Antenna Placement Best Practices (Video ~ 1 minute)
The BarnTalk Standard Antenna
You will receive two standard BarnTalk antennas with the purchase of a BarnTalk gateway. The antennas are interchangeable, however, they serve two different purposes. As you'll notice on the gateway labels, one antenna is for connecting your gateway to the Cellular network, while the other is used for connecting the LoRa network to your sensors.
Below are some guidelines and best practices for mounting your antennas. Barn site layouts and material vary widely so use your best judgement based on these recommendations and contact our support team if you have questions.
Cellular Antenna Placement
Attach/Mount cellular antenna outside and as high as possible.
Antenna should be mounted to point vertically, not horizontally. Antennas take electrical energy and convert it into Radio Frequency waves in a donut like shape around the antenna.
- Items that can affect cellular signal strength:
- Distance from cell tower
- Obstacles - i.e. walls, buildings, terrain, vegetation
- Capacity Planning - cell towers have a max number of devices that can stay connected
- Weather conditions - rain, snow fall, fog, etc. can all cause disruptions to signal strength
- Best practices for cellular antennas: elevate antenna as high as possible, mount at least 9" from walls (if possible, not always necessary), and place on side of the barn in direction of nearest cell tower (if known).
Sensor (LoRa) Antenna PlacementGenerally, the sensor signal strength and connectivity for most barn applications is not an issue with a range of ~700'. However, this is dependent on the various obstacles and visual line of sight between the sensor and antenna so use the following as some guidelines and tips for optimizing signal strength.
- Mount sensor antenna at about head height and as centralized to the sensors as possible.
- Antenna should be mounted to point vertically, not horizontally, and should be mounted at least 9" away from walls if possible, but not always necessary.
- Typically, the sensor antenna is mounted inside the barn by drilling a hole through the office wall to run the antenna outside the office so the antenna is closer to the sensors and removes the office wall as a barrier.
- Generally, 1 Gateway can cover 2-3 barns if barns are in close proximity. If connecting a 2nd barn, you may opt to mount the sensor antenna outside to minimize the barriers between the antenna and furthest sensors in the 2nd barn. Keep the cellular and sensor antennas at least 6 feet apart to optimize signal strength that could be lost from interference. Pay close attention to all the tips in this article if connecting multiple barns as you will certainly have to go through more walls/barriers than if connecting a single barn.
- Keep in mind the visual Line of Sight (LOS) between the antenna and sensors:
- Minimize barriers between antenna and sensors (i.e. walls, machinery, bins, buildings, vegetation, terrain).
- Mounting the antenna at a similar height as the sensors is preferable.
- The antenna signal will travel through surfaces that are perpendicular to its line of sight better than diagonal surfaces. Avoid placing antenna in a location where the signal would have to travel through a slanted surface like a roof line.
- If desired location of antenna placement cannot be reached with the given antenna, BarnTools does have 25' antenna extension and 50' antenna extension cables available.
- In locations of known poor cellular coverage, BarnTools does have a High-Power Antenna available. However, it is recommended that one tries the included standard antennas first.
BarnTalk Standard antenna specs
|Frequency Range||433MHz, 900-2700MHz|
|Nominal Impedance||50 -?|
|Antenna Dimension||2.5* 8 inch / 62*206 mm|
|Cable size||10 ft / 3000 mm|
|Weight||0.8 lbs / 0.36 kg|
|Lighting protection||DC Ground|
|Working Temperature||-22 F ~ 140 F / -30 C ~ 60 C|
If you have any issues or feedback, reach out to our support team via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, call/text 515-272-5122, or call Toll Free at 855-580-0058 during the hours of 8am-5pm CST Monday-Friday.