Building physical prototypes of complex products can be costly and time-consuming. Antenna/RF solutions for today’s wireless product require sophisticated 3D simulations to estimate actual antenna performance even before prototypes are built.
Here, we like to give some insights into antenna solutions and challenges for wireless products.
The performance of integrated antennas in your products strongly depends on several factors. Some of these are listed as follows.
- PCB size and shape
An off-the-shelf LTE antenna optimized for a large PCB (example 140 mm x 70 mm) won’t work as per its datasheet when installed on a smaller system PCB (per se 60 mm x 50 mm). One of the biggest mistakes wireless device manufacturers make is to follow antenna vendors’ datasheets blindly, thinking that the antenna is well-tuned. There is a massive difference between a well-tuned antenna, and one customer assumes it’s well-tuned.
- Plastic housing and it is material RF properties.
Dielectric properties of plastic materials do impact antenna tuning. Thus the choice of material is essential for optimal RF performance. The impact of housing materials, its shape, and size on antenna performance can be easily studied using state of the art simulation tools.
- Location of the antenna on PCB
Deciding the position of antennas on the system ground plane should start at the beginning of the project. For example, LTE antennas or any sub-GHz antennas use the ground plane as the main radiating element and need a more extended ground plane for optimal performance. Thus typically, they are located on the short edge of the system PCB. Antenna positions also need to take consideration of the user’s head and hand views as well. If the antenna is blocked by the user’s hand, it will result in poor on-field performance; one good example is the new iPhone death grip. The user finger covers the antenna slot, essentially detuning the antenna.
- Type of antenna
An expensive and well marketed off the shelf antenna doesn’t necessarily bring the best antenna performance to your device; a simple, well designed, and tuned PCB antenna might work well for your device. It will reduce your BOM and extra unnecessary assembling costs. It’s not which antenna is used; instead of how well an antenna is tuned to the customer device is more critical to achieving the best wireless performance.
- Frequency of operation
- Device size concerning wavelength.
- User proximity such as head and hand
Modern 3D antenna/RF simulation tools enable us to design an optimized antenna solution for your product, maximizing the RF performance and device range. Thus it ensured stable wireless communication and risk mitigation in rather expensive certification tests.
Typical customer requirements for IoT & other products :
- Innovative and unique solutions
- Stable RF connection
- Low energy consumption
- Compact, with the unique form factor
- Challenges with a wireless performance for existing products
The antenna performance requirement for IoT & other products :
- Small size, fully integrated
- A robust and low-cost solution
- Optimal radiation pattern shapes and coverage
- High gain and efficiencies
- Optimal for the given industrial design of the product
- Excellent performance in user environments such as head and hand
Advantages of antenna simulation/ virtual prototyping:
Surface currents of an antenna positioned near to D-cell battery.
Rapid simulation enables accurate estimation of antenna performance (such as antenna efficiency, gain, radiation pattern, mutual coupling, etc.) and comparing different antenna solutions for your product.
Optimized antenna solutions for challenging environments such as user head and hand
- Identification of PCB layout issues in early-stage before prototypes are made.
- Profound insights into antenna performance.
- Lower costs of late product changes
- Replacing expensive off-the-shelf antenna solutions with better performing, low-cost PCB antenna solutions, whenever possible
We, at CoreIoT Technologies Ltd., help companies in developing antenna solutions for their complex wireless systems. Our specialty in LTE, WiFi/BT, GPS, LoRa, Sub-GHz, 4G/5G, UWB, mmWave, and custom antenna solutions for your wireless product.
Check how our engineers design and simulate antenna performance using state of the art EM-simulation tools.