What is an antenna splitter and what are its technical characteristics?
Before we talk specifically about the possible applications and the advantages or disadvantages, first some basic information about how an antenna splitter works and its technical characteristics. An antenna splitter is an RF component with a certain number of input and output ports. Depending on the number of input and output ports, there are, for example, 2-way, 3-way, 4-way or 8-way antenna splitters. The splitter is installed between one or more antennas and one or more terminals. It splits the antenna signal evenly into multiple terminal signals or combines the signals from multiple inputs. For example, several receivers can be connected and operated with only one antenna. The antenna splitters ensure that the impedance values of the inputs and outputs are correctly matched. They are available not only as passive components, but also as active devices with integrated signal amplifiers. If it is a passive antenna splitter, the power at the output port decreases according to the number of ports. A two-way splitter has a signal attenuation of 3 dB (halved power), a 4-way splitter of 6 dB (quartered power), and an 8-way splitter of 9 dB (eighth power). The attenuation is independent of whether or not devices are connected to all available output ports.
Looking at the operation of an antenna splitter in reverse, multiple input signals can be combined into a common output signal. In this case, the RF component is also called a signal combiner. The output signal power depends on the phase shift and other characteristics of the input signals.
In addition to the number of input and output ports and the attenuation values, antenna splitters are characterized by other technical features. These are, for example, the supported frequency range, the maximum power or the impedance.
Possible applications of an antenna splitter
Antenna splitters are designed to reduce the effort required for antenna installations. Since an antenna splitter can be used to connect multiple terminals with only a single antenna, fewer cables and antennas are required. This is useful, for example, for connecting a large number of smart meters mounted in basements to a remotely installed antenna (for example, on the roof). Only a single antenna needs to be mounted and a single long antenna cable needs to be laid to the splitter.
However, antenna splitters can also be used to improve the reception situation for a single terminal. In this case, for example, several antennas can be placed at different locations and their signals fed to the terminal via the splitter, which operates as a combiner. The combination of several frequency bands of different antennas is also possible.
Advantages of using an antenna splitter
In short, the use of an antenna splitter offers the following advantages:
– a single antenna can be used for multiple devices
– the installation effort is reduced
– less cable needs to be laid
– several antennas can be connected to one terminal device
– by combining several antenna signals, the reception situation of a terminal device can be improved
Possible disadvantages of an antenna splitter
The possible disadvantages that may arise from the use of an antenna splitter should not be concealed:
– there is additional attenuation due to the signal feed and the signal distribution to the individual ports
– the acquisition of the antenna splitter causes additional costs
– the antenna splitter represents a single point of failure (SPOF) of the installation