Common, Avoidable Antenna Mistakes

COMMON, AVOIDABLE ANTENNA MISTAKES _ October 6, 2010

The most common reason wireless devices of all sorts fail the required certification process – sometimes even to launch at all – is antenna issues. As part of our mission is to enable M2M customers to bring new innovations to market fast, manage risk and position themselves for success, we intend to hit the ground running with our new blog by highlighting a few common, but avoidable antenna mistakes.

We’ve been designing and certifying wireless products for years, but we continue to see these three top success-busters again and again. Of course, we’re happy to help redesign faulty antenna implementations – but we submit for the record: it’s better for everyone if these common obstacles can be avoided.

1. Close but no cigar

Beware of metal in your product design. Although certain applications requiring rugged hardware for extreme environmental conditions may require extensive use of metals, when it comes to antenna design, it’s best to stay as far away as possible. Close proximity to metallic objects in your product is sure to negatively impact your antenna performance.

2. Size matters.

That is, when it comes to ground plane requirements. Take time to understand the minimum size guidelines for the frequency on which your radio will operate. As a rule, the lower the frequency, the larger the ground plane required.

3. Think out of the box.

It would be difficult, in many cases, to sell uncontained electronic componentry. Nevertheless, enclosing your antenna will cause the resonant frequency to shift. Will. Not might. You’ll do best if you anticipate shifts due to casing. This means you cannot expect open air antenna attached to a development kit to perform the same as one integrated into a mechanical prototype. Be sure you pre-test in the enclosure you intend to bring to market.

Unfortunately, this list is by no means the full extent of the antenna design errors we’ve seen. They’re just the most common. If you’re new to wireless design and need a hand with your antenna implementation, give us a call – we’re here to help make your idea a reality.