Thinking Unidirectional and Omnidirectional Antennas
At one end of the BRCK you'll find a flap with an antenna post hiding underneath it. This is connected to the wireless modem inside of the BRCK and allows you to extend the range of your Edge/3G/4G considerably.
Many times we find that the signal from a mobile tower is a bit weak. Sometimes this is due to distance, other times its due to having too much interference in the way - such as buildings or walls. Either way if there's a signal out there, you'd like to reach out and touch it.
Omnidirectional vs Unidirectional Antennas
[caption id="attachment_471" align="alignnone" width="640"] Omnidirectional vs Unidirectional antennas [/caption]
An unidirectional antenna is useful for fixed installations, where you know where the nearest (or best) tower is. The omnidirectional antenna is better suited for times where you don't know where the tower is, or you are moving around a lot. There's a good video on YouTube describing the difference as well.
We'll sometimes plug a omnidirectional antenna into the BRCK. This is when we know the tower isn't that far away and we're getting some bars. It boosts it a good bit. You can imagine putting small antenna up on the top of the window, up a tree, running it out the building, etc. It's easy and fast to do, and you don't have to do a bunch of measuring or compass-pointing to make it work.
[caption id="attachment_472" align="aligncenter" width="640"] An omnidirectional antenna plugged into the BRCK[/caption]
A unidirectional antenna can give you considerably more distance, or range, on your mobile signal. You have to know exactly where the mobile tower is that you're pointing at, but if you do and can shoot the unidirectional antenna straight at it, then you can reach a lot further - sometimes many kilometers.
[caption id="attachment_470" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Reg using our unidirectional antenna [/caption]
The final piece of the "extending your wireless" range puzzle is an antenna amplifier. This works with both types of antennas, as it sits between the BRCK and the antenna. These great devices help your BRCK pull a signal from even farther away. We've been using them in Kenya for the past 6-months, and they were extremely helpful when in difficult areas, like in northern Kenya where the signals were weak and far away.
[caption id="attachment_475" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Reg + Unidirectional antenna + amplifier (the little blue rectangle)[/caption]
We also are pleased to announce that we have formed a partnership with Wilson Electronics. We've tested out their unidirectional and omnidirectional antennas, as well as their wireless antenna amps extensively in Kenya and have found them to be durable (and we did beat them up a lot), and highly functional. When we open the BRCK store online in the next couple weeks, you'll be able to purchase them at discounted rates.
(Note: Reg does like climbing things)
Written by ehersman
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