GSM, or Global System for Mobile Communication, is a system for transmitting mobile communication information. GSM uses a wide variety of antenna types. Indeed, as long as it is able to capture a GSM signal, almost any kind of antenna can potentially function as a GSM antenna. However, a few primary types of GSM antennas are in use today, and a review of these types is a good place to start in learning more about how GSM works.
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GSM Antennas in General
In general, GSM antennas must be small in size---small enough to be able to fit even inside a laptop bag. In addition, the antenna should have a gain of about 8 dBi. To operate at GSM antennas, the antenna must be able to receive both the standard and the extended GSM bands, 880MHz (megahertz) to 960MHz.
Directional and Omnidirectional
GSM antennas will be either directional or omnidirectional. Omnidirectional antennas, also known as helical antennas, can receive signals from any direction. Directional antennas usually have more gain, that is, more sensitivity to signal, than omnidirectional antennas. Directional antennas accomplish this greater sensitivity because they are able to focus their energy patterns onto a smaller area than omnidirectional antennas. However, to receive signal, directional antennas must be pointed in the specific direction from which the signal is emanating.
Monopole antennas consist of a small pole placed upon a planar piece of metal or a series of wires radiated out from the pole. Monopole antennas are omnidirectional in nature and have equal gain in all directions.
Yagi-Uda antennas, more often referred to simply as Yagi antennas, are directional antennas made up of a dipole element, a reflector dish and one or more director elements. Yagi antennas are much more complicated in design than most other types of GSM antennas.
Multiband antennas can also be used to pick up GSM signals. They are able to pick up many sorts of different signals, including the GSM frequency, which is usually the 800MHz or 1900MHz bands. Multiband antennas can come in many different models. Triband antennas can be tuned to pick up three different bands, while duoband antennas can pick up two different bands.
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