Virtual Antenna™ for easy design of IoT devices with embedded antennas: Page 5 of 8

September 20, 2019 //By J. Anguera, A. Andújar, C. Puente, Fractus Antennas, Barcelona, Spain
Anechoic chamber for testing Virtual Antenna™
Virtual Antenna™ technology enables one antenna component to cover all IoT frequency bands. This article describes the main features of Virtual Antenna™ technology and shows a simple design flow comprising only three simple steps.

Thanks to this design flow, an antenna booster can operate at any band and in any device by just designing a suitable matching network. For example, if we have an IoT device that needs operation at the NB-IoT 900 MHz band, a simple L-type matching network can work (Figure 5). However, if the device needs to operate at several LTE bands, the same antenna booster as previous case is used but with a different matching network (Figure 6).

Figure 5: (Top left) An antenna booster (12 mm x 3 mm x 2.4 mm) with a matching network comprising two lumped SMD components for operation at 900 MHz (Bottom). (Top right) Measured VSWR and total efficiency.

Figure 6: (Top left) An antenna booster with a multiband matching network comprising seven SMD lumped components for operation at 824 MHz - 960 MHz and 1710 MHz - 2690 MHz (Bottom). (Top right) Measured VSWR and total efficiency.

As seen from these two examples, the antenna booster is the same component for both cases, and the only part that changes is the matching network design for each case. Therefore, a new antenna design is not needed for each situation since the same antenna booster can be used for any band. Furthermore, if the PCB size changes, the same design flow applies, that is, the antenna booster can be the same and only the matching network is designed to operate at the desired number of bands [11]. Consequently, this is an advantage for wireless engineers that need to embed an antenna in their devices since the antenna booster remains the same and there is no need to choose a different antenna to integrate in all their different devices. Also, this represents an economy of scale advantage since same antenna booster can be integrated across different platforms.

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