Wireless Access

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Integrated vs External Antennas in High Ceiling Environment

I've seen lots of stuff out there on antenna selection for typical warehouse environments with ~40' ceilings.  I'm still left with a lingering question and some level of uneasiness.  Traditionally the thought of using integrated antennas has been frowned upon in such environments.  Most of the time I have seen the medium-gain 1 ft. little external pole antennas.  (Please understand I have been around as long as the 900MHz wireless days.)  I think those are a generally poor choice in the 802.11 world because of the thinner, longer signal and I think people stuck with them because that's what worked for 900MHz where the signal was naturally fatter and traveled further.  So they thought they could still keep a very low count of APs.  But mathematically the integrated down-tilt antennas in APs like the AP-215 seem to be a perfect solution for such environments as well as a cost-saving solution.  Is there a valid reason to avoid the integrated antennas in warehouses, distribution, manufacturing and stick with something like the AP-ANT-16 or similar?  If anyone is actually doing integrated antennas successfully in a warehouse can you tell me which model, how high your ceilings are, and approximately how many APs you are using and what your square footage is?  Oh, and what are your target data rates and the spectrum you're using?  Our situation is still low bandwidth scanners, mostly 802.11g with a smattering of 802.11b still hanging around, but no 802.11a.  I have occasionally seen some of the 802.11b clients in our existing environment bump from 11mbps to 5.5mbps but it is old and not very well designed and I inherited it.  So I'm looking for some guidance on replacement.  Thanks in advance.

Re: Integrated vs External Antennas in High Ceiling Environment

The 215 with integrated antennas @ 40ft AGL should work fine. Your warehouse design is really going to be about how you manage the clients. If they are decent and can work at moderate SNR (at/around -75) then that should work fine. If you have stubborn, troublesoom clients, you might want to use higher powered APs (367, 228 with 60deg antenna) to create hotter RF directed at the ground, but you will likely need more APs if you need more RF directed at the ground. 


That said, the MOST common deployment is the 2x5 or 3x5 APs with integrated antennas, and if you want to lower them a bit to get them closer to the ground, you can do a pendant mount of the APs from a longer pipe/conduit. 

Jerrod Howard
Sr. Technical Marketing Engineer
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