Antenna selection tends to be one of the most challenging parts of a design even for the most experienced RF engineers. The fact that it’s also fundamental to the performance of any wireless connection this makes it one of the most important aspects. Its good o note that without a well-functioning antenna, the radio link and user’s experience may not be stable therefore market acceptance of the product will likely suffer. At many instances the choice of the antenna is left till last which compromises performance, costly redesigns as well as delays getting a product to market. There are some projects that adopt a standard design if the selection had been made early but forced to commission a more costly custom solution. It’s crucial to identify the key considerations when in need of choosing the right antenna for one’s product.
Taking the right first steps. The most crucial point is to ensure that the antenna selection is considered at the concept stage of the development cycle since it will influence so many aspects of electronic as well as mechanical design. You should not assume an antenna which worked on a previous design will also be suitable for a new design even minor changes like enclosure material including fillers band coatings can have a substantial influence on the antenna performance. Although it’s possible to integrate the antenna during later stages of the design cycle design flexibility will be constrained leading to much risk of failing to meet specifications.
Types of antennas. It’s good to note that there are many diverse types of antennas with the most part separate into embedded or external. A combination of the aesthetic design as well as RF performance influences the type of antenna selection. The choice of the desired antenna is mostly determined by the intended use since they are used differently in various applications. This means that it’s good to first determine your use then read on the available types as this guides one in making the right antenna selection.
Frequency spectrum. There is need to also consider the frequency spectrum the equipment needs to operate in and will be defined by the end application such as cellular, GNSS. Wi-Fi and much more. Frequency bands may differ by region as some use multiple frequency bands to ensure maximum coverage. Choosing an antenna which covers these multiple frequency bands in a single device is crucial since it allows equipment to operate globally without the inconvenience of having the need for different antenna to be fitted for each region.
Design support. This antenna should have support for customer designs that includes free evaluation kits, demonstration boards and samples. Choosing a company whose engineering team is on hand to support these RF based designs helps one gain advices well as support to the system level. It’s good to learn more about the antenna application, technology as well as the frequency band given that this guides one ion narrowing don the option to hosing the best one. This extensive design support is necessary as it gives an insight into the antenna operation thereby guiding one in making the right antenna selection.