Understanding GNSS Antenna Gain and Its Effect on Signal Strength

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The GNSS antenna is among the primary components of GPS positioning systems, responsible for capturing satellite signals and processing them to emit location information.

It enables signal transmission affecting the quality of signal strength received by a GNSS receiver as an essential element in any GNSS system configuration.

In this article, we'll delve deeper into understanding GNSS antenna gain and its effect on signal strength.

Understanding GNSS Antenna Gain

One of the critical factors that influence a Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) receiver's performance is Antenna gain.

In simple words, Antenna gain refers to how well or efficiently antennas convert radio-frequency (RF) power into electromagnetic waves or vice versa.

Here are certain things you should understand about GNSS Antenna gain.

  • Measuring Antenna Gain: dBic vs dBi

When discussing GNSS antenna gains, two common types of measurements are used, which are Isotropic and Biconical reference measurements (dBic) and Referenced Volume Metric for isotropic references known as dBi.

Measurement in dBic refers to the amount of energy radiating from an isotropically emitting device while receiving an externally transmitted signal at each angle uniformly distributed on the surface area of a sphere.

This measure provides a fundamental point of reference for comparing antennae gain without considering directional characteristics.

 In contrast, measurement in dBi compares an antenna's radiation pattern against that of a theoretical isotropic radiator that emits energy equally in all directions.

Thus, antenna directivity features such as beamwidth are incorporated into this method when calculating its effectiveness at converting RF power into electromagnetic waves or vice versa.

GNSS antenna

  • Omnidirectional vs Directional Antennas

When considering GNSS antennas' gains, it is also important to acknowledge their directional properties. Some GNSS antennas have omnidirectional capabilities meant for picking up signals from various satellite constellations or tracking steady satellites in different environments with minimal interruptions.

Omnidirectional antennas radiate signals uniformly in all directions and can receive signals from any direction while filtering based on algorithms that consider GPS noise limits and environmental NPD.

In contrast, directional antennas pick up only specific direction(s) of the received signal. By positioning the receiver using positional information (azimuth/elevation), an operator can ensure that the antenna receives signals solely from a particular direction, leading to better accuracy within which they may gather GNSS data.

The beamwidth and gain of such antennae are essential factors determining the extremities of data accuracy achievable through facilitation by these devices.

How Antenna Gain Affects Signal Strength

Antennae with greater gains lead to improved signal reception for GPS devices as an increase in dBi measurements means a better transfer of RF power between transmitters and receivers.

Consequently, this enhances positioning accuracy while reducing satellite acquisition times latency during complex site operations or scenarios where environmental factors hinder signal reception.

Conversely, antennae with lower gains have compromised abilities in successfully picking up weaker radio frequencies from satellites, thus greatly affecting performance levels, especially across long distances or through dense surroundings such as trees or buildings that reflect GPS signals onto multiple paths leading to multipath interference.

These situations are often too challenging for low-gain antennae-equipped GPS systems as the antennas pick up a distorted/weak signal making it impossible to obtain accurate navigation information.

GNSS antenna

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Don't let poor antenna gain restrict the full potential of your GPS device! Visit our website today to find out more about our products.


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