Testing antenna band switching performance

In this post, Kyocera AVX’s  global marketing manager antennas, Carmen Redondo, explains how the company’s new antenna evaluation board reduces time-to-market 

Kyocera AVX is launching an evaluation board for testing antenna band switching performance. It comprises standard products including: an embedded, universal broadband, FR4 LTE/LPWA antenna; Ether Switch & Tune chipset for band switching or aperture tuning; battery holder to power the RF switch; female SMA connector; and small evaluation board optimized for testing the antenna performance of standard-sized IoT devices.  

The board is engineered for low and high-band frequency (968–960MHz and 1.71–2.17GHz) 4G, 5G, broadband LTE, LTE Cat-M, NB-IoT and cellular LPWA. Applications include cellular headsets and tablets, handheld electronics, embedded designs, telematics, tracking, on-board diagnostics systems, industrial M2M, IoT, healthcare, home automation and smart grid devices. 

IoT devices tend to be rather compact and densely populated PCBs can significantly degrade the bandwidth and efficiency performance of the passive monopole and Planar Inverted-F antennas that are widely employed in mobile phones and other modern RF electronics but are susceptible to position-based performance changes and interacting with their surroundings, which can further complicate high-density PCB layouts. 

Active antennas capable of band switching, also known as aperture tuning, cover a wider frequency range than passive antennas by actively switching between frequency bands. In addition, active antennas capable of covering the same frequencies as passive antennas have smaller form factors better suited to compact, high-density devices and, at equal size, will cover more frequency bands than passive antennas.  

Kyocera AVX’s active antennas are equipped with patented Isolated Magnetic Dipole (IMD) technology, which is designed to deliver unique size and performance advantages including reduced ground plane and keep-out area size requirements for greater design flexibility, superior RF field containment for reduced interaction with surrounding components, and higher efficiency, gain, isolation and directivity characteristics. 

Kyocera AVX’s  global marketing manager antennas, Carmen Redondo, said: “The new evaluation board is the first of its kind available in the global electronics market and will help RF design engineers: optimize antenna size, performance and emissions; reduce the number of device design iterations; more easily satisfy customer and regulatory specifications; and hasten product time-to-market. 

“It is also optimally sized for testing the performance of IoT devices, equipped with proven Kyocera AVX components including a high-performance, universal broadband, FR4 LTE antenna with patented IMD technology and an Ether Switch & Tune chipset.”