BS in Electrical Engineering
Electrical Engineering Department
To improve desktop wireless internet access, two patch antenna configurations were investigated in order to find an alternative for a dipole antenna, which is commonly used for Wi-Fi access. A Linksys WMP54G pci-card wireless adapter was used to test three antennas for 802.11g communications. The standard WMP54G dipole antenna and two patch antenna configurations were tested for Wi-Fi signal strength. The antennas were also tested in Cal Poly’s anechoic chamber to obtain resonant frequency and gain measurements. A 2.437 GHz center frequency, 72 MHz bandwidth antenna consisting of a single microstrip patch was constructed. After the patch antenna was determined to operate over the frequency range, an array of four patch elements on a single substrate was constructed. Although the patch array did not match the calculated gain, beamwidth and sidelobe radiation level improvements over a single patch design were achieved. Both patch antenna configurations had greater gain over the WMP54G dipole antenna, however improved Wi-Fi signal strength was only accomplished when used in direct line of sight communications. In conditions where obstructions, such as walls, prevented line of sight, the dipole antenna achieved greater signal strength. Line of sight connections favored the directional antennas.