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Maximum Input Power Rating of Antennas

Maximum Input Power is defined as: The maximum amount of power (voltage given in Watts) that is able to be transmitted to a single antenna without damage to the antenna port from overloading.

Maximum Input Power is a key parameter commonly seen on antenna specifications and datasheets. It may be termed ‘power handling’ or designated as ‘Max. Power (total)’ or ‘Max. Input Power’.

It is typically designated ‘per port’ to differentiate the values for single antennas from ratings for multiport or ‘multiple input, multiple output’ (MIMO) antennas.

Why It Is important to Know the Maximum Input Power Rating of an Antenna

If you are evaluating the efficacy or performance of a particular antenna, Maximum Input Power indicates an antenna’s ability to tolerate the power applied and perform at a given voltage rating.

This power handling capability is also influenced by the radio frequency (RF) output of the antenna; the capacity of a particular antenna to convert the power supplied into RF energy and informs the optimum electrical field that can be obtained without degrading the unit.

Maximum Input Power also informs the proper use of this electronic equipment and prevents the safety of the unit from being compromised. It is important to note that surplus power supplied to the antenna will also be discharged as heat and therefore overvoltage can pose a fire risk.

Typically antennas are able to withstand voltages far higher than the Maximum Input Power ratings supplied by manufacturers. These more conservative, published ratings afford an implied guarantee of functionality at the specified voltage. Applying higher power input may alter the performance of the antenna and invalidate its specification.

How Maximum Input Power Is Tested

Maximum Input Power is tested as part of the electrical engineering of the antenna and its components. Component datasheets and non-destructive testing methods may be used to determine the overall voltage rating a specific antenna.

A number of international bodies provide reporting specifications and input power standards for antennas including BASTA, a body which oversees base station antenna standards and GS1 a global communications standards body. Maximum Output Power of antennas is restricted or specified in many countries which will therefore determine the marketed Maximum Input Power of antennas within their domestic markets.

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