WiFi 7

How small but smart antennas can make all the difference to WiFi quality

Antennas are one of the most important components in a WiFi access point. They dictate the strength and reach of a signal and subsequently, how easy it is to connect to WiFi within the theoretical coverage area.

Access points (APs) will come with one of three antenna types. ‘Static’ antennas are designed to point in one direction to provide a wide sweep of coverage. This is typically what you get on simple access points for use in the home or small offices.

The second type is the ‘dual optimised’ antenna; these point in two directions and they will typically be used in devices that are designed to be mounted either on a wall or a ceiling. The idea is that they can provide coverage outwards as well as downwards.

The third type are ‘smart’ antennas and, as the name suggests, they are designed to provide coverage where it’s most needed and to adapt signals to suit the environmental conditions. APs with smart antennas can be placed just about anywhere and provide good coverage in all directions. In addition – and this is the really smart part – they will adjust the signal strength, bandwidth and even the specific antenna being used (some APs have as many as four or even eight built-in antennas) to deliver the best possible performance and quality.

In locations where there is likely to be a lot of potential for interference and stuff that could get in the way of radio signals – warehouses and workshops are good examples – you really need an AP with smart antenna technologies. They also make a big difference in high density environments, where there are quite a lot of users in a relatively small area.

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