Antennas are the means by which modern wireless communications breathes, embedded behind the scenes in applications critical to our everyday lives.
To give you an idea of the ubiquity of antennas, here are some examples:
There are at least four in your mobile phone and two on your computer. If you use in-home WiFi networks, play AR/VR video games, drive around and navigate using GPS, or have purchased items with security tags attached, all these daily applications require the use of antennas.
Antennas are crucial to our daily lives since many of our daily routines depend on wireless communications, even though we may not realize it. These small metallic rods that capture radio waves converting them into electrical signals are key components in an RF system and can have a major impact on performance.
Antennas have three important properties: bandwidth, directionality and gain.
Bandwidth refers to the variety of frequencies over which it works effectively. The broader the antenna bandwidth, the more comprehensive range of radio waves it can capture. For example, in broadcast TV, a broader bandwidth can be helpful since the ability to receive a number of different channels is desirable. However, a broad antenna bandwidth is less useful for mobile or satellite communications where it’s essential to obtain a radio wave transmission on a relatively narrow frequency band.
Directionality is a feature that enables an antenna to be more sensitive in one direction than in another. The log-periodic antennas are known to be very directional as they pick up incoming waves travelling at right angles to them. However, the telescopic antenna on an FM radio is less directional as it can capture signals from virtually any direction. Directional antennas, when properly aligned, help to reduce interference from unwanted radio signals. As a rule of thumb, the bigger the antenna gain the better the reception by which signals are being transmitted and vice versa.
Some desirable attributes of antennas:
- High performance, small size, and low cost are common requirements for many RF applications.
- Proximity or short distance applications such as robotic rovers generally require small, lightweight, low power, multi-functional, and robust antennas.
- Long distance applications, such as satellite relays and space landing generally require high gain, low mass antennas.
Talk to our antenna expert if you’d like to discuss how to implement antennas in your RF application, and we’ll help you find the best solution for your performance requirements!