Instant feedback on diverse WiFi antenna design iterations
Wireless or RF mesh network standards like WiFi, Bluetooth and ZigBee are deployed in wireless control and monitoring applications. Some examples of these applications are wireless light switches, smart meters, home entertainment systems, smart home controls, home or building automation, wireless sensor networks, industrial control, embedded sensing, medical data collection, industrial control, environmental monitoring. Many of these WiFi, Bluetooth and Zigbee enabled devices make use of off-the-shelf antennas. Although these antennas are often tested by the manufacturer, this is only done in the context of their standard test boards. As soon as the antenna is brought into the real world and integrated with a new working system, the performance may be affected because of the combination of rapid growth in both wireless sensing and control networks and WiFi based computer networks. So, to avoid interference and RF congestion, RF interference patterns needs to be examined while running this combination. RFxpert allows the designers and developers of these systems to measure these effects at each stage of the integration process.
The effects of nearby PCBs and cabling can be investigated and the positions can be easily optimized. Sometimes changing the location of a nearby ground plane by a fraction of an inch can have a huge impact on the antenna performance. Final packaging can also be evaluated in terms of antenna performance. The best part is that all of this can be done with real-time speed from the convenience of a lab bench without the need for an anechoic chamber.
To demonstrate the effects of an enclosure, we tested a WiFi antenna array with and without plastic casing. The WiFi antenna array is composed of four omni-directional elements radiating at 2440MHz.
In the picture below, test results of the WiFi antenna array with no plastic casing is shown. For demonstration purpose the antenna array is turned over to show the radiating elements. During the test, WiFi antenna array is flipped over so that the radiating elements are facing the RFxpert.
Test results of the WiFi antenna array with plastic casing is shown in the picture below. Combined far-field and combined bi-section charts depict the effect of the plastic casing on the antenna array. The antenna array is turned over to show the radiating elements. During the test, WiFi antenna array is turned over to ensure that the radiating elements are facing the RFxpert.
Each test was completed in 1 second.