Making the right choice for success
Selection of antennas for a tracking device
Good Antenna selection for any wireless IoT device is critical because its final cost and performance will define the success of your project. A project should therefore consider the antenna at the outset.
Understanding what makes an antenna
The near field of the antenna refers to any component inside a distance of 2πλ. components inside this distance become part of the antenna system and affect its performance. This can include the PCB as well as larger items such as the battery or display, and the enclosure. In the pictures below you will see various arrangements of antennas on tracking devices using MB-IoT, LTE-M, GNSS and Bluetooth. There are many more possibilities, these are just a selection.
Possible antenna arrangements
Figure 1 and 2 show chip antennas for NB-IoT/LTE-M, Bluetooth and GNSS. In figure 3, the chip antenna for GNSS “c” has been exchanged for a patch antenna. In figure 4, the chip antenna for NB-IoT/LTE-M (g) has been exchanged for a flex PCB antenna. This is not unusual and saves installation space on the PCB. The downside is the extra cost of the antenna, the coaxial socket on the PCB and the cost of manual labour to mount the antenna in the enclosure.
In Figure 5, the PCB antennas for NB-IoT/LTE-M have been integrated into the main PCB. This has several advantages: the cost of procurement is 0 Euros, the delivery time is 0 days and there is no end of life. In addition, the antenna can be optimally adapted to the environment by adjusting the antenna structure. Chip antennas were chosen for Bluetooth and GNSS.
Introducing the akorIoT SensPRO
Here is a practical example of a multi-antenna test PCB, the akorIoT SensPRO, The SensPRO has a PCB antenna for NB-IoT/LTE-M and a chip antenna for GNSS, in addition there is a PCB antenna for Bluetooth included on a separate Bluetooth module
Trust the experts. How Crout can help
The Crout team have many years of experience in design and testing antenna performance and understanding the effect of all system components on antenna performance.
The team offer a range of services to help you get the best possible performance from an antenna, contact us today find out how we can help.