Unlocking the Potential of PCB Antenna Design

In today’s interconnected world, PCB antennas, often referred to as microstrip antennas, play a pivotal role. IoT devices, serving as the backbone of this connectivity revolution, are deployed in diverse environments, frequently in remote and challenging locations. To gain a comprehensive understanding of the potential inherent in PCB antenna design, it’s crucial to grasp its unique characteristics.

1. The Importance of Choosing the Right PCB Material

First and foremost, the selection of the appropriate PCB material stands as a critical factor in microstrip antenna design, especially in IoT applications. The choice of PCB material exerts a significant influence on the antenna’s performance. Furthermore, variations in permittivity parameter can lead to substantial tuning issues, particularly in narrowband antennas. For applications operating above 5GHz or for RF signals routed within the PCB, opting for a low-loss laminate becomes indispensable. It is advisable not to alter the selected material without thorough testing.

2. Customization Over Copy-Pasting

Unlike off-the-shelf chip antennas, microstrip PCB antennas cannot be copied to another device. This is because there are usually small changes in electronics or mechanics. Each microstrip antenna design should be considered a unique and tailored solution, even if it draws inspiration from prior designs. The complexity of IoT devices necessitates this level of customization to achieve optimal performance.

3. Embracing 2D Limitations

Microstrip PCB antennas essentially are two-dimensional structures integrated into the main PCB, sharing the same plane as the ground (GND) layer. This inherent limitation constrains the available volume for antenna design. When surface area for the antenna is restricted, microstrip PCB antennas may exhibit diminished performance compared to other antenna types like LDS, FPC, or stamped metal antennas.

4. Importance of Matching Components

Matching a microstrip PCB antenna to 50 ohms using solely an antenna radiator may not represent the most efficient approach. That is because the antenna matching components assume a pivotal role in compensating for uncertainties associated with PCB materials and mechanical design. In the absence of these components, iterations and prototype rounds can escalate in terms of both cost and time consumption. Additionally, any future modifications to the design could necessitate additional prototype iterations. In contrast, the adjustment of matching components offers flexibility and enables fine-tuning for each unit.

Why Choose PCB Antennas?

Microstrip PCB antennas can attain the same level of performance as surface-mounted chip antennas, all while reducing component costs. However, to unlock these benefits, attention must be devoted to material and supplier selection throughout the product’s lifecycle. PCB antenna design is not recommended for those lacking experience.

Radientum’s Expertise in Microstrip PCB Antenna Design

At Radientum, we specialize in harnessing the potential of microstrip PCB antenna design. Because of this, our process commences with an evaluation of the feasibility of employing a microstrip PCB antenna, encompassing the selection of the optimal location and leveraging full 3D antenna simulations for your product. Furthermore, once a prototype is available, we excel in optimizing the matching circuit to achieve peak printed antenna performance. Should future modifications be necessary, our re-optimization services ensure your product remains at the forefront of connectivity technology.

Contact Us Today

Ready to reduce your product’s Bill of Materials (BOM) cost and enhance its wireless connectivity? Reach out to Radientum today and embark on the journey of microstrip PCB antenna design possibilities!

HQ – Tampere
Visiokatu 4
33720 Tampere, Finland
+358 40 501 3535
Design Office – Espoo
Innopoli 2
Tekniikantie 14
02150 Espoo, Finland

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