Comparing Active and Passive GNSS Antennas: Pros and Cons

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Global Navigation Satellite System is based on GNSS Antenna and receiver. The components of this system use radio frequency waves for transmitting navigational data. When selecting the components for this system, you will find that the antennas come in different types, mainly under 2 categories that are active and passive antennas, and each one comes with its pros and cons.

Active GNSS Antenna

The active antenna acts as an active component of the navigation system, and it can transmit more DPS data by using more power for the GNSS system.



The pros of active antenna include:

  • Small and compact

The first impression of an active antenna is that it comes in a very small and compact package. That makes installation comparatively easier.

  • Integrated and sealed

Environmental factors are the biggest problems for GNSS active antennae, so these come with protection from multiple environmental elements. It is because these come as integrated antennas, and these are sealed.


  • Low receiver noise

A benefit of the integrated active antenna is that it gives lower receiver noise compared to the loss between active and passive antennas at the receiver end. It means better signal quality and integrity.


The cons of active antenna include:

  • Testing is complex

Testing these is not easy since the antenna cannot connect with the elements for testing. So, testing is only done at the RF connector, where you don’t get the perfect practical test results since different elements vary.

  • Power is required

The active antenna requires power from the system. Even when the amount of power is not huge, it requires some power, which can affect the system's power budget on a large scale.

Passive GNSS Antenna

The passive GNSS antenna only uses radio frequency with no other functions. It does not need any power from the system since it harvests power from the radio frequency connector.


The pros of passive antenna include:

  • Testing is flexible

The passive antenna can be connected to different components including amplifiers and filters. It makes the testing easier and improves the functionality as per the requirement.


  • Does not need power

One of the biggest benefits of going with a passive antenna is that it does not need any power from the system. It will get all the power it needs directly from the RF connector, so your power budget will never be affected.

  • Amplifiers can be placed closely.

Since a passive antenna is great with adding components, when you are installing an amplifier, it can be added closely. Adding it as close as possible will lower the noise and increase gain.


The cons of passive antenna include:

  • Not great against jamming signals

If there are any jamming signals coupled in the strip line or the micro-strip of the passive antenna, they can affect its performance and signal integrity negatively.

  • Designing a passive antenna is not simple.

You need complete knowledge of Rf signals and their working to design your passive antenna.


Learn more about the GNSS Antenna for your application.

GNSS Antenna type can be a crucial consideration for your project or application. So, if you have any questions or queries about these types or which one will be perfect for your application, feel free to ask here.




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