Omni-Directional Antennas vs Uni-Directional (Yagi) Antennas
- 02 Sep, 2019
Omni-Directional Antennas vs Directional (Yagi) Antennas: Which Is Right for You?
Which Outside Antenna is Best for You?
Antennas are used to capture and transmit signal. An outside antenna specifically is your gateway to 2G, 3G and 4G cellular signal reaching your home, vehicle, or office.
Cell phone signal boosters make use of these antennas to capture outside signal in order to amplify and rebroadcast it.
A signal booster kit has three main components:
- An Outside Antenna to capture weak signal
- An Amplifier to boost this weak signal
- An Inside Panel that broadcasts the enhanced signal within a contained space
What you may not know is that the power of the antenna can sometimes dramatically affect the power of the signal you end up bringing to the amplifier to boost. Thus, a more powerful outside antenna set up correctly can dramatically increase the performance of your kit.
To see complete cell phone booster kits for your situation, click here. At Bolton Technical we offer signal booster kits for homes, offices and vehicles.
What Types of Outside Antennas are There?
The outside antenna usually comes in two types: omni antenna and directional (yagi) antenna in either 50 Ohm or 75 Ohm variations.
For example, our best-selling units, the WilsonPro A500 or WilsonPro A1000 signal booster kits, features a yagi antenna, however can be replaced by an omni-directional antenna, depending on your needs.
One of the hardest things about choosing a signal booster, is knowing which type of antenna is right for your situation, so let’s start with ironing out the differences between these two types.
How They Are The Same
Both omni-directional and directional antennas pull in the existing cellular signal (2G, 3G and 4G). Both increase the power of the signal upon pulling it in, but the extent to which that happens varies depending on the type.
How They Differ
Omni antennas catch signal from a 360 degree field, and do not discriminate. They will seize any signal that exists, whether you want it or not. This is great if you have several cell sites nearby, since you can easily multiple networks at once. Omni-directional antennas nearly always look like rod shaped cylinders. Think of a radio antenna you might have on your car - this is an omni antenna.
Directional antennas are a bit more specialized. They catch signal from a 90 degree maximum field, getting narrower with more precise equipment. This directionality allows for more precise and powerful signal to reach your amplifier.
The more remote you are, the more directional you’ll want to think. Conversely, if you’re in an extremely urban area and are bombarded with irrelevant signal, becoming more directional can help with that, too.
The best thing about an Omni-Directional Antenna is its installation. All you need to do is mount it somewhere with strong signal and it will pull in signal in a 360 degree pattern.
The problem comes when you are remote or even in a suburb, and need to locate your cell tower to find your mobile network’s signal. It lacks the power (gain) of more directional antennas, so the signal outside your home or office needs to be quite strong in order to see a great effect. Also, because it snags signal from everywhere, it doesn’t have any filters, so extremely busy urban areas might give you issues.
Let’s break it down:
- Easy installation.
- Will amplify all cell signal in your area, from multiple mobile networks with different cell towers in multiple locations
- Great at boosting 2G, 3G and 4G signal when building material is the main reason you’re suffering from poor reception indoors
- Doesn’t reach as far as a directional antenna
- Doesn’t give as much gain to your incoming signal as a directional antenna
- Susceptible to “signal noise” and can become overwhelmed in extremely busy urban areas
- Not optimized for rural areas where distance from the cell tower is the main problem
With their easy installation, omni-directional antennas are a popular yet non-specialized choice for most users.
Many of our enterprise customers choose omni antennas because they service multiple providers like Vodacom, MTN, Cell C and Telkom all at once.
If you live in a populated area with decent coverage from multiple cell towers close enough for the omni to pull in, an omni-directional antenna is a good choice.
One final thing: know whether the amplifier you'll be using with your antenna is 50 or 75 Ohm.
Our Popular Cell Phone Signal Booster that Features an Omni-Directional Antenna:
Boosts 2G, 3G, and 4G, as well as talk and text for cars, trucks, caravans, sedans and functions as a "dual solution" - it can be used as a small room solution with coverage up to 125m2. Compatible with all Vodacom, MTN, Cell C and Telkom customers. Works for all phone types, including iPhone, Android, and Samsung devices.
A yagi antenna is the most common type of directional cellular antenna. They are slightly more advanced than omni antennas, and once installed high on a building or wall will pull in signal in a 45 to 90 degree field in the direction they point.
This narrower field of concentration allows a yagi antenna to reach out further to pull in signal - up to 3x as far as an omni - while also giving higher gain to the signal being pulled in. However, it needs to be pointed toward a mobile network-appropriate cell tower to work properly.
- Up to 3x more powerful than an omni antenna
- Works well for people in remote or suburban areas.
- Can boost multiple mobile networks should their cell towers fall within their field of range
- Great for boosting 2G, 3G and 4G signal when distance from the cell tower is the biggest problem
- A single yagi is best for boosting only one or two networks signal at a time, thus multiple yagis are needed to boost networks as needed
- Some installation required - the antenna needs to be pointed in the right direction in order to be effective
- Needs a tiny bit of technical know-how to find the right cell tower and make sure you’re pointing directly at it
Yagi antennas are the type we bundle most frequently with our signal boosters. This is because they give better results for most of our customers versus an omni - but not in every situation.
They are specialised antennas that can potentially bring in more signal than an omni antenna, but they require some work to set up properly. However, it’s just a BIT more (you have to find a cell tower near you) so optimizing your system with a yagi is still not too difficult, and usually hits the sweet spot for what one needs and what one wants to do to get better signal.
Again, it's important to know whether the amplifier you'll be using with your antenna is 50 or 75 Ohm. As a general rule, all our consumer units are 50 ohm.
A Few Popular Cell Phone Signal Boosters that Feature Yagi Directional Antennas:
A 50 Ohm system with home coverage from 350 to 500m2. Boosts 2G, 3G and 4G, as well as talk and text. Compatible with all Vodacom, MTN, Cell C and Telkom customers. Works for all phone types, including iPhone, Android, and Samsung devices.
A 50 Ohm system with coverage for large home and office buildings from 500 to 1000m2. Boosts 2G, 3G, and 4G as well as talk and text. Compatible with all Vodacom, MTN, Telkom and Cell C customers. Works for all phone types, including iPhone, Android, and Samsung devices.
Which Antenna Should I Get?
Think of these antennas as light sources.
An omni antenna is a lantern, with a wide radius of light shining from all directions around it. A yagi antenna is like a flashlight, with a more focused beam that reaches further into the darkness.
A good rule of thumb is, if you’re surrounded by nearby towers but don’t have tons of urban noise around you, go with an omni antenna.
If you’re in a location where the cell tower is far away, get a yagi. Yagis are what we generally bundle with our signal booster kits because they work for most people in most situations.
Further, there are combiners which allow for complex setups using multiple antennas, of any variety, so the choice is yours.
Hope this helps, and thanks for reading!
How May We Help You?
Bolton Technical is the leading provider of cell phone signal boosters. Cell phone boosters amplify 2G, 3G and 4G for any phone with any carrier for home, office, or vehicle.
We seriously hate dropped calls and poor coverage, so it's our goal in life to stomp on spotty signal.
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