Browse Definitions:
Definition

directional antenna

Contributor(s): Stan Gibilisco

A directional antenna is a radio-frequency (RF) wireless antenna designed to function more effectively in some directions than in others. The purpose of that directionality is improving transmission and reception of communications and reducing interference. 

In consumer applications, the most common directional antenna is the dish used with satellite Internet and satellite television installations. Other types of directional antennas, such as the Yagi antenna, quad antenna, billboard antenna, and helical antenna, are used in a variety of applications. For example, a Yagi antenna that is mounted outdoors can work well for a wireless Internet connection in a remote area, because the Yagi drastically improves the range compared with a conventional indoor antenna.

For most terrestrial wireless communications purposes, antenna directionality matters only in the azimuth, or horizontal, plane. For satellite and space-communications applications, both the azimuth and elevation (angle above the horizon) are important. A straight, vertically-oriented antenna such as a dipole measuring 1/2 wavelength from end-to-end is omnidirectional in the azimuth plane, meaning that it radiates and receives equally well in all horizontal directions. In any elevation plane, however, a vertical dipole exhibits the most gain parallel to the earth's surface and the least gain directly upward. A horizontally oriented dipole antenna produces more gain off the sides than off the ends in the azimuth plane, so it is bidirectional for terrestrial communications purposes. Horizontal dipole antennas find favor primarily among amateur radio operators.

Directional antennas usually exhibit unidirectional properties. In other words, their maximum gain (increase in efficiency) occurs in a single direction. So-called bidirectional antennas have two high-gain directions, usually oriented opposite to each other in space. An omnidirectional antenna radiates or intercepts radio-frequency (RF) electromagnetic fields equally well in all horizontal directions in a flat, two-dimensional (2D) geometric plane.

 

Continue reading about directional antennas:

Cisco Systems discusses the characteristics of directional antennas versus omnidirectional (nondirectional) antennas.

Engadget describes the construction of a homemade dish antenna for wireless Internet use.

YagiAntenna.net explains how a Yagi works.

This was last updated in February 2012

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

  • smart contract

    A smart contract, also known as a cryptocontract, is a computer program that directly controls the transfer of digital currencies...

  • risk map (risk heat map)

    A risk map, also known as a risk heat map, is a data visualization tool for communicating specific risks an organization faces. A...

  • internal audit (IA)

    An internal audit (IA) is an organizational initiative to monitor and analyze its own business operations in order to determine ...

SearchSecurity

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • incident management plan (IMP)

    An incident management plan (IMP), sometimes called an incident response plan or emergency management plan, is a document that ...

  • crisis communication

    Crisis communication is a method of corresponding with people and organizations during a disruptive event to provide them with ...

  • Zerto

    Zerto is a storage software vendor that specializes in enterprise-class business continuity and disaster recovery in virtual and ...

SearchStorage

  • SSD write cycle

    An SSD write cycle is the process of programming data to a NAND flash memory chip in a solid-state storage device.

  • data storage

    Data storage is the collective methods and technologies that capture and retain digital information on electromagnetic, optical ...

  • hard disk

    A hard disk is part of a unit -- often called a disk drive, hard drive or hard disk drive -- that stores and provides relatively ...

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • hybrid hard disk drive (HDD)

    A hybrid hard disk drive is an electromechanical spinning hard disk that contains some amount of NAND Flash memory.

Close