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How Does an Antenna Work: A Complete Guide

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Gurleen Nayar
How Does an Antenna Work: A Complete Guide

People are connected through wireless networks across the world. The strange thing is they don’t know how and where this connection comes from.

In this technological and digital world, it is predominant to know that the foundation of this connection comes from antennas around us. Let us know what antennas are and explore more about them!


What Is An Antenna?

An antenna is a metallic structure made of conductive metal that is used for easy and convenient transmission and reception of radio electromagnetic waves. They come in all shapes and sizes varying from their use and technology.

 It allows the free transportation of signals from one end to another in the form of electromagnetic waves. The most advantageous feature of an antenna is that there is no requirement for wires in the communication process.


Why Do We Need Antennas?

The primary function of an antenna is the transmission and reception of signals between two wireless points. Whether it has an application in radio, LAN, or jammers, antennas are exceptionally important.


It is a safe, efficient, and effective mode of communication between private or public networks which enables the faster and more convenient operation of an antenna. An antenna can also achieve a high gain that will eventually help it to direct its radio waves in a particular direction more effectively.


The most important advantage of an antenna is that it assists in transmitting signals to those areas that other wired networks cannot reach. For example, determining the weather forecast through satellites is only possible through SATCOM antennas in space.


Also, antennas are designed in such a way that they can survive even in harsh and extreme climatic conditions such as in polar regions, on the equator, and in areas of heavy rainfall as well.


Working Of An Antenna

The soul of a communication antenna involves the transmission and reception process. Also, the two most important components of an antenna that perform this are transmitters and receivers.


Signals are transferred from the transmitter through a path known as a medium, like air in the case of wireless antennas. A receiver then interprets those signals and decodes the message received.


The fundamentals of a transmission process describe that for signals to pass, an electric current should be involved to generate an imaginary magnetic field in the medium. This is how signals are transmitted along the path of a magnetic field and reach the transmitter.


As per the frequency wavelength and direction of a particular type of antenna, the signals travel. Just as the signals are coded while transmitting, they also have to be decoded by the receiver.     

 

Types Of Antennas Based On Their Direction

Based on the direction, antennas can be classified into three main types. These are described below:


·        Omni-directional Antenna

An omnidirectional antenna is referred to as a transmitting or receiving wireless antenna which radiates radio frequencies equally distributed in all directions. Its powers vary from distinguished angles on the axis and come to zero on the axis.


·        Semi-directional Antenna

A semi-directional antenna also directs the radio frequencies in a particular direction from one point to another but usually over short distances. This is called point-to-point communication of signals.


·        Directional Antenna

Directional antennas, also known as beam antennas are those which receive or radiate more radio wave powers in a particular direction. This allows high-power transmission of frequencies at a particular region/area which is why a high gain horn antenna is more focused, has narrow beam width, and targets radio signals more precisely. 


Application Of Antennas As Per The Bandwidth

Various types of antennas are used for distinguished categories of applications. Give a read to the most popular of them given below!

 

·        Broadband Antenna

Broadband antennas are wide bandwidth signals and data transmission at wide ranges of frequencies. The medium for this particular type of transmission may be a satellite, coaxial cable, radio, or satellite. A few of the applications of broadband antennas are in telecommunications, computer networks, and other wideband communications. It is also applied in SIGINT i.e. signal intelligence.

 

·        Narrowband Antenna

Narrowband Antennas are those that have a narrow range of frequencies and small bandwidth. That is why, in contrast to broadband antennas, narrowband antennas operate on a relatively lesser frequency range. Antennas with narrowband frequencies can be used in printers and various other automation equipment.   

 

·        Antenna Array

An array of an antenna is a series of multiple connected antennas which are joined together and work as a single antenna. The radiations from an individual antenna come together and combine powers to direct in a particular region and assist the array to cancel powers in other undesired directions. Application of antenna arrays includes satellite communications, radar communications, and other wireless communications.

 

·        Genetic Antenna

Antennas that go through a lot of evolutions while their designing process is known as the genetic antenna. these antennas are not pre-designed as they are designed entirely new by computer software. Genetic antennas can be used as sensor antennas and detectors, and other crucial aspects such as mission-critical applications.   

 

The main idea behind the working of an antenna is that one should look for what purpose is it going to be used and then deploy a specific kind of customized antenna in its application.

 

It is the wireless world that we live in and antennas are the mode of convenience and ease for our lives!

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Gurleen Nayar
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