Internal vs External Antennas
Antennas are a significant component in every wireless device. Actually, a device wouldn’t be considered wireless without the integration of an antenna as it wouldn’t be able to communicate untethered! However, selecting an ideal antenna solution is a daunting process for many developers. Luckily, Symmetry Electronics can provide you with all the expertise and knowledge you need to find your comprehensive antenna solution.
The Demand for Antenna Solutions
According to Data Bridge Market Research, the global antenna market was valued at $20 billion in 2021. Driven by the demand for faster data transmission and the increase of wireless devices, the antenna market is expected to grow as more consumer electronic devices like smartphones, wearables, laptops, and tablets rely on antenna products for wireless communications. Additionally, the expected growth of antenna technologies will present opportunities for advanced telematics solutions.
Internal vs. External Antenna Technology
When compared to each other, the major difference between internal and external antenna technologies is placement. Internal antennas can be integrated inside a device, whereas external antennas can be mounted to the outside of a device. When considering an ideal antenna solution for a design, developers should consider performance, form factor, size, cost, and ease of integration.
Internal vs External Antenna Performance:
The technical differences surrounding internal and external differences include the coverage offered by each, not transmission power. Use case and application are the ultimate factors when determining a device’s ideal antenna solution. For example, Wi-Fi antennas are well suited for outdoor environments as their offered coverage field is the shape of a doughnut. While it has a 360-degree coverage radius, use in applications that require equivalent transmission strength to areas below/above the device can be disadvantageous.
Internal antennas can also be difficult to integrate into device designs. In comparison to Wi-Fi antennas, internal planar inverted F antennas (PIFA) offer more spherical coverage but can offer a litany of design complications as it is a common misconception that internal antennas can be installed in designs wherever it is convenient.
There are benefits and disadvantages to utilizing different types of internal and external antenna technologies, but it important that developers consider their features in real-world scenarios. Many times, manufacturers will provide data sheets with information as to performance under optimum conditions. Care and consideration must be taken into account when comparing data sheet and real-world antenna performance.
Antenna Form Factor and Size:
Another factor developers must consider when selecting an antenna for their device is the antenna form factor vs the size of their device. Historically, internal antennas were intended for integration in small electronic devices like:
- Computers & Laptops
- Smart Home Devices
In comparison, external antennas are generally not suited for small portable devices as they are more susceptible to damage on the outside of devices. However, external antennas are well-suited for stationary devices like:
- Remote Sensors
Internal vs External Antenna Cost Comparison:
Cost comparisons between internal and external antenna technologies generally lean in favor of internal antenna solutions. Internal antennas are smaller than external solutions, but what they lack in expense they make up for in complexity. Internal antennas are notorious for difficulties surrounding design-in efforts and resources.
Internal vs External Ease of Integration:
It’s fair to say that when it comes to ease of integration between internal and external, external antennas are the easier option. External antennas user-friendly, plug-and-play solutions. External antenna solutions eliminate worry surrounding design issues like sizing and PCB board space availability. Additionally, external antennas are beginner-friendly – you don’t need to be an RF engineer to integrate an external antenna solution into your device design. External antennas minimize development time and testing processes.
The Taoglas FXUB66 Internal FPC Antenna
While external antennas have the overall upper hand in terms of integration ease if your device requires an internal solution, consider the FXUB66 Internal FPC Antenna from Taoglas. FPC antennas require much less design-in efforts than other internal technologies. FPC antennas do not rely on the size of the PCB they are connected to as they are ground plane independent. Additionally, FPC antennas are mounted off-board. Taoglas’ FXUB66 covers all working frequencies in the 600-6000MHz spectrum, including all cellular, NB-IoT, Cat-M, Wi-Fi, ISM, and GNSS bands. Featuring a peak gain of 5dBi and more than 60% efficiency across all cellular bands, the FXUB66 provides futureproofing opportunities for 4G & 5G devices.
Still unsure of which technology is right for your device’s ideal antenna solution? Symmetry Electronics’ expert team of Applications Engineers are available to assist you. Consultation is free and available throughout your design process. Contact Symmetry Electronics today!
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