Virtual Antenna technology changes the R&D and manufacturing of IoT devices

Virtual Antenna technology changes the R&D and manufacturing of IoT devices

Equipment manufacturers no longer need to be antenna experts or require huge budgets to cope with the booming IoT market.

Ignion makes the job of IoT device manufacturers easier. Its groundbreaking Virtual Antenna™ system shortens the development time of antenna products from months to weeks, while still ensuring that it meets the requirements of operators, especially in the antenna processing of multi-band radio frequency equipment.

Virtual Antenna technology changes the R&D and manufacturing of IoT devices

  How do you design and embed suitable multi-band antennas in IoT devices without causing R&D costs to get out of control?

If the antenna and radio frequency (RF) engineers do not adopt the appropriate methods, there will always be risks in using traditional methods, and the design cycle will also be trapped and prolonged. IoT device manufacturers will eventually spend more money than planned, and will lose the opportunity to quickly bring their products to the market.

As a cutting-edge chip antenna technology company, Ignion is very aware of the challenges that exist in commercial applications. Even better, it introduced a disruptive solution: Virtual Antenna™ technology. The reason why this technology is described as disruptive by the industry is that it can reduce the time-consuming, laborious and costly antenna design to zero cost and within 24 hours of the working day, and it can also be done even without engineers with extensive radio frequency and antenna experience. Complete; At the same time, all these design requirements can also be completed through the Fast Track design service on the Ignion website.

“Our company cooperated with Ignion to adopt Virtual Antenna™ technology mainly because this technology helps us to solve the multi-band technical problems in the equipment, because we have started to use multi-band equipment.” Landis+Gyr’s wireless communication equipment Architect Justin Matthews said, “If you have been focusing on single-band antenna design, designing a multi-band antenna with multiple independent performance requirements will be a tricky job.” Justin is an expert in smart meters and wireless mesh communications. .

Jaap Groot, CEO of Ignion, said: “You can greatly increase profits by shortening product development time.” And Jaap Groot called Virtual Antenna™ technology “revolutionary.” Groot was an executive of SigFox and Semtech, which focused on the Internet of Things, and the co-founder of a number of technology start-ups.

He is not the only person in the industry to express such views. Ignion has sold more than 25 million chip antennas. In addition, many radio frequency companies including Cavli Wireless, Nordic semiconductor, Sequans and Sierra Wireless have used Ignion’s products and technologies in their reference chip designs. This new and simplified method will bring milestone changes to embedded antenna equipment.

Virtual Antenna technology changes the R&D and manufacturing of IoT devices

Generate sales revenue in a shorter time

Regardless of the working frequency band of the IoT device and the wireless connection protocol adopted, Virtual Antenna? technology can speed up the design cycle for each type of IoT device. Equally important, the Virtual Antenna™ system will make users feel assured that its final product can meet the performance requirements of operators, and the precious battery power will not be consumed just to make up for the lack of antennas.

Antenna design was once one of the most time-consuming tasks in IoT system design, and it also required engineers with extensive radio frequency and antenna experience to spend a lot of energy and pay NRE to complete it. Today, using Virtual Antenna™ technology, the antenna design is reduced to zero cost and completed within 24 hours of the working day; at the same time, all these design requirements can be done either by contacting the Ignion engineering team in China or through the Fast Track design on the Ignion website Service to complete.

  Eliminate risks in the design phase.

Whether it is a sensor, tracker or wearable device, a fast, simple and low-cost design process is difficult to achieve, especially when the device needs to work in a multi-band environment. But Virtual Antenna? does not work like a normal antenna. Far from it.

Ignion’s leading research team has a long and successful history and experience in reinterpreting the laws of physics to reduce antenna size, even if they need to adapt to different frequencies with huge differences in wavelength.

Ignion’s Virtual Antenna™ technology created specifically for the IoT market continues this tradition.

The core of the Virtual Antenna™ system is the uniquely designed antenna chip of Ignion, which can be as small as a sugar cube measuring 5 mm x 5 mm x 5 mm. When working with the “Ground Plane” of IoT devices, Ignion’s antenna unit (Booster) will provide the required radiation. When Ignion’s microchip size is ten times smaller than other customized and more expensive competing products, this is a remarkable achievement.

These technological advancements have been verified in many practical application scenarios and successful cases. On the one hand, although the size of the antenna unit (Booster) is very small, it can still support multiple frequency bands from 600MHz to 10GHz, so it does not need to be customized to adapt to different shapes and designs. The same chip antenna element can be used in multiple IoT projects, thereby simplifying procurement logistics and increasing economies of scale.

And there is no need to design equipment from scratch to adapt to different frequency bands required by different geographic areas. Just use the same chip antenna element, and only need to adjust a little to “match” the needs of the network in different regions, so that the same device can be used on a global scale.

Another advantage is that neither special tools nor expensive antenna molds are required in the production stage. Because the antenna booster is packaged into a standard, ready-to-use component, it can be processed on the assembly line using traditional surface mount (SMT) technology; use the machine to place it on the printed circuit board (PCB) of the Internet of Things device And solder all the necessary components, including Ignion’s antenna booster, so that manual intervention is not required, thereby precluding human error.

Virtual Antenna™ technology opens the door to accelerate growth and shorten the time to achieve revenue for IoT device manufacturers.

Virtual Antenna technology changes the R&D and manufacturing of IoT devices

  Eliminate design cycle risks

One of the reasons that Virtual Antenna™ technology can achieve a faster and more predictable design cycle is that it eliminates the need for antenna engineers to repeatedly explore designs and verifications that require experience.

You can ensure the successful implementation of Virtual Antenna™ technology simply by following three easy-to-use steps. Even Electronic engineers with little experience in antenna integration can now become the first choice for fine-tuning the radiation performance of different networks and frequency bands. Virtual Antenna™ technology is a game changer in the IoT industry.

Dr. Carles Puente, co-founder and vice president of innovation at Ignion, said: “RF and antenna engineering are no longer complicated. Suddenly, designing antennas becomes as common as designing electronic circuits. Electronic engineers don’t need to be antenna experts to embed an antenna. “

The first step is to choose the best location for the antenna booster on the circuit board of the IoT device. Ignion will provide suggestions at this stage, supplemented by visual modeling. Before selecting and placing any other components, first select and place the antenna components on the PCB. This is the key to speeding up the design process.

The second step is to adjust the passive electronic components to create a “matching electronic circuit” or “matching network.” This matching ensures the energy efficiency of various networks, regardless of wireless protocols or frequency bands. Likewise, Ignion provides all the necessary guidance to make this design process simple and easy to follow.

The last step is to test the IoT device through a network analyzer to ensure that it meets all required performance requirements. Depending on the result, further adjustments to the matching circuit may be needed, but nothing that may confuse electronic engineers is not required.

Virtual Antenna technology changes the R&D and manufacturing of IoT devices

Bring an Internet of Things device to the market without what Puente calls “annoying surprises.” Antennas and radio frequencies have never been easier. “The design process is predictable from the beginning.” He said. At present, Ignion has further simplified the above three steps to the Fast Track online service on its website. IoT system engineers can get an antenna design for free within 24 hours.

Compared with custom-developed antennas and complex testing and installation methods for IoT devices in the past, Virtual Antenna™ is located in the “magic quadrant” of ready-made, easier-to-use methods (see adjacent quadrant diagram).

Virtual Antenna technology changes the R&D and manufacturing of IoT devices

  Cover all wireless protocols

Virtual Antenna™ technology provides a reassuring solution for IoT device manufacturers facing diversified markets. It can be adjusted for cellular network standards (NB-IoT and LTE-M, and 2G all the way to 5G) and a series of non-cellular wireless protocols.

These non-cellular communication protocols include Bluetooth, LoRa, Sigfox, Wi-Fi, WiSUN and Zigbee. The Virtual Antenna™ wireless protocol portfolio can also cover satellite signal reception in the form of Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) and Global Positioning System (GPS).

 Accelerated growth

For IoT device manufacturers, when you put two RF devices into one product, the complexity of the antenna is not simply doubled. The complexity will increase by an order of magnitude, and this is where Ignion can come into play.

Virtual Antenna™ is a technological breakthrough that can be widely used in the industry because it can eliminate this complexity for users. Ignion’s innovative technology provides an unprecedented development cycle for IoT device manufacturers, enabling them to bring multi-band products to the market as quickly as possible.

  Fast Track tool

Another powerful tool of Ignion is its unique wireless design Fast Track online tool. The Fast Track wireless design service is designed for companies that may not be sure how to start using Virtual Antenna™ technology. This tool can place the antenna element (booster) virtually on the customer’s PCB.

Then, Ignion designed the first version of matching electronic circuit solutions for the required frequency bands, all of which were optimized for specific circuit boards of IoT devices. In this way, the wireless performance of IoT devices can be predicted from the beginning.

Users who use the Fast Track wireless design tool can get feedback within 24 hours. At present, Ignion has also started the Fast Track service for Chinese customers on its Chinese website, which has become a major innovation in the field of radio frequency and antenna engineering.

  User success stories

Looking at various advantages from Landis+Gyr commercialization cases…

At Landis+Gyr, Matthews is responsible for the hardware architecture of wireless devices in North America and the Asia-Pacific region. This inevitably means the use of different communication technologies and multiple operating frequency bands, which will also cause complexity in the design cycle, even an experienced RF and antenna engineer, he is unwilling to do so.

Currently, Landis+Gyr is developing a high-end, low-volume communication device. Since it is connected to the mesh network through the USB port on the laptop, the design must be compact.

“The Ignion solution will undoubtedly help us a lot because we can launch products faster,” Matthews said. “For us, it greatly reduces design complexity and significantly reduces verification time.”

For Matthews, another attraction of Ignion is “the smallest equipment difference.” Landis+Gyr plans to introduce new equipment in multiple regions, and each region has a different operating frequency band. To solve this problem, Landis+Gyr initially considered using different external antennas in different regions, but this idea was not feasible. Finally, Matthews chose Ignion’s TRIO mXTEND™ triple-band antenna booster.

“I recommend using different variants of the same Ignion hardware to cover all frequency bands in different regions,” he explained. “This reduces the workload for us to build an inventory management system, so Ignion may be the most advanced I have encountered. Antenna Technology Company.”

  User success stories

  …And ZillionSource

ZillionSource, backed by Cisco, is a leading asset tracking and supply chain management company. The company provides enterprise-level IoT software platforms and high-performance IoT devices for cargo and container tracking.

Peter Huang, a design engineer at ZillionSource, said that “enhancing product performance and reliability” is the main reason why our company chooses Ignion to help develop next-generation IoT devices.

ZillionSource and Ignion worked together to develop a prototype GPS tracker that can cover LTE and GSM frequency bands. The design is based on Ignion’s TRIO mXTEND™ triple-band antenna booster.

“Everything is going according to plan,” Peter said. “High performance and professional design were our main considerations when we chose Ignion. I’m glad we made the right choice.”

Ignion joins Deutsche Telekom’s strategic plan for IoT Solution Optimizer

Miguel Rodriguez is an important promoter of the European Internet of Things industry. As the senior manager of Deutsche Telekom Internet of Things equipment verification and engineering, he and his team are responsible for ensuring the normal interconnection and interoperability of the equipment with the network of the group’s operators in 12 European countries. In addition to going from 2G to 5G, Deutsche Telekom has also launched NB-IoT and LTE-M networks.

The core of Deutsche Telekom’s equipment certification work is its IoT Solution Optimizer, which was officially launched at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in 2019. It is a kind of online ” The “digital twin” modeling tool can support device manufacturers to measure how different designs affect battery life and coverage. The tool also provides a series of guidance to help manufacturers understand how to build different types of devices from parking sensors to smart meters. It aggregates and anonymizes data based on IoT vertical application cases. The purpose of this is to bring the product to the market faster, while still maintaining compatibility with the network.

In mid-2020, Deutsche Telekom will add Ignion to its list of partners for optimization tools for IoT solutions. Rodriguez said that Ignion’s antenna expertise and modeling capabilities have opened eyes to many companies that use IoT solution optimization tools, especially those that have not previously realized the impact of antenna integration on overall device performance.

By modeling Ignion’s antennas in the IoT Solution Optimizer, you can see how their position on the PCB affects coverage and performance, and understand how they affect battery life. Rodriguez said this makes the key role that antennas play in achieving specific goals for commercial applications more obvious.

Miguel Rodriguez, senior manager of Deutsche Telekom IoT device verification and engineering, said: “When we started discussing with many companies, they usually regarded antennas as one of the lowest risk design aspects of their mobile IoT device design.”

Virtual Antenna technology changes the R&D and manufacturing of IoT devices

 Virtual Antenna™ technology changes the rules of the game

What makes Virtual Antenna™ stand out from competing products is not only greater economies of scale and faster time to market, but also simplicity and ease of use.

Ease of use greatly simplifies the design process and engineers configure matching circuits, although these two innovations are themselves game changers and are strongly supported by Ignion. At present, Ignion has further simplified the complex antenna design process to its Fast Track online service on its English website or Chinese website. IoT system engineers can get an antenna design for free within 24 hours.

Matthews was particularly impressed with Ignion’s front-end simulation, tuning and performance audit services. “Because their reports are professional and template-based, they can be circulated internally without any effort or modification of them,” he said. “Combining all factors, Ignion may be the most advanced I have encountered. Antenna Technology Company.”

The antenna selection has also been simplified. The traditional way is to browse online catalogs, which usually contain thousands of products to choose from, each of which is pre-defined to operate in a narrow, specific area. On the other hand, the Virtual Antenna™ product portfolio consists of less than ten products, covering all wireless protocols and frequency band arrangements. Gone are the days of time-consuming searches for sub-optimal products.

Groot likens the industry importance of Virtual Antenna™ to the tires in Formula One cars. If the tires are not qualified, then the power of the “engine” will not be fully reflected. You can think about it after understanding the connectivity and innovative application cases.

Driven by Virtual Antenna™, the era of accelerated development of the Internet of Things has arrived.

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