Case Study: Biometric ID

October 12, 2017 at 8:00 AM


Once a fictional storyline in a sci-fi movie, biometric identification is now very much a reality and a growing industry. Biometric identification allows people to be uniquely identified by the evaluation of one or more distinguishing biological traits. This can include fingerprints, hand geometry, retina and iris patterns, voice waves and DNA.


One of our customers is a manufacturer of core technology, products and solutions for the biometric identification industry. They make security and identity products such as fingerprint scanners, readers, access controls and locks. These products are used by companies in the finance, transportation, telecommunications and government sectors.


This customer had a unique request for a custom, dual-band, PCB-style, Omni-directional antenna for an application involving a wireless, handheld, point-of-sale (POS) payment system. The antenna also needed to meet their cost requirements, be compact in size and provide reliable wireless coverage for their OEM application.


To meet our customer’s needs, L-com designed a Omni-directional 2.4/5.8 GHz, 3/5 dBi PCB antenna with a 3-inch micro-coaxial lead terminated with a U.FL-style RF connector. This antenna featured double-coated tissue tape so it could be easily secured in place.


Our custom antenna not only met the customer’s requirements, but we were able to manufacture it faster than and our competitor could, meeting the customer’s critical delivery time frame.


To read the full case study, click here.


Antenna Gain for Dummies

July 14, 2016 at 8:00 AM


Many customers ask us to explain antenna gain, but it can be a little tricky to wrap your mind around. So, here we’ll break it down for you in our version of Antenna Gain for Dummies.


Antenna gain is the relative measure of an antenna’s ability to direct or concentrate radio frequency (RF) energy in a specific direction or pattern. Typically measured in decibels relative to an isotropic radiator (dBi) or decibels relative to a dipole radiator (dBd).


An Isotropic Radiator radiates energy equally in every direction, similar to a light bulb. The isotropic radiator antenna radiates uniformly and exhibits the same magnitude or properties when measured in all directions.


Why Antenna Gain Is Important:


One of the major factors used to analyze the performance of radio frequency (RF) communications links is the amount of transmitter power directed toward an RF receiver.

This power is derived from a combination of:

  1. 1.Transmitter power
  2. 2.The ability of the antenna(s) to direct that power toward an RF receiver(s)


Typically, antennas with higher gain will perform more efficiently and operate with a farther range distance.


How It’s Measured:


To determine the directivity of an antenna, a reference antenna is needed in order to compare performance. An isotropic radiator is the preferred antenna for comparison because it transmits equal amounts of power in all directions - like a light bulb.


To increase the directivity of the isotropic radiator, an antenna is added behind it to act like a reflector and direct the antenna’s energy - just like a reflector behind the bulb of a flashlight.


With the reflector, the flashlight will now appear much brighter, as will the energy of the antenna being pointed in one direction. Now the directivity can be calculated by measuring the difference between the antenna’s energy before and after the addition of the reflector. 


The directivity is then converted into decibels to determine the antenna gain relative to an isotropic source (dBi). For every 6 dBi in gain, you double the range of the antenna.


Now that you have a better understanding of antenna gain, there are still many factors to consider when selecting the right antenna for your application. In certain instances, too much gain can be a bad thing. 


For more information about antenna gain and other common wireless terms, check out our wireless glossary


Gain Gone Wild: How Too Much Antenna Gain Can Be A Bad Thing

March 24, 2016 at 8:00 AM


When designing a wireless network, one way to improve the strength and range of your Wi-Fi signal is to increase the antenna gain. This is a perfect solution for many applications.  But in certain situations, a high gain antenna stretches the wireless signal too far.


To put this into perspective, let’s look at an example of when too much gain becomes a bad thing:


You own a restaurant and want to set up a wireless network in an outdoor courtyard area. You choose an Omni-directional antenna to provide full 360° wireless coverage for your customers. For extra assurance that your Wi-Fi signal will reach everyone in the courtyard, you choose an antenna that also has a high gain rating of 15 dBi. Here is an illustration:

It seems logical that the high gain antenna would be able to connect the customers in your courtyard to your Wi-Fi network. But in actuality, your wireless signal is being projected far beyond the 300-foot coverage area that you’re aiming for. With the high gain antenna, the strongest Wi-Fi signal is outside of the courtyard space, leaving your patrons with slow speeds and poor signal quality. Weak vertical coverage from the high gain antenna also means the Wi-Fi signal won’t reach customers who are closer to the ground, sitting in chairs.


In this situation, your best option is an antenna with a lower gain, such as 5 dBi or 8 dBi.  This concentrates the Wi-Fi signal within a smaller area to better serve the customers within the courtyard. A lower gain antenna also has a stronger vertical reach to project the Wi-Fi signal lower to the ground for everyone seated. Here is a diagram:

The moral of the story is to proceed with caution when ramping up your Wi-Fi signal with a high gain antenna. It is possible to have too much of a good thing and ,depending on your wireless application, a high gain antenna might not be the best solution.


And the Award goes to….Our best Selling Antenna of 2015

February 18, 2016 at 8:00 AM


This awards season, we would like to present our own award for the Best Selling Antenna of 2015.  With a stellar lineup of top performing antennas, this year’s competition was stiff, but one antenna stood out above the rest.


And the winner is…… (drum roll).…. The Hyperlink HGV-906U!


If you’re not familiar with this year’s winning antenna, here is what you’ve been missing:


The HyperLink HGV-906U is a high-performance Omni directional antenna designed for the 800 MHz / 900 MHz ISM band. It is ideally suited for multipoint, Non-Line-of-Sight (NLOS) and mobile applications where high gain and wide coverage is desired. Typical applications include 900 MHz Wireless LAN, SCADA, Wireless Video Links, as well as 800 MHz and 900 MHz Cellular band applications.


The HGV-906U features an integral N-Female bulkhead-type connector that mounts through the wall of an equipment enclosure. It includes a mast mounting kit consisting of a heavy-duty steel bracket and a pair of U-bolts, allowing installation on masts up to 2.0" in diameter.


This Omni directional antenna is designed for all-weather operation and features a rugged, 1.3" diameter, white, high-intensity, fiberglass radome which provides durability.


On behalf of the HyperLink HGV-906U, we would like to thank all of the customers who helped it rise to the top. Without your support, none of this would be possible. (cue music)


© L-com, Inc. All Rights Reserved. L-com, Inc., 50 High Street, West Mill, Third Floor, Suite 30, North Andover, MA 01845