10 Internet of Things (IoT) Design Considerations: Antenna and Cloud

[fa icon='calendar'] Jan 26, 2015 3:08:13 PM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in access point, antenna, antenna design, bill of materials, BOM, ceramic, circuit board, Cloud, cloud applications, coaxial pigtail, companies, connector, data exchange, end-to-end solutions, gateway, General, Internet of Things, IoT, IoT applications, IoT communications, IoT-enabled device, IPEX, mating connector, metal housing, module manufacturers, on-board chip, pin-out, radio frequencies, radios, router, standard protocol, trace, U.FL, whip, wire, wireless technologies, White Papers, wireless signal

[fa icon="comment"] 0 Comments

7. Antenna

Most IoT products use wireless technologies to connect with the world. The type and number of wireless technologies used will impact the type and number of antennas needed. For example, 900MHz, 2.4GHz and 5GHz radios all may have different requirements for antenna design.

Module manufacturers often provide multiple options for antennas, such as an on-board chip or ceramic antennas. They may also offer a wire (or “whip”) antenna, a “trace” antenna, or a “pin-out” so the manufacturer can add their own antenna (either internal or external connector elsewhere on the circuit board). In addition manufacturers may offer U.FL (also called IPEX) connectors for external. In this case, the connection from the U.FL connector to the external antenna is accomplished with a short coaxial “pigtail” that has the mating U.FL connector on one end and the mating connector for the antenna on the other end. The costs of the pigtail and antenna are often overlooked but need to be included in a manufacturer’s BOM for their designs.

When selecting between internal and external antennas, designers must consider the material (metal, plastic, etc.) of the housing and the potential placement of the product within a home or business. If a product is placed behind a couch or under a desk, it may have difficulty getting a wireless signal from the nearest gateway, access point, or router. Metal housings almost always require an external antenna design because the metal in the housing greatly reduces the amount of radio frequencies getting in or out of the housing.

8. Cloud

By definition, most IoT applications include some Cloud-based component. Many manufacturers entering the IoT space are new to Cloud development, which makes decision-making for Cloud applications, such as how and when a product will connect to the Cloud, difficult.

“How” an IoT-enabled device communicates with a cloud application refers to what protocol is being used to communicate with the Cloud. Many early IoT implementations followed a proprietary protocol, where the device manufacturer implements its own protocol to communicate with its cloud applications. Recently, more companies have become aware that a standard protocol is needed for IoT communications to be successful and have started providing third party, end-to-end solutions with platforms to develop and host applications.

“When” an IoT device connects to the cloud, refers to the frequency of data exchange with the cloud application. Devices that are always on (connected to a power supply) can easily stay connected to the cloud constantly. This improves the ability to be “near real time” when communicating with the Cloud application. Battery-powered devices often only connect to the internet and send data periodically in order to conserve battery life. In this case there is a delay, as the device has to re-establish its connection to the wireless router and then to the Cloud server. Battery-powered devices should also consider a “heart-beat,” so that the device connects to the Cloud application periodically without an event to trigger it. This allows the application to know the device is still online and has power or battery-life remaining for when an event does occur.

10IOTDESIGNCONSIDERATIONS_BANNER

>  For more information, please call Grid Connect Inc. at +1 (630) 245-1445, or email us at iot@gridconnect.com.

Read More [fa icon="long-arrow-right"]

10 Internet of Things (IoT) Design Considerations: Power and Size

[fa icon='calendar'] Jan 19, 2015 8:00:57 PM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in antenna connector, applications, battery, circuit board, connectivity, device, Ethernet, existing products, General, hardware, Internet of Things, IoT, IP, manufacturer, mating connector, modules, network connector, networking technologies, pin-header, PoE, power, power conservation, Power-over-Ethernet, power source, surface mount, technology, through-hole, wall outlet, wireless network, wireless technologies, White Papers, Wireless

[fa icon="comment"] 0 Comments

5. Power

Power considerations need to be made when connecting a product to the IoT. Products already using a wall outlet will not have an issue. Manufacturers of products not using a wall outlet will have to consider how their power source will affect their product’s design.

IoT devices running on batteries will have to make hardware decisions based on power conservation. There are also a variety of different types of batteries to be taken into consideration: alkaline, lithium (rechargeable) and coin. There are also AA, AAA, coin cell, C, D, 9V, or custom batteries to choose from. As noted earlier, wireless technologies have different power requirements based on use-cases. Once a manufacturer understands how long and how often a device will be connected and the wireless network is chosen, a properly sized and type of battery can be chosen.

Another source of power for Ethernet-based devices is Power-over-Ethernet (PoE). This technology is popular for low-wattage IP phones and security cameras. Recent advancements and new switching technology is pushing the wattage available through PoE to new levels, thus opening up new possibilities for more power-hungry applications and devices.

6. Size

Many manufacturers start testing the IoT waters by modifying their existing product designs to add networking technologies. Because these devices already exist, many early entrants into the IoT world fail to redesign the product to allow for its newly added connectivity. Fortunately, there are a number of compact modules available for networking technologies that will fit in a manufacturer’s existing products.

These small modules are different though. Some modules are surface mount, others through-hole or pin-header and some still use a specialized mating connector. Also, how the network connector or antenna connector are integrated into the product vary from module to module. Designers must consider the space they have available on their circuit boards and/or in the product’s enclosures to allow whatever technology selected to be used in existing designs.

10IOTDESIGNCONSIDERATIONS_BANNER

>  For more information, please call Grid Connect Inc. at +1 (630) 245-1445, or email us at iot@gridconnect.com.

Read More [fa icon="long-arrow-right"]

Subscribe to Email Updates

Lists by Topic

see all