IoT Design Considerations: Antenna

Most IoT products use wireless technologies to connect with the world. The type and number of wireless technologies used will impact the type and number of antennas needed. For example, 900MHz, 2.4GHz and 5GHz radios all may have different requirements for antenna design.

Module manufacturers often provide multiple options in this area, such as an on-board chip or ceramic antennas. They may also offer a wire (or “whip”) antenna, a “trace” antenna, or a “pin-out” so the manufacturer can add their own (either internal or external connector elsewhere on the circuit board).

In addition, manufacturers may offer U.FL (also called IPEX) connectors for external. In this case, the connection from the U.FL connector to the external antenna is accomplished with a short coaxial “pigtail” that has the mating U.FL connector on one end and the mating connector for the antenna on the other end. The costs of the pigtail and antenna are often overlooked but need to be included in a manufacturer’s BOM for their designs.

When selecting between internal and external antennas, designers must consider the material (metal, plastic, etc.) of the housing and the potential placement of the product within a home or business. If a product is placed behind a couch or under a desk, it may have difficulty getting a wireless signal from the nearest gateway, access point, or router. Metal housings almost always require an external antenna design because the metal in the housing greatly reduces the amount of radio frequencies getting in or out of the housing.

To download the complete Internet of Things Design Considerations White Paper, click here.

 

IoT Design Considerations: Power

There are a few considerations associated with connecting a product to the IoT. Devices already using a wall outlet will not have an issue, but manufacturers of products without wall plugs will have to think through how their power source will affect the design.

IoT devices running on batteries will have to make hardware decisions based on power conservation. There are also a variety of battery types to be taken into consideration: alkaline, lithium (rechargeable) and coin. There are also AA, AAA, coin cell, C, D, 9V, or custom batteries to choose from. As noted earlier, wireless technologies have different power requirements based on use-cases. Once a manufacturer understands how long and how often a device will be connected, the proper type of battery can be chosen.

Another power source for Ethernet-based devices is Power-over-Ethernet (PoE). This technology is popular for low-wattage IP phones and security cameras. Recent advancements and new switching technology is pushing the wattage available through PoE to new levels. This has opened up various possibilities for power-hungry applications and devices.

To download the complete Internet of Things Design Considerations White Paper, click here.