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7/12/2017 Antenna Parameters Part 4: Port to port isolation, Power handling ability and more.

bility and more. | Andre Fourie | Pulse | LinkedIn

www.cst.com - Antenna Magus

Antenna Parameters Part 4: Port to port

isolation, Power handling ability and
Published on May 5, 2016

Andre Fourie Follow

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Chairman at Poynting Group

This is the last part of an internal document that that gives an overview of the properties
of antennas for non-engineers.

We have divided the document into different posts where we discus each of the

Frequency bands, gain and radiation pattern


Input Impedance and VSWR

Port to port Isolation and Cross-polarisation

Power Handling ability

Antenna “Specmanship”

Where applicable we have added some videos explaining the properties discussed. You
will find a link to a PDF below.

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7/12/2017 Antenna Parameters Part 4: Port to port isolation, Power handling ability and more. | Andre Fourie | Pulse | LinkedIn

An antenna is a device that converts energy from one form to another. When used in
transmit mode, currents in the coaxial cable (feeding the antenna) flow into the antenna
and the energy is converted to electromagnetic radiation which propagates into space.
When an antenna is used in receive mode, electromagnetic radiation interacts with the
antenna inducing currents into its components. These currents flow along the coaxial
cable connected to the antenna to a receiver. Sign in Join now

In some ways the antenna is analogous to a speaker in a sound system. A speaker

converts electrical energy (from the wires powering the speaker) into sound energy
which we can detect using our ears. When operated in the opposite mode a microphone
is created. This device detects sound wave and converts them to electrical energy. An
antenna works with electromagnetic radiation and electric currents rather than sound
and electric currents.

An antenna is described by a number of attributes including frequency bands of

operation, gain, radiation pattern, polarisation, VSWR, input impedance, coupling,
power handling ability and so on.

This document describes each of these parameters.

1.  Frequency bands of operation

See part 1

2.  Gain and radiation pattern

See part 1

3.  Polarisation
See part 2

4.  Input Impedance and VSWR

See part 3

5.  Port-2-port isolation and cross-

polarisation discrimination
When an antenna has more than 2 ports the port-to-port isolation and cross-polarisation
discrimination can be specified. Antennas with 2 or more ports are typically used in
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7/12/2017 Antenna Parameters Part 4: Port to port isolation, Power handling ability and more. | Andre Fourie | Pulse | LinkedIn

technologies that deploy MIMO (multiple-input multiple-outputs). MIMO is a

technique that is used to improve the data throughput of a system by making use of
multiple channels at the same carrier frequency each of which carries separate data. For
this reason, the port-to-port isolation and cross-polarisation discrimination are
parameters that should be published.

The port-to-port isolation is defined as the ratio between the power fed into one port of
the antenna to the power received at the other port. It is therefore an important
parameter to consider if the antenna is to be used with a transmitter that makes use of
MIMO. Ideally one would like the two ports to be completely independent (infinite
isolation) because then what ever signal is transmitted from one port will not interfere
with the signal transmitted from the other port. The lower the isolation, the more
interference there will be between the two transmitted signals.

The cross-polarisation discrimination is defined as the ratio between the power received
in the orthogonal, or cross-polar, port to the power received at the co-polar port when
the antenna is excited with a wave polarised as in the co-polar antenna element. Ideally
one would like no power to be received in the orthogonal port when the wave is
polarised for the other port – a case of infinite cross-polarisation discrimination. This
parameter is pertinent in systems that act as receivers in MIMO-type systems.

6. Power handling ability

The maximum input power that an antenna can accept and still function properly is
limited. The effects of trying to apply too much power include:

Lumped element components burn out. Circularly polarised antennas often make
use of a circuit that employs a resistor. The power handling capability of this resistor
is normally the power limiting factor of the antenna.

Voltage flash-over. The voltage difference between elements of the antenna exceeds
the voltage breakdown strength of the substrate separating them resulting in flash-

Copper tracks making up the antenna melt.

7.  Antenna “specmanship” – what to look

out for
Antennas are prone to misrepresentation because is difficult to test the claims made in
brochures. In order to measure even the most basic feature of an antenna specialised
expensive equipment is required. Measuring the patterns and gain of an antenna is
extremely difficult and requires access to an open air antenna test range, an anechoic
chamber, a near-field measurement range etc., – all expensive assets. The result is that
specifications are often enhanced in order to make the antenna attractive to the market.
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Poynting Antennas (Pty) Ltd Head Office

South Africa

Unit 4, N1 Industrial Park

Landmarks Ave
Samrand, 0157,
South Africa
Tel: +27 12 657 0050

Poynting Antennas International Sales & European Representation


Regus Business Center Neue Messe Riem

Kronstadler Straße 4,
81677 München
Tel: +49 89 2080 265 38
Mob.: +49 176 529 733 50

Tagged in: electromagnetics, antennas, antenna measurements

Andre Fourie
Chairman at Poynting Group Follow
52 articles

2 comments Newest

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Peter Carfoot 1y
WiFi & Networking - Currently Avavilable for New Projects - Anywhere
Excellent Andre, thanks!!!
Like Reply

Sean Nobles 1y
President at Sequoia Cyber Solutions, Inc
I've enjoyed this series, Andre. Thank you for sharing.
Like Reply

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