Battery with External Antenna

Hi! noob question here, couldn’t find anything searching the forums.

Is battery affected by using external antenna? does it deplete battery faster?

Thank you!


Not a bad question, the challenges of cellular IOT make me feel like a noob daily.

Short answer: “If an external antenna improves the signal strength and quality over the original sticker antenna, then it will improve battery life by reducing the time required to connect and send data.”

Long Answer: If you meet the following assumptions:

  • That you have considered the FCC (or other national) certification considerations of using a different antenna than the one that Particle used for their certification.
  • That your battery powered device conserves power by operating off line for most of the time or, at a minimum, disconnects for 10 minutes between reporting attempts
  • That you follow the Particle recommended approach for connecting that allows for a Boron device to attempt to connect for a full 11 minutes before giving up
  • That your code will utilize sleep to reduce power consumption when not collecting data or reporting results.

If all that is true, then the short answer is a good one.

Hope this helps, ask questions if any of this does not make sense.




HI @DanCuartas

To add to comprehensive answer provided by @chipmc, I can offer an example case;

We have several Boron’s in a project, all with he standard antenna and primary cell. However, due to poor reception in some areas, we are logging 3-4x longer connection times for some units and often time outs. If you look a the power consumption table in the data sheet, you will be able to see how these longer connection times will significantly reduce battery life as modem startup and connection to the cloud seems to be the most power hungry states.

In a controlled study we have found for example:

Good reception: 2 - 4mAh per cycle (startup, connect, post to cloud and sleep for 3 hours)
Bad reception : 12 - 16mAh per cycle (startup, connect, post to cloud and sleep for 3 hours)

These are very generalised figures and for a very specific use case, but you can see the stronger (better) connection is, the shorter connection times are, thus better battery performance :slight_smile:

So in other words, just as @chipmc said :wink:

Best of luck, Friedl.