This article serves as a guide to help you decide when a consultant is needed for your antenna design.
Thinking of hiring an antenna expert to help integrate your next antenna into your wireless product? This article helps you decide when to hire an antenna consultant and to help prepare for the questions they would ask. So let’s get to it!
When is the best time to engage an antenna consultant?
To get the most out of an antenna consultant, it is best to include them in the preliminary design phase of the product development.
Even if it’s for a short consultation to get a sense of where to place an off-the-shelf antenna, it allows to set the team in the right direction to prevent expensive corrections down the road.
What are some of the questions asked?
A discussion on some use-case scenarios, materials used to enclose the device, and the approximate mechanical shape would help determine some of the antenna design characteristics. With this information, it makes antenna selection and placement more straight forward.
Along with the product’s application and mechanical design, there are some electrical performance questions that need to be determined. Some very broad questions can include:
- Wireless range
- Power requirement
How can an antenna consultant increase the range of the product?
Increasing the range of a device requires all elements in the chain to function optimally. Any single link in the chain can cause a drop in performance, which results in poor range. Many bad links can cause severe communications issues. Common blocks in the chain include:
- Feed network losses
- Bad tuning network
- Lossy dielectrics surrounding the antenna
- Nulls in the antenna performance
- Poor impedance matching in parts of the network
A consultant can help optimize and tune some or all of the above elements to increase the overall performance and boost the range of the device.
Can a consultant use software to verify a product’s performance?
Of course! The easiest way to validate if an antenna is functioning correctly is to import or build the CAD geometry into a simulator. Cross-checking simulated performance with measurements allow insight to potential design issues.
Simulators such as Ansys HFSS can be used to import and simulate an entire product including electrical and mechanical features such as SMA/u.fl connectors, feed network, tuning network, and the active radiating elements.
A great place to start looking to chose the best software to verify a product’s performance can be reviewed in our Professional Antenna Design Software blog post.
Antenna simulation software can be a significant cost so to may be more effective to hire a consultant to simulate a products antenna.
Contacting a professional for assistance
We hope this article provided some insight on when to involve an antenna design expert in your wireless product development.
To prevent costly product iterations, we highly recommend to contact an antenna expert to assist with the design of your wireless product right in beginning of the project.
Should you wish to discuss your product’s development, you may contact a member of our team by using the contact us form.
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