As much as I hate omnis, we have a few sites that just don’t justify sectors (unless we used something like the $100 Ubiquiti Lite AP, but that’s another discussion). The thing is, our definition of a small cell is more like 3 miles, with every link having excellent signal and 6x or 8x modulation. We can’t afford to shrink the cells and still have poor performing links because of poor antenna gain.
So my question is whether anyone has converted a site with a connectorized 450 AP and a dual pol omni to the Micropop AP with the integrated omni, and compared the signal level and modulation before and after? Or some other method to compare real world antenna performance?
With the exception of 3.5 GHz where we have used the Alpha Wireless omni which is excellent, we have used the 13 dBi omnis from various sources like L-Com and KPP. I think they are all basically the same Chinese made antenna no matter who you buy it from. And I know that in the antenna world specs are often aspirational more than real world numbers.
If I remember correctly, the Cambium integrated antenna is supposed to be 9 dBi. In theory that would be 4 dB less than our current setup. The antenna pattern suggests much nicer null fill which would help with subscribers very close to the AP. But for the subscribers at 1-3 miles range, will we really lose 4 dB of antenna gain? I don’t think we can afford that.
I also know that some omnis have “cloverleaf” patterns, where the gain will vary 3-5 dB over the 360 degrees of azimuth, and that the two polarizations may not track each other. So if the Cambium antenna really does have 4 dB less gain but keeps that gain very constant with azimuth and polarization, maybe it’s not as bad as it sounds.
The decision would be easier if the gain spec was a little higher, like maybe 11 dBi, with better null fill and more constant performance vs. azimuth than the Chinese antennas.