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Professional Antenna Design Software

We’ve collected a list of the top professional antenna simulation software to help you decide which tools are best to design, simulate, optimize, tune, and manufacture your next antenna.

HFSS CST FEKO AGILENT ADS Mician Wizard Professional Simulation Tools

Professional Antenna Simulation Tools

We start with a list of tools typically used for general antenna simulation.

The following simulation tools cover Finite Element Method (FEM), Finite-Difference Time-Domain (FDTD), Method of Moments (MoM), Integral Equation (IE), Physical Optics (PO), and Geometrical Theory of Diffraction (GTD) solver algorithms with varying efficiencies depending on the problem.

HFSSGeneral EM Simulator
FEKOMoM EM Simulator
MomentumMoM EM Simulator
GraspMoM/PO/GTD EM Simulator
Antenna ToolboxMoM Simulator

Professional Feedchain Simulation Tools

Every antenna needs a feed. This could range from a simple waveguide matched to a single horn antenna to a multi-band, dual circular polarization corporate feed in an array.

It’s definitely possible to use nearly any of the tools mentioned above to design one, but it’s typically suggested to use a tool that is specifically made for the job to reduce overall costs especially for complex high power waveguide feeds and direct radiators.

No matter the feed network, this list of tools help simulate and optimize the feed efficiently. Typical solver algorithms include Mode Matching (MM), Finite Element Method (FEM), Method of Moments (MoM), and circuit simulation for touchstone & SWE file analysis.

Micrwave WizardMM/FEM EM Simulator
Fest3dMM/MoM EM Simulator
ChampMM/MoM EM Simulator
ADSCircuit & EM Simulator
RF ToolboxSWE & Touchstone Evaluation

Free Electromagnetic Simulators

As an alternative to professional simulation tools, open-source options exist. The main differences between the professional-grade simulation tools discussed in this article vs free or open-source tools is the user interface, mesher, and the solver algorithm efficiency, but hey, they’re free!

Tool DescriptionCost
opememsEM Simulator $0
NECEM Simulator$0

High Power RF Analysis Tools

A high power (HP) electromagnetic (EM) simulation tool is used to help predict the power handling capabilities of a feed network and antenna. This consists of analyzing high power gas ionization, corona, and multipactor at near vacuum. To our knowledge, these are the tools widely accepted by industry standards.

Tool Description
SPARK3dEM HP Analysis
HFSSMultipaction Analysis

Mechanical, Structural, and Thermal Analysis Tools

For mechanical CAD, structural, and thermal analysis of the antenna, commercial grade simulation software is recommended. Although this list is not exhaustive, Finite Element Analysis (FEA) tools used along with the above mentioned EM packages can be combined from certain software vendors to make co-simulation easier between engineering teams.

Tool Description
Ansys MechanicalMCAD, Thermal, & Structural Analysis
Altair OptiStructStructural Analysis
MSC NastranSpecialized Structural Analysis
Ansys LumericalEM & Thermal Co-simulation
Autodesk InventorMCAD, Thermal, & Structural Analysis

Manufacturing Analysis Tools

Typically, manufacturing analysis tools should be used on the mechanical CAD model to validate the manufacturability of the parts. There are two main methods of part production: subtractive and additive. Typically subtractive techniques will be more electrically predictable.

Most interestingly, software vendors are now releasing metal additive part manufacturing simulation tools to allow engineers to quickly loop design for manufacturing in their models. This is not an exhaustive list, but these could work in combination with the other mentioned software packages.

Tool Description
Ansys AdditiveAdditive Manufacturing Analysis
Fusion360-ManufacturingMachining & Additive Manufacturing Analysis

Simulation Expertise

The learning curve on some of these software suites can be overwhelming. There are plenty of youtube tutorials on some of the larger packages like HFSS, CST, and FEKO.

We can also help with the simulation of antennas and components. Check out our simulation page for more info

That’s all. We hope this article helped you on your journey in antenna design. You may also want to see our guide on low cost antenna design tools.

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