Antenna Distribution: To Optimize the Performance of Your Wireless Systems

FACTS CHECKED BY  Jose George​

When wireless systems operate in the same environment, they often lack performance. To obtain maximum performance, you have to opt for antenna distribution. There are multiple benefits. 

  • First, cabling becomes more organized and manageable.
  • Second, you can use an external antenna to mount on a distributor or a combiner.
  • Third, you can use remote antennas, and there is no need for antenna farming.
  • Fourth, DC power output on distributors eliminates the problem of countless wall warts.
  • Lastly, cost savings.

Let’s understand more about antenna distribution and when you can use it.

What is Antenna Distribution?

Antenna distribution is distributing radio signals through single or multiple antennas. In technical terms, you can call it multi-coupling.

The term refers to routing numerous signals through a single antenna in the wireless audio world. These signals are either transmitted or received calls. You can use this system to take multiple signals that arrive at a single location and then guide them to their wireless receivers.

Some extensive facilities often have distributed antenna systems that send multiple signals through multiple antennas. A central control room manages all the calls coming from various antennas present at different locations in these systems. 

During antenna distribution, you use the ability of an antenna to transmit and receive as many signals as possible. With the help of cabling, amplification, and splitting, signals from different devices can share the same antenna. As a result, there is no need for other antennas for different devices. 

Image: wireless communication antenna bright sky

Antenna Distribution Devices

In wireless audio antenna distribution, two devices are standard.

An antenna distributor

A transmitter combiner

Distributors

In wireless microphones, antenna distributors receive multiple signals from microphones through a pair of antennas. These devices split and amplify them and then send them to their receivers through a coaxial cable. You can also call distributors splitters, D.A.s, distros, or distribution amplifiers. 

When using multiple antennas, you may face numerous issues such as intermodulation distortion, disturbance from nearby objects, etc. However, using distributors can help avoid them. Further, antenna distributors become more critical when using directional antennas like paddles and helical antennas. You can chain these splitters for as many wireless microphone receivers as you want.

When the antenna feed splits into two, the signal’s amplitude decreases. Thus, you have to amplify these incoming signals. If you do not strengthen the signs, there are dropouts and a poor performance range. That’s why you need a dedicated distributor in place of unwanted signal splitters.

You can identify a distributor configuration in the Audio-Visual industry uniquely, and this is because all mic systems use mixed reception. Here, the number of physical connections is different from that of audio channels. 

Combiners

Combiners receive multiple IEM transmitter signals and pass them through a single antenna. They also serve the same purpose as the distributors. However, the only difference is instead of receiving alerts; they allow the multiple signals to pass through a single antenna. In the case of live sound applications, a custom mix comes through an individual in-ear monitor from each band member. In such cases, combiners are crucial components. With combiners, you can reduce rack clutter by eliminating whip antennas, reducing inter-modulation, and providing D.C. power. The combiners ensure that all members receive an interference-free IEM mix. 

Practical use With Wireless Microphone Systems

Though antenna distribution requires extra investment, it is necessary for your wireless systems. You can use antenna distribution in wireless microphones in different ways.

  • Firstly, it is a simple distribution where two antennas (suppose A and B) split four ways for four receivers with the help of a distro.

Source: https://www.shure.com/ 

  • Secondly, when there are more than four receivers. It needs cascading RF from the first antenna distribution unit. With this cascading, you can feed more than four receivers from the main antenna feed. 

Source: https://www.shure.com/ 

  • Lastly, when the cascading is complex.  There is one main distro and three sub distros rather than having the first and second distro. In this, antennas provide RF to each distro, and these distros then send RF to another set of receivers. 

Source: https://www.shure.com/ 

Passive and active splitters

If you use two or fewer wireless systems, passive splitters are fine. These splitters have some limitations. These splitters lose 3db of the signal after each split. So, they are perfect for short-range applications. However, if you need long-range wireless systems, choose an active splitter. These splitters can feed four to five receivers. Also, you can use multiple active splitters to form larger systems. 

RF (radio frequencies) cascade

Some wireless antenna receivers give outputs on the rear of the unit. These receivers can cascade antenna signals for up to ten teams together. However, due to the dynamic nature of R.F. cascade circuitry, you have to face some limitations. If one receiver loses power in the cascade, its succeeding receivers will also lose R.F. signals.

Conclusion:

As the telecom industry is going wireless, keeping your systems updated is essential. Try to get suitable antenna distribution systems for your needs for good coverage. We provide superior quality cable assemblies to support your installation of antenna distribution systems. For more information, feel free to contact us.

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