External Cellular Antenna - Overview, Recommended Practices, Installation

Using the proper external antenna, ensuring that it's well positioned, and achieving good signal quality are instrumental in guaranteeing optimal results for wireless connectivity and battery life of the Wavelet device.

Use a high-quality external antenna, such as those antennas supplied by Ayyeka.

 

Contents

Overview

Antenna types

Using your own antenna

Installation guidelines

How to check the antenna

 

Overview   

The Wavelet device is a cellular data creation hardware. Depending on the specific Wavelet part number, the device uses 4G/3G/2G cellular network technologies to communicate field data to the the UI data platform on the cloud or to an on-premises server.

The Wavelet is an industrial-grade rather than consumer-grade product. As a result, a good signal on your smartphone does not always guarantee a good signal with the Wavelet!

Industrial-grade solutions typically use external antennas to support installations in challenging environments, such as underground sites and sealed cabinets.

To achieve optimal results, pay special attention to the antennas and to the signal quality of the installed device. Good signal strength will result in more reliable connectivity and longer battery life for devices in the field.

 

Antenna types

The Wavelet has both internal and external antennas. The internal antenna acts as a backup antenna only.

 

Ayyeka considers a Wavelet to be improperly installed if it does not use an external antenna.

 
The external antenna comes in a variety of shapes and mounting options (magnetic, dome, patch, and in-road). Make sure you use the proper antenna that fits the site conditions. Also, notice that some antennas require a ground plane for optimal performance, so must be installed on a metallic plate, which will be provided with the antenna.

 

Using your own antenna

If you intend to use your own antenna, verify that the antenna uses an SMA male connector.

Your antenna should support all of the following frequencies (note the Model Number suffix of your Wavelet device, for example: -US):

 

Technology

-US, -SA

-EU

2G

850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz

900, 1800 MHz

3G

850, 1700, 1900 MHz

900, 1800, 2100 MHz

4G (LTE)

700, 850, 1700, 1900 MHz

800, 900, 1800, 2100, 2600 MHz

 

Cellular antennas supporting 2G and 3G bands will typically support all bands for these cellular technologies. However, if using a locally sourced antenna, always make sure that the antenna is designed for 4G bands at the installation location. 4G frequency bands are not universal across the globe, so selecting the right antenna is pivotal.

 

Installation guidelines

  • Ensure the antenna connector is secured tightly to the SMA female panel connector of the Wavelet.
  • The magnetic mount and dome antenna supplied by Ayyeka must be properly mounted to the metal L-bracket supplied with these products. This bracket provides a ground plane for the antennas to ensure optimal performance.
  • Wherever possible, the antenna should not be obstructed or enclosed by other metallic items, such as inside metal cabinets, underneath pipes, etc. The further and the higher away from obstructions the antennas can be placed, the better.
  • If the antenna is installed underground, mount it at least 50 cm (20 in) beneath the lid/hatch and the street surface.
  • The antenna must be mounted at least 5-10 cm (2-4 in) away from the wall.
  • The antenna must be mounted at least 5 cm (2 in) away from the Wavelet.
  • The cable length should be shorter than 3 m (9 ft) for typical installations. A long antenna cable results in gain loss, resulting in poorer signal quality. The shorter the cable, the better. If using an antenna cable extension, always use high-quality cable with limited attenuation.
  • The antenna cable must not be looped around the antenna.
  • Do not wrap cables, zip ties, or other items around the antenna.
  • If you are installing in a highly corrosive environment such as a sewer, apply technical grease to the antenna and sensor field attachable connectors after securing them to the panel connectors. Ayyeka recommends using Dow Corning Molykote 55 O-Ring Grease, although similar products can also be effective.
  • Graphic of antenna installation:

antenna mounting

How to check the antenna

Before leaving the site, make sure that you have a good signal and successful data transmission.

 

If you use the AyyekaGo mobile app mobile app, do the following steps:

  1. Select the Wavelet whose signal quality you want to check.
  2. Check that the CARRIER strength is 70% or higher. If the strength is less, re-position the antenna.
  3. Click TRANSMIT NOW or use the magnetic Wavelet Activator on the device to initiate a transmission. There will be a few minutes of delay before the data transmission begins. Repeating either method will not expedite data transmission.

If you use the UI of FAI Pro or FAI Local, create a technical stream of type Percentage (%). The antenna strength will be displayed in 0-100%.

If the Wavelet does not transmit, try moving the antenna to a different position.

If the Wavelet still does not transmit after multiple attempts at re-positioning the antenna, consider using an alternative solution, including an in-road antenna.