This is quite a common problem faced by the IoT product developer. When is the right time to select antenna? At what stage to choose the antenna? Here I am going to answer these questions. The right time to choose an antenna for an IoT product is in the early stage of a product development process. Why? The answer to this is straight. As the antenna is the crucial element of the product, so prioritizing it first is necessary.
Reasons to choose an antenna in the early stage:
- The best antenna in a product will give you superior wireless performance.
- For certification of the wireless product, an antenna acts as a deciding factor in a pass and fail of the certification. Hence, antenna selection is considered as the first step in product certification.
- The best antenna/well-matched antenna will reduce battery consumption, gives you a longer range, and high data rates.
Can we go with off-the-shelf antenna selection concerning antenna datasheet, based on the frequency specification of the product?
The answer is no, we can’t just go with choosing the best antenna by examining the antenna datasheet. Maybe it will give the poor performance with your product. This needs good know-how to solve the problems, like antenna qualified engineers. The datasheet specification will be valid only for the particular testing environment. For instance, the antenna performance depends on the location, surrounding mechanics, components, etc. In other words, antenna performance varies from product to product.
To get the best antenna performance, extensive simulation and testing are required in the early design phase of the product. To select the best antenna for an IoT product, the feasibility study of an antenna in the early design phase is very helpful. It will help to analyze the wireless performance respective of the environment of the product. The small IoT products or wearable products have small space available for antennas, therefore an integrated antenna or custom antenna is the solution for it. To get the best antenna performance for these devices, analyzing antenna through simulation is the most effective approach.
It is important to test the antenna matching with the help of a vector network analyzer after incorporating it into the product. For instance, if the antenna resonance is low or high tuned to the frequency of operation, as a result, it will give the poor performance. The antenna measurement requires the correct equipment and the qualified engineers, as the measurement cables change the behavior of the antenna.
With all the real environment of the product, the antenna radiation performance testing is very important to analyze the efficiencies and gain. These values can help us in analyzing the wireless performance. In conclusion, the selection of the best antenna for a good wireless performance of a product needs good know-how and qualified engineers. So all the mechanical and hardware departments must start the IoT product development after choosing the best antenna solution for the respective product.
Antenna Design Engineer, CoreIoT Technologies Ltd.