Ask an Expert: How to set up antenna for wireless CCTV
Q: Having recently installed a wireless CCTV system on my farm to keep an eye on the barns, I have unfortunately found that the signal is a bit weak, and tends to drop away. The signal does have to go through quite a large external wall to reach the receiver, so I’m guessing this will be having quite a detrimental effect on it’s performance. On the advice of your tech support team I have bought a couple of your high gain antennae to boost the signal. My question is this- can I get some advice on how to set up antenna in order to get the best results from my wireless CCTV system?
A: We have a couple of different types of antennae, and the best practice for setting them up is slightly different depending on which model you have. The most common type is our 7dB model. This small device sits on the end of a cable, and features a magnetic base, allowing it to be easily attached to many metallic surfaces. The antenna is omnidirectional, meaning the signal is transmitted in all directions, rather than just being focussed on one. There are some simple rules of thumb to follow when setting these up:
- Put them on the outside of your building– Whilst it’s natural to assume that solid exterior walls can block your signal, many customers don’t realise that something as innocuous as a glass window can potentially be just as bad. Because of this the best solution is the install the aerials on the outside of, with a cable going through the wall to connect them to the transmitter or receiver. This will greatly reduce the number of obstructions the signal will have to pass through.
- Use a raised position– Install the antennae as high as possible, as this will generally help them avoid any obstructions between the buildings.
- Cable too short? Move the transmitter– When putting the device on the outside of a building, some customers find the cable is too short to reach where the transmitter is located inside. The answer is simply to move the transmitter closer to the wall, and then extend the distance from the transmitter to the camera using a standard AV cable.
- Install them in the same orientation– Whilst the antennae do not have to point in a specific direction, to get the best results you should always set them up in the same orientation. So for example, do not install one vertical and the other horizontal.
- Only one antenna? Connect it to the camera– If you only have one antenna available, it’s usually best to connect it to the transmitter end, not the receiver. This is because this will only boost the signal you want to pick up, whereas if you connect to the receiver, everything will be boosted, including potential interference.
The other model we stock is the 12dB directional antenna. As the name suggests, this only sends the signal in one direction, making it more focussed and getting improved range. If using this model, make sure the two antennae are pointed towards each other, and each angled correctly using the adjustable mounts included in the kit.