Why Are Antenna Measurements Needed?

Antenna tuning, optimizing RF performance, and solving antenna-related problems are complicated, time-consuming, and costly undertakings.

When launching, or certifying a product, you must be 100% sure that it conforms to the SAR regulations. A sub-standard device, which interferes with other systems, can lead to market withdrawal, or, in the worst case, it can harm the user, and cause your company material damage.

How to assure your antenna performs as planned? Work with an experienced antenna and RF specialist with the right tools and facilities to conduct accurate, verified, and documented Antenna Measurements!

Our Antenna Tuning & Matching Component Optimisation Services

Despite the best effort at designing the antenna before prototyping, there is always the need to check both antenna matching and the efficiency of all your antennas. Many factors such as cover, PCB, and potting materials will tune the antenna to a different frequency. Usually, this can be corrected by doing modifications to the antenna itself, if you are using a custom design, or to matching components.

Antenna tuning is done with conducted antenna measurements. First matching is optimized either by adjusting antenna dimensions or replacing antenna matching components. After the antenna is matched to the correct frequency range, antenna efficiency is measured with passive OTA measurement in an anechoic chamber.  Efficiency measurement is crucial because antenna matching only gives an indication that the antenna accepts the power for the transceiver. It does not mean the antenna radiates. Power can be lost to resonances that can occur in other parts of your device such as flexes or battery.

The final performance check is done with active OTA measurements that either measure power transmitted by the device itself or power received by the device. These tests require a fully functional device but give the best indication of full wireless system performance. In situations where conducted measurements are not possible, such as RF modules with integrated antenna, active OTA measurements are the only way to test antenna performance, and antenna tuning is not practically possible.

Wireless Performance Benchmarking

When you are launching your product you need to meet certain performance criteria from regulators and network operators depending on your product and market. However, you also need to meet the expectation of your customers when they compare your product against your competition.  For cellular connectivity, we offer benchmark results that your device can be compared against. We already have a set of devices measured and more is being measured all the time. As an example, you can check measurements carried out by Aalborg University. Contact us to find out more!

What OTA Measurements Do We Do?

Radientum provides all the commonly needed OTA measurements – currently, these include:

  • Cable (passive) measurement 400 MHz- 6 GHz:
    • 3D radiation pattern
    • Antenna Gain
    • Efficiency
    • Polarization
  • Carrier wave power measurement 400MHz – 6 GHz
  • 2.4/5GHz WIFI, TRP & TIS
  • Cellular 2G, 3G, 4G, 5G, TRP & TIS
  • UHF RFID tag performance testing including ARC/TIPP

Our Conducted RF & Antenna Measurements

Radientum provides all the commonly needed conducted RF & Antenna measurement:

  • S-parameter measurement
    • Multiport Return Loss
    • Insertion Loss / Isolation
  • RF-characterization of dielectric materials
    • Permittivity
    • Loss Tangent
  • Conducted Tx power for cellular 2G, 3G, 4G, 5G
  • Conducted carrier wave power 400MHz – 6 GHz

Antenna Array & mmWave measurements

Antenna measurements for mmWave measurements differ greatly from measurements at lower frequencies. Antenna structure and other hardware are much more tightly integrated, quite often preventing access to antenna ports. To overcome this limitation, there are a few different approaches that can be taken.

  1. Measurement of an antenna-specific prototype with post-processing. A dedicated prototype that doesn’t include PCB components can be manufactured. This leaves room for RF routing and connector while still fitting into the mechanics. Each antenna element can be measured independently and the results can be post-processed to simulate the behavior of an array. This approach can be done to very large antenna arrays but it is time-consuming.
  2. Measurement of an antenna-specific prototype with external beamforming. The difference to the above approach is that result is not post-processed but instead, an external beamformer is used to create excitation to the antennas. This allows actual measurement of the desired beam but the size of the array is limited by the available beamformer.
  3. Measurement of an antenna-specific prototype with internal beamforming. In this approach, the beamformer is integrated with the antenna. Usually, this method is used when there is easy access available to the interface between a beamformer and up/down converters.
  4. The measurement is from low frequency. This type of measurement is useful when using a smart antenna module or if the entire RF frontend is integrated without modules. However, it is not possible, if the RF frontend is integrated with the baseband, as is the case in many radar sensor modules. The baseband module can be located quite far from the antenna thanks to the lower frequency which allows connecting to the transmission line to perform antenna measurements. This way the DUT can control the beam-steering.
  5. Full OTA measurement. If the antenna is integrated with baseband as is the case with some of the radar modules, the only option is to conduct an OTA measurement. In this measurement approach, the radiated power generated by the DUT is measured. All parts of the system affect the result of this measurement which means that any debugging is significantly more difficult.

Typical results from mmWave measurements are related to radiation patterns such as EIRP, maximum gain, and beamwidth instead of efficiency and TRP that are used in lower frequencies. Return loss or VSWR is still observed but, in the case of antenna arrays, the active reflection coefficient(ARC) becomes important.

Antenna Measurement Facilities at Radientum

Radientum has a wide range of professional tools for carrying out all antenna measurements and a fully-equipped anechoic chamber with over-the-air (OTA) measurement setup. Our anechoic chamber provides a stable environment to measure wireless performance – anytime!

cm-Wave Anechoic Chamber Specifications

Specifications of our anechoic chamber:

  • Size: width 3m, height 3m, length 7m
  • Frequencies above 400MHz
  • 2-axis rotation system for 3D measurements
  • Additional rotation system for RFID measurements

mm-Wave Anechoic Chamber Specification

Specification of our own chamber:

  • Size: 1.3m length, 0.6m width and 0.6m height
  • Frequency Range: 22-30 GHz
  • Rotation System: Automated 1-axis rotation for 2D measurements

With our partners, we can measure up to 53GHz active measurements and up to 300GHz passive measurements

OTA Measurement Setup

Our OTA measurement setup consists of this equipment:

  • ETS dual-polarization horn antenna 400MHz-10GHz
  • Agilent E5071C 4-port VNA
  • R&S CMW500, options: LTE+CA+MIMO, WLAN 802.11ac + MIMO, BLE HW support
  • R&S NRP2 power meter and NRP-Z11/Z21/Z81 power sensors
  • ETS EMCenter turntable control + RF switch box
  • ETS EMQuest measurement software
  • Voyantic Tagformance Pro RFID measurement system + ARC/TIPP

Why Hire a Pro for Antenna Measurements?

With antennas, verification is everything. A wireless product with a poorly performing antenna can interfere with other devices, degrade performance, and harm users. On the other hand, a product with sub-standard RF performance can fail the certification test, and cannot be launched commercially.

With accurate, professionally conducted Antenna Measurements, you can avoid risks, reduce development costs, and save time! That’s why you should work with experienced antenna and RF specialists! That’s Radientum!

Our Expertise in Antenna Measurements

Since 2015, Radientum’s antenna experts have successfully delivered more than 200 antenna and RF projects and helped more than 100 companies in all things antenna. With 100 years of combined antenna design and product development experience, we can help you with a broad range of antenna measurement projects, from antenna return loss to antenna pre-certification testing.

Antenna simulation is our core tool. Radientum has a verified record of excellent correlation between simulations and measurements. We can easily test various solutions and derive the best performance for the given industrial design, regardless of its restrictions. We can minimize the number of prototyping rounds to provide you with the fastest time to market and reduced costs.

Contact us in case of any Antenna Measurement project!

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You have a vision of a wireless product. So, you know how the product should look like, what materials will be used, what’s the desired connectivity experience, and more. The first thing is to find out how these requirements affect antenna design and is the vision realistic. Feasibility Study enables you to do just that!

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33720 Tampere, Finland
+358 40 501 3535
Design Office – Espoo
Innopoli 2
Tekniikantie 14
02150 Espoo, Finland

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