Embedded Antennas and the IoT

May 2, 2019 at 8:00 AM

 

In the not so distant future, the world will be fully automated with machines being able to communicate with little or no interaction from humans, thanks to the arrival of the Internet of Things (IoT) and the use of embedded antennas.

 

These small form factor antennas are a perfect fit for the shrinking size of IoT devices, while still being able to keep up with the massive amounts of data that will need to be transmitted as the IoT connects physical devices with software based management and control applications.

 

Embedded antennas are small, yet powerful antennas with many offering multiband support for use in mobile and fixed data applications. Their key performance attributes include high efficiency, low power consumption, low return loss and isolation.

 

High efficiency brings better signal reception, improving the system’s ability for faster data transfer rates. Reduced power consumption allows for increased longevity. Less return loss means more power transmitted, and isolation limits the amount of crosstalk interference. Embedded antennas can work with high-frequency or low-frequency systems, some feature MIMO technology and smart antennas have been introduced that feature embedded GPS and Flash memory capabilities.

 

As IoT deployments get underway, there are more embedded antenna options to consider to take full advantage of this exciting era of automation.

 

To help you succeed with your IoT implementations, we offer a full line off-the-shelf, embedded antennas ready to ship the same-day, plus custom designed antennas to suite all of your IoT needs.

 

411 on 5G

November 1, 2018 at 8:00 AM

 

For the past few years, the world of technology has been abuzz with talk about the 5th generation mobile wireless (5G), and with full-scale rollouts set to begin next year, all that buzz can be expected to become a swarm. For example, when wireless networks transitioned from 3G to 4G, there were incremental improvements in technology and performance, but the upgrade from 4G to 5G is expected to be a complete revolution of wireless and connectivity. To make sure you’re prepared to take part in the revolution, here’s the 411 to get you up to speed on 5G.

 

The goal of the 5G network is to create a platform that makes it possible to deliver global connection. This means being able to connect everyone and everything, everywhere around the globe. In addition to that, 5G systems are slated to deliver data rates that far surpass 4G in a wider coverage area, while being more power efficient and reliable, presenting lower latency, supporting faster moving equipment and the influx of communication stemming from the Internet of Things (IoT). Plus, 5G will not only support mobile wireless users, it will also include enhanced wireless connectivity technology for use in applications such as automotive, smart homes, augmented and virtual reality.

 

In order to cross into all of those markets, the specifications for 5G performance have been debated and defined. The finalized specifications were set to be released by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) in 2020. Though mobile operators and service providers are urging the standardization organizations to accelerate that timetable.

 

With so much uncertainty still looming over the finalization of the standard, early releases are not shaping up exactly as planned. In the meantime, the non-standalone 5G new radio (NSA 5G NR) is the interim 5G specification and will help ease the transition from 4G to 5G. The NSA 5G NR supports many aspects of 5G including the sub-6 GHz spectrum, frequency bands, carrier aggregation and MIMO. With the new 5G frequency bands, NSA 5G NR is capable of 5G-like performance while utilizing existing technologies and infrastructure. This interim specification will provide the groundwork for future trials and deployments and allow for the technology to be better understood for the full 5G rollout.

 

With the excitement of early 5G availability, there have also been new application opportunities emerging that include fixed wireless (FWS) to the home. This development would use 5G wireless technology to provide last mile data services including television, home internet and voice-over-IP (VoIP) phone calling. As the launch of early 5G gets closer, there are bound to be additional new and existing applications to arise that would benefit from 5G’s lower latency, increased data rates and enhanced reliability. Until then, we will have to wait with great anticipation for the arrival of 5G.

 

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How the IoT is Affecting Wi-Fi

October 18, 2018 at 8:00 AM

 

In today’s society, Wi-Fi has become something that people now expect to be readily available and depend on to carry out everyday tasks. With the rollout of the Internet of Things (IoT), people will soon become accustomed to having all of their things connected as well. But with all of those connected devices, can Wi-Fi handle an even greater influx of user demand for high-speed connectivity? Here, we’ll take a look at how the IoT is affecting Wi-Fi.

 

When it comes to connectivity requirements, each IoT application can have a different set of range, data throughput and energy efficiency needs. Some IoT devices only need small, intermittent data transfers, such as utility meters. While some need a constant stream of data, such as live surveillance cameras. Also, range can differentiate from very short for wearables, to spanning miles for weather and agricultural sensor applications. But there are two things that are constants for all IoT applications: the need for remote power and constant connectivity.

 

To fulfill this need, Wi-Fi is the obvious choice because Wi-Fi coverage is so widespread, but standard Wi-Fi is not always the best choice for IoT applications. Thus, there are several standards that have emerged from the need for IoT connectivity. These include LoRaWAN, multiple short range communications standards and new Wi-Fi standards such as HaLow (802.11ah) and HEW (802.11ax).

 

The 802.11ah standard was introduced to address the range and power needs of the IoT. It utilizes the 900 MHz frequency band to provide extended range, covering a one kilometer radius, lower power requirements, wake/sleep periods and station grouping options.

 

The 802.11ax standard also includes the wake/sleep and station grouping features, and has a MU-MIMO feature that allows up to 18 users to simultaneously send data within a 40 MHz channel when paired with the smaller subcarrier spacing. Internet service providers and technology startups have also begun developing an application layer that includes mesh networks that use sets of routers to work together and extend wireless coverage, and provisioning tactics that define how wireless devices connect to networks.

 

There is some fear that the IoT could essentially break Wi-Fi, but there seems to be plenty of development activity focused around finding solutions to Wi-Fi congestion before it becomes a problem. With all of the IoT devices expected to be connecting in the near future, there will likely be a significant shift in Wi-Fi practices and standards, but as with everything in the world of technology, being able to pivot and reconfigure is the name of the game.

 

Smart Homes - The Future is Here

September 20, 2018 at 10:00 AM

 

Long ago, the idea of a home having the technology to be interactive was only a possibility in a Hollywood production or sci-fi novel. But those days are gone, the future is here and smart homes have moved from the realm of fantasy to an endless world of possibility. With the development of the Internet of Things (IoT), the world in general is becoming smarter and safer, and that includes our homes. Here, we’ll take a look at the technology behind the innovation bringing technological magic to your home.

 

First, what is a smart home? A smart home is automated, much in the way your coffee pot or your air conditioner are automated to turn on at a certain time or temperature. But a smart home takes that one step further by connecting all of those automated devices in your home through a wireless network, they are then able to be monitoring and programmed from one device. It is that communication with the devices that makes it smart. The devices in a smart home all rely on connectors and sensors to transmit and relay signals. Most wireless home automation uses low-power equipment so that power supply is not an issue.

 

To connect all of these devices, a combination of long and short-range wireless communication protocols is used, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, ANT and ZigBee. With this technology, along with smartphones and tablets, we are now able to connect a multitude of devices within the home, this includes TVs, heating and cooling systems, lighting, appliances, security systems and cameras, or anything else that can be connected to the network. Plus, the communication to these devices is not distance limited, meaning you can control or change your thermostat while you’re at work or traveling using WAN connectivity via a router. Many new homes are being constructed with this technology built-in, older homes can be retrofitted with smart technologies and there are devices from companies like Google and Amazon that will connect to many electronics within your home.

 

Why would someone want a smart home? For one, it can make life a lot easier. Being able to control the devices within your home from your smartphone is super convenient. There is also an additional level of safety added when you’re able to monitor your home through a connected security network. Video cameras can provide surveillance in and around the home, with smart locks you can allow repairmen into your home and you are able to monitor when children get home from school. For people with disabilities or limited movement, smart homes that allow them to manage the home environment from a single, mobile device can make life much easier. In addition to safety, smart homes can be very energy efficient, which is good for the environment. Being able to control the thermostat remotely and turn lights and appliances on or off can be a great way to save energy.

 

With the growth of the IoT and more things becoming connected, it is no wonder that this would apply to our homes as well. Not only do smart homes provide convenience, they can also be good for the environment and give assistance to the disabled. Lucky for us, we no longer have to wait for the home of the future, the future is now. 

 

IoT: Making the World Safer

June 21, 2018 at 8:00 AM

 

We are living in exciting times. With the development of the IoT making it possible to connect devices and make smart homes, smart businesses, smart cars and smart cities, our world is evolving into an interconnected network designed to make life easier. In previous posts, we’ve explored the IoT and antennas, the Industrial IoT (IIoT) and how the IIoT is changing manufacturing. Aside from the business aspect of the IoT, is there a greater benefit to society? Here, we’ll look at how the IoT, and all of its things, can also be used to make the world safer.

 

Today, body cameras are offering a previously unseen view into the world of policing and social media allows for crimes to be publicly documented by anyone with a smartphone. Plus, cameras and surveillance systems are already being implemented in many cities to keep a watchful eye when law enforcement isn’t physically present. Take that a step further and there are technologies being introduced that are truly transformative. Intelligent roadway systems are being utilized to direct traffic flow and manage digital signs that provide information to drivers, all to help avoid accidents and make the roads safer. This same type of technology, along with GPS, can also allow first responders to better navigate through traffic and improve response times.

 

Furthermore, with the IoT, there is a huge amount of data being collected. All of this information can be used to analyze behavior and patterns and create algorithms to identify potential crimes before they occur. Everything from past criminal activity, behavior patterns, weather patterns, social media activity and gunshot sensors can be used to inform law enforcement and help prevent crimes from taking place, or lessen the effect of the event. In fact, some cities already have technology in place that uses sensors to detect a gunshot, determine the location of shots fired and deliver that information to law enforcement within one minute. Much like a fire alarm alerts of potential danger, this system alerts of a potential active shooter situation, notifies the police and provides real-time data on where shots were fired and the layout of the location.

 

Other technology making the world safer includes self-driving cars, which remove some element of human error and could eliminate the risk that goes along with high-speed chases. Also, drones can be used to provide aerial surveillance, assess and access areas that might be too dangerous for officers or first responders to enter blindly. GPS can be used to track where someone is in a building, making it easier to find people in the event of a fire, natural disaster or other emergency situation. Plus, health monitoring devices can provide information to first responders if a victim is unresponsive. These devices might even be able to detect a health issue before it occurs.

 

There are many ways that the IoT is changing the world for the better, including safety. By using IoT technology and connecting devices to allow people to navigate this world more safely, we all win.

 

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