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Coverage Antennas - Interior Spaces

As a terminology review: A coverage antenna is the interior antenna of a repeater system. This section covers various different floor plans and layouts. Here we will go over several options and explain the differences of each one. In the following illustrations we are assuming that all exterior walls are made of concrete, aluminum siding, brick or some other solid material which is preventing the signal from penetrating into the building.

There are a couple types of coverage antennas used in our repeater systems. Each one has a specific purpose.

Directional Panel antenna pattern - repeater
Repeater Omni-directional antenna ceiling mount
repeater omni antenna small

To determine which coverage antenna is right for your application you must understand and know the limitations of the areas to cover. An Omni-Directional antenna in the center of a space would seem to be the best overall choice. However, there are limitations to the Omni-Directional antennas.

First, an Omni-Directional antenna must be mounted roughly in the center of the space to be covered since it transmits signal in a 360 degree pattern. This will work well for a space that is square. If your area to cover is rectangular, a Panel antenna is a better coice.

Let's look at the following examples of possible configurations for coverage antennas. Notice the Omni antenna placed in a rectangular space. The gray areas represent the areas that may not receive sufficient signal.

Omni-directional pattern in square space Directional panel antenna in rectangular space
Omni-directional antenna in rectangular space

Just as signal cannot pass through exterior walls made of concrete or brick, the repeated signal from the coverage antennas cannot pass through walls made of similar materials. (see below) Please note that drywall does not usually hinder or prevent signal penetration. Large metal ducting inside a wall will certainly degrade or prevent signal pentration.

Coverage antennas must be placed in each of the areas to be covered to achieve adequate signal. Below are two possible options. Note: The SR series repeater is particularly well suited to this setup.

Panel and Omni antennas in retangular spaces - split areas

A common application for two coverage antennas is shown below. The office spaces and warehouse are separated by a concrete wall. Using an Omni-Directional antenna we can cover the offices. Using a Panel antenna we can then cover the warehouse.

Office and warehouse repeater system setup

Now, just as concrete, brick or steel walls can stop signals, Flooring materials in a multi-story environment requires the same approach. Always take note of any materials that may prevent signal from penetrating through to the adjacent areas. Here are some ways to do it.

multi level building repeater systems

The next example shows us several things. First, Panel antennas are used to cover both areas. Second, Panel antennas can be angled down to adjust the signal coverage area. And third, mounting all the antennas (Donor, and both coverage antennas) along one side of the building allows cable lengths to be shorter and labor to be minimized.

multiple level in-building repeater system

Conclusion

There are many, many different builing configurations that exist. Most are easily covered by one or two coverage antennas. By looking at the interior spaces that are in your building from the standpoint of cellular signal penetration, one can usually figure out the best placement for the coverage antennas to cover the majority of the spaces.

Sometimes it is not cost effective to cover all areas of a building. In such cases you should have a two pronged approach - Which areas would be optimum to cover and which areas would be mandatory to cover. If you manage to get all of the areas, great! If not, you at least have the crucial areas covered.

If you are having trouble determining what is possible for your particular situation, please give us a call. Our staff can help you configure the system that is right for you.

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