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Designing Antennas For Successful IoT Device System Performance

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a gigantic network of machines, devices and appliances connected to the Internet through multiple wired and wireless networks. Whether smartphones, tablets and consumer electronics or even vehicles equipped with devices that collect and share data about the way they are used and about the environment around them, the growth of IoT across almost every imaginable segment is making demands on antenna design and performance for space, cost, and speed-of-integration optimization. Because the performance of an antenna within the device is directly linked to the entire performance of the system, a properly designed and integrated antenna will improve data transmission, speed, safety and user experience.

Standard antennas are a common way to integrate into any device; but because of the many ways an antenna can be used in a wireless system, device makers will typically specify the performance attributes of an antenna in a standard, idealized test configuration. This test configuration offers the designer some guidance on the antenna’s overall performance; but when the antenna is actually integrated into the device, the antenna’s performance – which includes frequency tuning, bandwidth and radiation – may be modified. To ensure the overall wireless system performance is optimum, the integration of the antenna into a device should begin in the earliest stage of the product conception and design.

Other than the required operating frequency range needed in IoT application, how the antenna will be connected and integrated into the device affects its RF and overall system performance. The way antenna will be connected to the RF IC; where the antenna will be positioned within the device and the choice of the antenna design (side or center-fed) to use are all important considerations.

For example, if ease and speed of integration is required in a Wi-Fi system, a flexible antenna such as the series 146153 peel-and-stick antenna would be most appropriate. This is because the adhesive side of the flexible antenna allows it to be attached anywhere within device housing or chassis so long as it delivers optimal radiation efficiency, with the cabled end micro-connector attached to the radio device of the application PCB.

Molex’s series 146153 Flexible Antenna not only offers flexibility in mounting but has a balanced dipole design. That means the micro coaxial cable is center-fed to the antenna to ensure current transmission is balanced throughout the antenna regardless of cable length. Another important feature of this dual-band (2.4/5GHz) antenna is its ground-plane independent design which reduces engineering resources and costs needed to mitigate PCB ground-induced radiation. Then antenna’s high Radiation Efficiency (75% minimum in the 2.4GHz band and 70% minimum in the 5GHz band) ensure superb RF performance in wireless IoT devices. Mechanically, the high cable pull-out force of over 18N ensures the antenna’s robust connection to the radio device on the application PCB. Cable length options from 50 to 300mm extends physical connectivity to the radio device for added flexibility.


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