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