Antenna Intelligence Cloud™ simplifies designs with multiple antennas

News 15 Nov 2022
Antenna Intelligence Cloud

Groundbreaking digital twin prototyping tool for IoT devices with up to 5 radios.

Sant Cugat del Vallès/Electronica Munich, November 15, 2022 – Ignion, a Barcelona-based IoT antenna innovator, announced today the launch of the Antenna Intelligence Cloud™ with amplified features for devices with multiple wireless standards. Building on the success of the award-winning Antenna Intelligence Cloud™(AIC) launched earlier this year, the latest version adds the power of cloud-based automation for IoT antenna designs with up to 5 radios, making complex IoT projects materially easier to develop and with less risk through accurate performance prediction and device-tailored design files.

Whether designing an asset tracker with the combination of cellular IoT and GNSS or a medical device using both BLE and Wi-Fi, the complexity of the current IoT market with multiple wireless protocols and ever-increasing certification requirements, puts high demands on the limited resource of good RF designers. IoT devices with multiple radios operating on different frequencies require complex RF designs often resulting in several prototyping iterations and high risk of slipping deadlines. Ignion’s Antenna Intelligence Cloud™ helps mitigate this issue with a tailored complimentary digital twin allowing engineers to get a testbed model of their antenna design and performance profile in a matter of minutes, removing the need to start with a physical prototype. Using Ignion’s Virtual Antenna® design know-how with embedded machine learning and cutting-edge RF performance profiling, the new Antenna Intelligence Cloud™ expands the cloud tool capabilities to offer accurate and predictable design guidance, including antenna coupling for up to 5 radios in the same device. In addition, the AIC now also provides enhanced context-based developer guidance and design files, automatically tailored to the device requirements.

Over 1500 customers who already used the AIC can confirm it has shortened their time to market and de-risks the design process from endless trial-and-error steps.

“IoT antenna integration is a hard and time-consuming process, which leads to failure in the design process and in devices deployed in the field. Putting antenna design and profiling software tools into the hands of customers is a key way of streamlining the design process and guaranteeing the performance of devices. Ignion’s Antenna Intelligence Cloud™ is a great example of this and will allow device manufacturers to confidently use standard off-the-shelf antenna designs to assure the success of their IoT projects.” Tancred Taylor, Industry Analyst, ABI Research.

The new Antenna Intelligence Cloud™ tool will be demoed at Electronica in Munich Nov. 15-18 at the Ignion booth B4.535.

For further info visit https://ignion.io/antenna-intelligence/

About Ignion

Founded in Barcelona, Spain, as an independent antenna product business in 2015, the Virtual Antenna™ technology is already embedded in more than 30 million IoT devices worldwide. Ignion has assembled a leading R&D and engineering team to make RF easier and more predictable using their revolutionary antenna products and ground-breaking cloud services that meet the ever-evolving requirements of IoT wireless connectivity.

Ignion has corporate offices in Spain, USA, and China as well as several strategic partnerships with the leading module makers and transceiver OEM’s.

Top 4 Environmental Challenges to Consider When Designing Your IoT Project

Blog 17 Jan 2023
materials that affect iot performance

By Jordi Miró, Antenna & Product Engineer, Ignion.

 

In the IoT world, it’s a given that devices will end up deployed in a wide variety of environmental conditions. Some devices live next to materials that only incrementally affect their wireless performance. Other devices must work adjacent to materials that can significantly jeopardize the device’s wireless signal. How can developers make intelligent product decisions – particularly regarding antenna characteristics — that pre-emptively reduce risk before committing to costly manufacturing?

The surest way is to be aware of the deployment conditions during the design stage and adapt the antenna performance to those target conditions. Until recently, this method was better in theory than in practice. Developers needed to produce prototypes using multiple antenna selections, and through trial and error, arrive at the most robust solution. This process was often inconsistent and always time-consuming.

Today, with Virtual Antenna® technology, antenna response can easily be tuned during pre-product testing. This allows IoT designers to optimize the design for the target environmental settings. The end benefits are more cost-effective testing, rapid design optimization, faster time to market, and optimal performance in the field.

This post will allow you to see how several common materials and their proximity to the deployed devices impact antenna performance. The materials assessed are concrete, wood, body phantom, and metal.

We produced a test with a 100 mm x 50 mm evaluation board covering LTE-Cat M in the most used low and high-frequency bands for IoT deployments (699-960 MHz and 1710-2200 MHz). The materials were tested with the device in terms of distance to better determine the performance impact and best decide the deployment location. Five different distances between the PCB of 100 mm x 50 mm and the surrounding material were evaluated: 20 mm, 15 mm, 10 mm, 5 mm, and 0 mm. The matching network used in this analysis remained the same, to evaluate the shifting in frequency, if any, introduced by each material.

The results shown below demonstrate how the aforementioned materials affect the antenna performance in total efficiency percentage (%), depending on the distance between the device and the underlying material.

Top 4 Materials That Affect Your IoT Antenna Performance

  • Wood

In IoT asset tracking, wood pallets are often in close proximity to the tracking devices. The impact on antenna performance in proximity to wood is the least problematic.  The only noticeable effect is in the high bands, due to material insertion of losses.  It’s fair to conclude that the antenna is highly robust to this material.

  • Concrete

Proximity to concrete is a different matter, causing a drop in antenna efficiency, especially at high bands. It is seen that the antenna is robust towards detuning from the presence of concrete and the performance is somewhat decreased, thus it is advised to keep some distance from it.

  • Human/animal Body

Human/animal body in proximity – such as with wearable devices – has a significant impact on antenna performance. The antenna performance is quite affected by the human body’s capacitive nature, especially when the antenna is almost touching the skin. This effect can be noticed in almost all the antenna parameters such as total efficiency, as can be seen below.

Sometimes, a perfectly tuned antenna behaves totally differently in the nearest area of an organic body becoming non-operative. Nevertheless, the good news is that, in most circumstances, a few millimeters can prevent adverse effects on the human body.

  • Metal

As can be seen below, metal is probably the most challenging material when placed close to an antenna. A reconfiguration/retuning of the matching network is required to adjust to the specific distance between the device and the metal. This step allows you to maximize device performance despite the surrounding metals near the antenna.

Many IoT designers struggle with marked antenna performance fall-off due to metal in the vicinity of the device. The tailored capabilities of the Virtual Antenna® technology allow IoT designers to deal with these problems without major impacts but assuming some efficiency losses. For instance, devices implemented in supply containers are perfectly functional even though they are made of metal since the antenna integration considers the presence of metal at the design stage.

While it’s not possible to know all the environmental conditions that can affect device performance, the four materials discussed here will cover a great many use cases. The flexibility of Virtual Antenna® technology allows for proactive design decisions that can mitigate the effects of wireless degradation – in advance of product manufacturing.

By letting you see the performance in advance, you can build in the needed buffer for the degradation that may occur when put in proximity to these environmental factors.

Want to see a more in-depth analysis of how proximity materials affect your IoT device’s antenna performance? Read all about it in our latest design guide here.