FAQs

Virtual Antenna® Technology
About Ignion
Oxion™
Your IoT device
Antenna Integration
Customization

Are Virtual Antenna® products about 10 times smaller than conventional chip antennas? Doesn’t that go against the laws of physics?

Virtual Antenna® products radiate as much as 10 times more than conventional antenna because it uses the ground metal such as a ground layer on your printed circuit board to radiate. In fact, that ground metal or ground plane is usually the largest conducting element on your wireless device. This is why radiation is maximized using a Virtual Antenna® solution. When dealing with the fundamental limits of physics, the whole radiation system including the ground plane is being used not just the antenna part.

Chip antennas have existed for decades, what is so special about Virtual Antenna® components?

Never before has a chip antenna component been able to deliver efficient radiation for a broadband/multiband connection such as for instance global 4G/5G cellular connectivity. Only Virtual Antenna® products can deliver such a performance in such a small form factor.

Is a Virtual Antenna® product very sensitive to the surrounding elements in my wireless device like batteries, displays, shield cans, and the like?

Blocking your antenna components with conductive elements such as batteries, displays, shield cans can decrease the performance of your antenna system. Watch this 1’ video tutorial to get the right directions on the right placement of the antenna component on your device. Choosing the right placement for the antenna early in your design process will ensure a smooth and predictable design experience. Remember, in embedded wireless design, the antenna comes first!

Why do you say designing with Virtual Antenna® components is no more than a circuit design exercise?

Because a Virtual Antenna® chip is off-the-shelf and needs no mechanical customization. The only engineering effort you need to optimize the performance of your wireless device is designing the proper matching circuit on your PCB. Such a matching circuit will maximize the transfer of energy from your RF module to the antenna system. Please watch the following 1’ video to understand the basics of a matching circuit design. Not sure how to start your matching circuit design? Check our free online service Antenna Intelligence Cloud™ and you will get a matching circuit specially designed for your PCB board in 24h, together with an estimation of the radiation performance you might get on your device.

I am used to RF and microwave design tools but not as much to antenna design; can Virtual Antenna® components help on that?

You can embed a Virtual Antenna® component. You can use a standard RF/electronics circuit design tool such as Cadence AWR Design Environment (Microwave Office), ADS by Keysight, Optenni, or similar to design your full wireless device including the antenna. Circuit libraries for the most popular circuit design software packs are available on the home page of every Virtual Antenna® product. Visit our Libraries section.

Why do you say designing with Virtual Antenna® components is easy?

Because no antenna expertise is needed to embed a Virtual Antenna® component on your device. Antenna performance is optimized just by the matching circuit design. Check the following 1-2-3 1’ video. For an overview of the simple, systematic, predictable design process you get by designing with the Virtual Antenna™ solution.

Why do you say designing with Virtual Antenna® components is faster?

Because no antenna customization is needed. The antenna part remains the same no matter your device form factor and frequency band. Plus, every design iteration is done through a simple matching circuit adjustment. No longer cumbersome mechanical adjustments and prototyping is needed in every design iteration

I have always been designing antennas on 3D Electromagnetic CAD software, can I still do that with Virtual Antenna® products?

You might want to use Virtual Antenna® standard product libraries ready for the standard CST 3D Electromagnetic CAD tool. Just import the library on CST and use it for a full 3D Electromagnetic analysis of your full wireless device, including batteries, shieldings, plastic covers, and the alike. Virtual Antenna® libraries for CST are available in the Libraries section.

Why Virtual Antenna® products are not built on ceramic substrate?

Because there is no need for it. Virtual Antenna® product performance is based on the geometry of its conductive elements, not on the dielectric material. This means that convenient glass epoxy materials such as FR4 can be used, ensuring the right performance at an optimum price with worldwide widespread manufacturing capabilities.

Why glass epoxy based materials such as FR4 are used in Virtual Antenna® products?

Glass epoxy substrates are the most common in circuit design. This ensures availability of raw material and production capability in about any PCB manufacturing facility worldwide, minimizing the risk of shortages and price fluctuation in raw materials.

What does it mean the Virtual Antenna® products are passive?

Most multiband wireless products can accommodate a Virtual Antenna® solution with a fixed, passive matching network that delivers the entire multiband spectrum at once. No active tunning is needed for most applications, saving battery life while making the entire spectrum available for full-speed data transmission.

Why Virtual Antenna® products feature an omnidirectional pattern? Can I have a directional Virtual Antenna™ product?

As a matter of physics, small antennas always feature an omnidirectional pattern. This is particularly convenient for portable wireless devices that need to get signal coverage from a base station or satellite located in an unknown, arbitrary location and direction. Directionality through Virtual Antenna® products can only be achieved through combining multiple Virtual Antenna® chips in antenna arrays or in NxN MIMO architectures.

Are Fractus and Ignion the same company?

No, they are different. Ignion and Fractus have a different shareholder structure, and independent Board of Directors and a separate Management Team. Ignion owns the exclusive right to sell and manufacture under a license from Fractus the ReachXTEND™ family of fractal based chip antenna products.

Are the products of Ignion based on Fractal Antenna Technology?

Virtual Antenna® products, i.e. the mXTEND™ family is based on a technology that is radically different from fractal antennas. Only legacy products in the ReachXTEND™ family are based on fractals. Ignion is still supplying them to meet our long-term commitments from customers that have been using those products for more than a year. New wireless designs should be addressed with Virtual Antenna® products instead as those are more flexible and scalable than resonant fractal antenna products. Should you need help in choosing the right Virtual Antenna® product, please contact us at support@ignion.io

Is Ignion a subsidiary company of Fractus?

No. Ignion and Fractus have a different shareholder structure, and independent Board of Directors and a separate Management Team.

May I get pin-to-pin compatible Ignion like products from a third party vendor?

Virtual Antenna® poducts are unique and there are no pin-to-pin compatible products in the market. Should you desire to get supplied by multiple sources, Ignion has an open Technology Partnership Program to enable other antenna suppliers to manufacture and deliver pin-to-pin compatible products in standard and predictable conditions for the entire industry. Should you want to get supplied Virtual Antenna™ licensed products from a third party, please contact us here.

Is Virtual Antenna® technology based on fractals?

Virtual Antenna® technology is completely unrelated to fractals. Virtual Antenna®chips are for cellular applications because actually 10 times smaller than their fractal-related counterparts (e.g. PIFA or Ceramic SMT antennas).

What happened to Antenna Intelligence Cloud™?

Antenna Intelligence Cloud™ is now a part of the Oxion™ platform. The form to describe the project and device requirements now is in the Oxion™ interface, and the recommended design and performance results previously emailed in a report, are now displayed live in Oxion™.

Is Oxion™ free of charge?

Yes. You can create an account and get access to all features available, completely free of charge.

Why did Ignion launch Oxion™?

Because connectivity shouldn’t stand in the way of good ideas. We want to make antenna integration transparent for all device makers, regardless of RF expertise.

What is Oxion™?

AI-powered antenna integration platform that speeds wireless development. A design universe where a digital twin represents the antenna design in a new wireless device. It contains a dashboard with interactive drag-and-drop features to see the design changes’ impact on antenna performance in real-time.

What is the primary benefit of Oxion™?

  • Shorter time to market, as you will be able to skip HW design iterations, by getting the antenna right early.
  • Lower project cost, as fewer resources are needed.
  • Cost and performance-optimized design. By using the AI Design Explorer feature developers can make instant choices on the balance between cost and performance.
  • Simplified procurement can immediately assess component price and availability.
  • Developers get empowered with a tool to easily show colleagues and project managers the impact of design decisions on the antenna.
  • Less need of RF experts in the product development team/less need of consultants.

How much faster is it?

Instead of having to wait days to have RF specialists simulate, anyone can now get immediate (in seconds) feedback. This not only saves time, but also opens to contrast and compare several ideas/concepts that otherwise wouldn’t be considered due to the slow traditional evaluation process.

How does Oxion™ work?

Oxion™ core functionality is based on machine learning models, trained on 1000s anonymized real device project data from the 20 years of Ignion experience and the learnings from Antenna Intelligence Cloud™ launched in 2022.

What are the main new features of Oxion™?

  1. Projects dashboard – Compare and plan.
  • All design projects in one view with development status and performance history.
  1. AI Design Explorer – Estimate and optimize the performance real-time.
  • Understand the impact of design changes in the Virtual Antenna® performance in real-time.
  • Interactive tool to adjust antenna location, clearance and dimension of your design.
  1. Stock – One click procurement, price assessment and stock availability.
  • Direct access to Ignion’s distribution channels to speed up procurement including both antenna and matching network components. The exact Bill of materials for your device is ready in one click.
  1. Help Center – Tailored guidance specific to project.
  • Automatic recommendation of technical documentation relevant to specific application.
  • Direct access to Ignion’s support.

Does any other antenna company have something similar?

No. Other antenna providers have portfolios of 100s of resonant antenna components. To build a cloud-model on each, covering the 1000s of device size and frequency use-case combinations will be very resource demanding.

What if my wireless device involves multiple PCB interconnected? Will that impact my radiation performance?

Interconnecting the grounds of mutiple PCBs might affect the overall radiation performance of your device. This might be corrected by just a tuning of the matching network. For a full analysis of your multiple-PCB device, please consider using one of our services.

A sticker antenna including a UFL cable does not need matching, isn’t it easier for my wireless design?

Changing the antenna position with respect to your PCB will significantly impact the antenna performance. This means that the overall position of your sticker inside the device will definitely change the overall radiation performance compared to, let’s say the bare, uncovered device as preliminary tested in your lab. In contrast, choosing the right placement of a chip antenna ensures a predictable, reliable design process and final performance throughout the entire design process.

Will I lose coverage in my device compared to an external antenna?

The performance of an internal antenna, such as for instance a chip antenna, is comparable to that of a short stubby antenna on your device, yet being far more convenient in terms of product design, manufacturing and reliability. An increase of coverage throughout an external antenna is only achieved by using large directional external elements (such as long dipoles or dipole arrays), which however reduce coverage in adjacent direction away from the main one.

Why do insist that ‘antenna design goes first’ for any wireless device?

The antenna performance is optimized by choosing the right placement of the antenna chip on the board and keeping it clear from shielding elements that might block radiation. By choosing the right board size and antenna placement your entire wireless embedded design will become predictable and reliable, making your whole design experience smoother, with a more reduced number of iterations and less problems in the certification stage.

Is the performance of a Virtual Antenna® product very sensitive to the ground plane size?

Virtual Antenna® products make use of the ground plane on your device to maximize radiation, so your antenna system has an effective size close to your whole device, the maximum size it can physically have. As a matter of physics, if the size of your entire device is significantly reduced, that will cause some reduction in either the overall bandwidth and radiation efficiency. That might be critical or not depending on your device size and wireless application. Please check our Application Notes section you can to decide what ground plane size is suitable for your application

Do Virtual Antennas® products need some clearance on the printed circuit board (PCB) ground? Why is that?

Some Virtual Antenna® products need a ground clearance beyond the component footprint because that maximizes bandwidth and radiation efficiency. Some products such as DUO mXTEND do not need a ground clearance beyond the antenna footprint. Please check the following video for general recommendations on clearance. Please check in our application notes section for clearance-related guidelines

What does mean ‘operating range’ for Virtual Antenna® components? How it can be so huge (400 MHz to 10 GHz)?

The operating range of a Virtual Antenna® product is the maximum range of frequencies available for radiation in a Virtual Antenna chip. This is by far the largest available in the market because, in contrast to other antenna technologies, Virtual Antenna® chips are nonresonant. By using the proper matching network the RF designer will choose the combination of bands to be used within the entire operating range.

What does it mean that Virtual Antenna® products are ‘frequency neutral’?

Virtual Antenna® products are nonresonant, meaning that the antenna does not pre-condition the frequency of radiation. The frequency is determined by the RF engineer, not by the antenna part. The right frequency of radiation is selected through the matching circuit in the Virtual Antenna® system

What if I want a custom Virtual Antenna® product for my wireless device?

Virtual Antenna® products make custom antenna design unnecessary for most wireless products and applications. Performance is optimized by properly designing the matching circuit on your device, not by changing or adapting the antenna part. This streams your wireless design while making the overall engineering of your IoT device more predictable in terms of cost, time to market, and also performance.

Before I switch my design to a Virtual Antenna® solution I want to make sure how to compare a Virtual Antenna™ chip with a competing product. How can I do that?

Different antenna parts should be always compared on the same ground plane basis, as all unbalanced chip, custom, and generally, SMT antennas change performance with ground plane. Results on different ground plane sizes do not provide a good reference for comparison. You can get a fast assessment of the performance of a Virtual Antenna® product on your device by using our online service Antenna Intelligence Cloud™. You will get an estimation of the chip antenna performance in your device in 24h (subject to Terms & Conditions).