Antennas play an important role in modern telecommunications. Without antennas, many modern devices would not work correctly. Antennas can be found in dozens of products and devices around the average home, ranging from televisions to smartphones. The following guide explores some of the reasons why antennas are so important in the modern world.
To understand how antennas work, it’s essential to understand how electromagnetic radiation works. Electromagnetic radiation is a type of energy that can be found in many different forms. Examples of electromagnetic radiation include gamma rays, x-rays, radio waves, visible light, infrared light, and much more. Both visible light that we see and the radio waves that transmit our smartphone data are electromagnetic waves. However, they are on different parts of the spectrum.
Electromagnetic radiation, regardless of its type, appears in the form of a wave. These waves look similar to the waves on an ocean. They appear as a parabolic line when drawn on a sheet of paper, with crests and troughs found in a repeating pattern. These waves, similar to the waves on the ocean, undulate back and forth as they travel through space.
Antennas capture these waves and translate them into electromagnetic energy. Once they are captured as electromagnetic energy, they can be translated again into information that we can use. Without antennas, it wouldn’t be possible to capture these types of waves.
Many people are familiar with the long, long antennas found on older vehicles. With older vehicles, a long metal rod was often attached to the hood of the vehicle to capture FM and AM radio waves. These rods were usually at least two to three feet long. The length of these rods coincided with the length of an individual radio wave. Longer antennas are more effective at capturing the entire radio wave. Please remember that this explanation is a significant simplification of how radio waves actually work.
Modern smartphones use a new type of design that can capture and transmit radio waves in a different way. Instead of having a long, straight antenna, modern smartphones use a wraparound design that allows them to work just as well as a longer antenna.
In fact, smartphones have a series of different antennas for different types of radio waves. Smartphones can capture GPS, LTE, 4G, 3G, 2G, Bluetooth, FM, AM, and 802.11 a / b / n / g / ac radio waves. Each of these types of radio waves requires a slightly different antenna. However, modern electronic design practices make it possible to place a substantial number of radio antennas in a very small area without compromising the design of a device.