Internal knowledge about integrated antennas
If you lack knowledge about integrated antennas, then we would recommend that you use an external consultant with experience in antennas who can advise you impartially on antenna selection. In the context of my work as a Sales Director, this basic consulting can usually be done free of charge. A consultation at the beginning of the development saves time and costs.
Large ground plane and budget
If the ground plane is approx. 45 +/5 5 mm and 110 +/-10 mm long then the antenna from the IoT / M2M Cookbook can be converted for 500 USD to 5000 USD for GSM or NB-IoT.
Medium ground-plane (SubGHz, BT, Wi-Fi, ZigBee, GNSS) and budget
A chip antenna for SubGHz may be the better solution for medium-sized ground planes. Chip antennas save space. Chip loop antennas for BT, Wi-Fi, ZigBee or GNSS are very small and inexpensive. The design of a loop antenna as a PCB track certainly requires more installation space.
Medium ground-plane (NB-IoT, GSM, LTE) and budget
For medium-sized ground planes, a chip antenna for NB-IoT, GSM, LTE may be the better solution. Chip antennas save space. Chip loop. The design of a PCB track antenna k usually requires 10% to 20% more space on the board. Chip antennas can stack the antenna structures. With PCB track antennas, the structural racks are in the same plane as the main board.
Small PCB and small ground plane (NB-IoT, GSM, LTE) and Budget
NB-IoT, GSM LTE or any other cellular multi-band technology will need a budget from 5K to 50K US$ for the antenna development. On a small ground plane the standard chip antennas for NB-IoT, GSM, LTE do not work. The same applies to large circuit boards with metal (car body or container) near the antenna or large battery near the antenna.
Decision was taken but a poor antenna design
At this point, the external consultant will be asked for support on antennas again. Unfortunately, this still happens too often and the board has to be completely reworked. The thousands of dollars of cost for the redesign can be saved by consulting at the beginning of the design process.
Decision made but and a good antenna design
If everything is correct, then the antenna can be matched with the VNA and production can start after radio approval.
Has this article series piqued your interest? Do you plan your own LPWAN IoT device? Do you plan to deploy IoT devices with embedded antennas? Do you have an IoT prototype and need to optimise the design or minimise the price? If you have answered “YES” to any one of these questions then please do not hesitate to drop an email to harald.naumann (at) lte-modem.com and to ask for a proposal or some engineering services to make your IoT idea a cost-effective reality.