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What are the antenna specifications for the 802.11a ,b and g standards?

What are the antenna specifications for the 802.11a ,b and g standards?
If you search the Web, you'll find a wide variety of antennas available for use with 802.11a radios. For example, this Trapeze spec sheet describes and illustrates three 802.11a directional antennas: 60 degree horizontal coverage with 14 dBi gain, 120 degree horizontal coverage with 12 dBi gain, and 180 degree horizontal coverage with 10 dBi gain.

However, I suspect this is not the kind of "sample specifications" you were looking for. The IEEE 802.11 standard...

does not define antenna specifications. It defines certain radio requirements, like receiver maximum and minimum input level sensitivity as measured at the antenna connector. It also defines management parameters, like dot11DiversitySupport, that can be used to describe a given implementation's antennas. However, antenna design and construction details are beyond the scope of the 802.11 standard.

In the US, the FCC is responsible for defining rules and regulations that govern radio frequency devices operating in the 2.4 (ISM) and 5 GHz (U-NII) frequency bands. For example, FCC part 15.407 defines Transmitter Power Output limits for 802.11a point to point and point to multipoint devices. It also states, "Any U-NII device that operates in the 5.15-5.25 GHz band shall use a transmitting antenna that is an integral part of the device." For the full FCC Part 15 text, visit here. A great summary of FCC regulations affecting 802.11 devices written by Tim Pozar can be found here.

Finally, if you're just trying to figure out how to build your own antenna, I recommend browsing a resource website like Wardrive.net's WLAN Antenna How-To page.

This was last published in November 2005

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