Leaky feeder is an antenna technology originally designed to deliver radio services in tunnels. If your car radio continues to work as you pass through a long tunnel it is likely that a leaky feeder installation is involved.
As its name implies leaky feeder is a cable which leaks a small amount of the radio signal throughout, just like a hosepipe with holes drilled at intervals along its length. Leaky feeder cable is also often called Leaky CoaXial or LCX cable.
At Solwise our interest in the technology stems from a number of WiFi installations where conventional access-point and antenna combinations have proved troublesome. For instance, a hotel with long corridors and solid concrete floors and walls can require an access point in every room in order to ensure reliable WiFi for every guest. An installation such as this would be expensive in hardware costs, tricky to install and hard to manage and maintain. A traditional multi-AP type installation would also raise potential issues with client roaming and user confusion when they see several wireless networks.
A leaky feeder installation, perhaps in the suspended ceiling of the hotel corridor, can replace many access-points with just one, feeding a leaky cable over the length of the corridor. The signal from the cable would pass though the wooden doors providing a service to every room. Using a single AP in this way makes the entire wireless network appear as a single WiFi network which greatly simplifies connectivity and roaming issues for the users.
Another example of a difficult WiFi installation is a warehouse or cold-store where stored product creates canyons into which radio signals cannot penetrate. A leaky feeder cable above each canyon or hanging from ceiling joists can be a cost-effective one-stop solution.
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