Taoglas Delivers Multiband Antenna Geared for NB-IoT
Nadia Krieger posted on September 14, 2018 |
The series of antennas is the first to cover the new Band 71, which has been designated for NB-IoT i...

The small form factor antennas are suitable across a range of NB-IoT and LPWA devices and applications. (Image courtesy of Taoglas.)

Antenna and RF solutions company Taoglas has launched a new series of small form factor ceramic antennas aimed at narrowband IoT (NB-IoT).

NB-IoT, also known as Cat-M2, is the second LPWAN (Low-Power Wide Area Network) standard put forth by 3GPP—the first and more well-known one being LTE-M. Although NB-IoT has a lower throughput than LTE-M, it has the benefit of allowing multiple users across a single channel, due to the fact that it is based on Direct-Sequence Spread Spectrum (DSSS). As far as LPWAN’s go, NB-IoT is considered promising for IoT applications. It may be that lack of hardware is the only real reason that NB-IoT has lagged behind LTE-M in North America—despite investments from large North American telecom companies such as T-Mobile.

With their new antenna range, Taoglas is providing an element of the missing hardware to this upcoming market. The three antennas are the first in their Extensis range for narrowband IoT (NB-IoT), and include the NCP.5820, which they are claiming is the world’s smallest ceramic NB-IoT antenna that covers Bands 5, 8 and 20 simultaneously with a single matching configuration. The range also includes the patent-pending  FXUB64, which covers all LTE bands—including the new Band 71 that will be used for NB-IoT in the U.S.

“Narrowband IoT is emerging as a go-to LPWAN option for applications that need to support a large number of devices, especially in challenging environments such as indoors or underground,” says Ronan Quinlan, co-CEO of Taoglas. “The incredibly low profiles and small footprints of the Extensis antennas along with their multiband capabilities make them an excellent choice for device designers who need to shrink their devices without sacrificing performance. Having access to three bands on one antenna also allows them to plan for global deployments.”

The range of antennas is just one of two announcements from Taoglas at Mobile World Congress Americas, which took place this week in Los Angeles. They also announced the Toaglas Boost technology, which will deliver a 1.5 dB performance increase for antennas without increasing ground plane length.

For an antenna to fulfill its purpose as an IoT device, it has to be able to send and receive at all bands. Normally this is achieved by increasing the ground-plane length of the board the antenna is mounted on, which defeats the purpose of having a small and portable IoT device in the first place.

Taoglas Boost has addressed this challenge by utilizing a new technique to alter the electrical delay in the ground plane to improve efficiency at the lower frequencies (600 to 1000 MHz) typically used for cellular applications. The modification can be implemented in the “keep-out” area of the antenna, the area on the host circuit board reserved for antenna placement, causing minimal impact to the designer in terms of antenna integration.

This is not the first time this year that Taoglas has hit the market with new telecom innovation. In February, we covered the release of their intelligent software-designed antenna called the Taoglas Shift. They have also previously launched two online marketplaces which allow engineers to build and order customized antennas, cables, and connectors.

With their IoT-focused antennas, Taoglas is targeting Telematics, Automotive, Metering, Smart Grid, Wearables, Medical Devices, Remote Monitoring, and High-Speed Video Broadcasting.

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