Poynting, a company specialising is antenna design and manufacturing in South Africa, has seen a large number of sub-standard antennas being sold to the public.
The public is enticed by the appealingly similar or better specifications when compared to the reputable brands, but at much lower prices.
Dr. Fourie, who is a product specialist and chairman at Poynting Group reports that they have tested some of these substandard antennas and can confirm that their performance is nowhere close to their specifications imply: “… these specifications are not only misleading, but the antennas are terrible.”
Tests performed by Poynting showed that antenna specifications of these antennas are highly over stated and often have horrendous radiation patterns with severe Voltage Standing Wave Ratio (VSWR) issues and antenna gain figures being exaggerated.
The antenna is an intricate part of the whole solution, where this seemingly simple device can easily negate the performance of the equipment that it is connected to.
“We often see expensive router & gateway equipment being installed only to find out that the whole system’s performance was compromised by using poor performing antennas to save a few Euros”, said Dr. Fourie.
“You purchase an antenna and wonder why your system is not performing as expected. It is difficult for the end customer to determine if it is due to the antenna, or is the problem with the connected equipment e.g. LTE/Wi-Fi router, M2M gateway, etc.”.
One of the antennas which is being sold internationally as being an 88dBi desktop antenna, which is a ludicrously high gain being claimed, but is in reality a low gain antenna with very poor characteristics for such an antenna.
The quoted 88dBi is physically impossible even for an antenna hundreds of times larger in size.
This is how far some suppliers will go to market their antennas, and they are quite successfully selling these antennas to unsuspecting consumers.
A consumer could have purchased an antenna with much lower gain specifications from a reputable supplier and the customer experience would be much better.
One of the many dubious antennas which were tested, was designed and marketed for installation on a vehicle.
The antenna actually appeared to have reasonable test results – at first glance, but as soon as it was installed on a vehicle, the antenna’s performance went completely haywire.
The VSWR was as high as 16:1, which is terrible.
The problem was that the antenna manufacturer never considered the effect of the ground plane on the antenna, which affects the performance of such an antenna when being mounted on a metallic surface – ironically for which it was being sold.
Anybody who installs that antenna might not notice it immediately, but will continuously have a problem with their communications reliability.
Poynting also looked at an antenna, surprisingly similar to one of their own antennas, only to find out that the antenna had several dry soldering joints – this is an effect of poor manufacturing quality and quality control.
Needless to say, this antenna was not even tested as it would have been a waste of time.
Another example where an alleged copyright infringement was investigated, a company based in Asia produced an antenna which was an almost exact copy of a Poynting registered design for an older version of their antenna.
Even though the antenna was almost a one to one copy, it performed poorly when compared.
The company producing this antenna marketed the antenna at a much higher gain than the one that they copied.
Customers are purchasing this type of antenna with poorer performance for almost the same price as the real thing, just to save a few bucks.
Poynting advise that consumers rather purchase from reputable companies.
The antenna might be a small portion of the costs of a communications system, but it can have devastating effects which can compromise the value of the entire system.