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The Importance of Proper Antenna Alignment

The Importance of Proper Antenna Alignment
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Whether a cellular company is installing a new antenna or you’re putting one up on your roof, quality control of antenna alignment is crucial. Many people expect that antennas will just work, but often, that isn’t the case and attention to detail is required. They may not pick up certain frequencies at all or do so with less-than-ideal consistency, which is why proper antenna alignment is so very important.

Pre-Alignment 

Alignment should be conducted in at least two phases. Pre-alignment should occur prior to turning on any equipment, and failure to do this is a common misstep. During the pre-alignment phase, you’ll adjust for polarization; azimuth, which is left and right; and elevation, which is up and down. These are fundamental settings that shouldn’t be affected by any of the variables you’ll have to deal with. The objective here is to lock these in and then adjust the antenna with these characteristics as a base.

Ensure Tolerance 

A key reason why the pre-alignment and final alignment are so important is to ensure that the antenna and setup as a whole is in compliance with all relevant standards. These can be government standards, local regulations as well as equipment specifications. If an antenna is outside these guidelines for any reason, then it’s said to be outside tolerance. It will be less tolerant to interference, communication errors and a wide range of other factors where there can be degrees to communication strength.

Avoiding Interference 

Antennas must be aligned appropriately in order to avoid interference. Government standards at the federal, state and local levels publish guidelines so that you avoid interference with other equipment that may be operating in your area. You also have to be concerned with inference within your own system, such as two antennas interfering with each other. Depending on source signal strength, mounting location may also be very important in order to ensure as little interference as possible.

Limiting Data Errors 

Data errors and correction is another important consideration. These errors represent at best a loss of resources because the data needs to be corrected at the destination or received again. Proper alignment helps to ensure that we not only receive the data package as sent but that it’s whole and doesn’t need to corrected, filled in or otherwise managed prior to use.

Identifying Hardware Issues 

Finally, one of the most important reasons to achieve ideal proper antenna alignment is so that we can eliminate alignment when interference, data errors or other problems do occur. These problems can also be caused by hardware failures, incompatibilities, configuration issues and so forth, and those can be impossible to diagnose and correct without proper alignment.