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Antenna for Mobile Application

Antenna for Mobile Application

Abstract This is a technical document detailing a typical approach to Antenna Selection Process.

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Antenna for Mobile Application

CONTENTS
Introduction Radiation Pattern (3.0) (4.0) (5.0) (6.0) (7.0) (8.0) (9.0) (10.0) Antenna Gain Beam Width Null Fill Intermodulation Front to Back Ratio VSWR Antenna Down Tilt Mechanical Consideration Page 4 Page 4 Page 4 Page 5 Page 5 Page 5 Page 3 Page 3 Page 3 Page 4

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Antenna for Mobile Application

(1.0) Introduction
An antenna is a structure capable of receiving and transmitting electromagnetic waves. It is generally a metallic object used to convert high frequency current into electromagnetic waves. Functioning of an antenna can be said to be analogous to open circuited transmission line and when electrical energy travels through open circuited transmission line, electrical and magnetic fields will set-up. A part of this energy will be radiated, depending upon impedance matching of free space and the line. There are three fundamental forms used to describe how an antenna launches energy into the surrounding atmosphere. a) The Point source or isotropic Antenna: Hypothetical Antenna, which will radiate in all possible direction.

b) Elementary Doublet: One Tenth of Wave Length Long. c) The Half wave dipole: Half wave dipole antenna concept is most useful in antenna theory. The antenna end is folded at quarter wavelength to increase the radiation resistance of the antenna, which results into better impedance matching with the free space. The total length of a dipole will be half of a wavelength. The changing voltage and current in the antenna system will set-up an electrical and magnetic field around the dipole antenna. The energy leaving the dipole antenna will create a radiation pattern, which is considered the basic in antenna theory. (2.0) Radiation Pattern: The relative distribution of radiated power as a function of direction in space is the radiation pattern of an antenna. (3.0) Antenna gain: To be meaningful, gain has to be related to some reference. The reference could be an isotropic antenna. An isotropic antenna is a theoretical reference, thought of as a point in mid air, radiating in all direction. Since it radiates in all direction it has unity gain. Gain related to an isotropic antenna is expressed in dBi. Also a well-defined dipole design can be used as a reference. Gain related to dipole is expressed in dBd. The dipole reference is 2.14 dB gain compared to an isotropic reference. Thus: (Gain in dBi) = (Gain in dBd) + 2.14 dB

As an antenna is a passive element the only way to obtain a gain in one direction is to reduce power in other direction. This could be more accurately said as concentration of the signal i.e. higher the concentration, higher the gain will be.

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Antenna for Mobile Application

(4.0) Beam Width: Antenna gain is actually defined by the Horizontal and Vertical beamwidth along with efficiency of the antenna and in general lesser the beam width higher the gain will be. The beam width is defined as the opening angle between the two points on each sides of the main lobe direction where the radiated power is 3 dB lower than in main direction. Both Horizontal and vertical beamwidth are of prime importance in selecting an antenna system. The conventional wisdom currently accepted in the GSM World is that 650 and 900 horizontal beam width antenna perform better in digital systems. By using 650 or 900 antenna excessive overlap is avoided as excessive overlap can cause higher bit error rate and can degrade quality because of lot of handovers between adjacent sectors. Please note that a better gain will also be achieved for a reduced beamwidth. Besides horizontal beam width, vertical beamwidth is of great importance to RF Engineers as in combination with knowledge of both, overall gain of an antenna can be defined if antenna efficiency is known. (5.0) Null-Fill: Null-fill can be important for improving coverage close to site as null-fill is intended to direct some additional energy towards the ground by reducing signal nulls below the horizon. These nulls result from stacking a number of vertical elements to achieve gain. Nullfill, fills the nulls in the pattern to cover areas below the antenna that otherwise might be sacrificed as energy is focused towards the horizon for maximum distance coverage. Properly adjusting the phase and amplitude of each elements current feeding is one way to reduce these nulls, thus creating nullfill. Note that as energy is refocussed to nulls there is loss in the main beam antenna gain. Also it is to be noted that it is extremely difficult to maintain same null fill across the entire band of frequency. Typical null-fill value to look for would be in the 14 dB to 18dB range below the main beam maximum gain. Null-Fill = Null Level/Main Lobe level.

(6.0) Intermodulation: Intermodulation interference is the interference caused by the harmonics of the transmitted frequency. The base station antenna produces these intermodulation because of large number of soldering joints or galvanic corrosion in them. The problem is even worse on duplex system (transmit & receive from the same antenna) because the isolation provided by separate transmit and receive antenna is sacrificed. If the system is not duplexed, the spacing between separate transmit and receive antennas typically provides an extra 30dB to 50dB of isolation for the receiver. If intermodulation that forms on the transmit antenna were at a power level of 80dBm to 90dBm, the antenna isolation would reduce the received intermodulation to an insignificant level in case of non duplexed antenna system.

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Antenna for Mobile Application

(7.0) Front to Back Ratio: The front to back ratio is an important aspect of Horizontal beamwidth. The F/B typically varies between 20dB and 45 dB, which is very useful for rejecting co-channel and adjacent channel interference as signal coming from the back of antenna may cause multipath interference which will increase bit error rate. Front to Back Ratio= Back Lobe Level / Front Lobe Level.

(8.0) Voltage Standing Wave Ratio (VSWR): Among electrical issues to consider when choosing antenna system VSWR or return loss is also important. VSWR is the measure of the impedance matching between the antenna element and the medium into which waves are transmitted. Difference in impedance causes reflection resulting in Voltage Standing Waves. VSWR is the relation between maximum and minimum of the standing wave. VSWR= 1 means that impedance matching is perfect. However this can not be achieved in practice. It is an ideal case. VSWR can also be taken as measure of return loss of the Antenna. VSWR: Reflected Power/ Transmitted Power. Return Loss: 20 log ( VSWR+1) / (VSWR-1). In Base Station antenna it is desirable to have low value of VSWR, normally upto 1.3, as low VSWR means high quality. Selection of antenna is a trade off between required gain and value of VSWR i.e. to achieve low VSWR antenna gain will have to be sacrificed to certain extent. (9.0) Antenna down tilt: Down-tilt is another issue that is of importance to RF Engineers. One of the purpose of down-tilt is to reduce interference, caused because of adjacent channels or co-channels (deployment of frequency reuse) as by down-tilting focus of the signal is kept below the horizon. Second purpose is to improve close in coverage as shown in figure- (1.1) which also gives calculation of down-tilt for coverage area of interest. Down tilt can be given in two ways Mechanical or Electrical. Mechanical tilt distorts the sides of the main lobe and it uptilt the back lobe at higher degree of tilt but no loss in antenna gain take place. In case of Electrical tilt there is no distortion in the sides of the lobe and it doesnt affect the tilt of the back lobe, but because of the necessary phase shift in the antennas feed network there is slight loss in peak antenna gain which is more at higher tilt angles. Thus both mechanical and electrical tilts can be used simultaneously for high tilt angles to get the best of both the worlds. Note that the electrical tilts of the antenna can be managed remotely. (10.0) Mechanical Consideration: Mechanical considerations like compatible material should be used to avoid galvanic corrosion which can lead to intermodulation over a period of time. In certain issues number of soldered joints are used and at the time of factory testing there may not be any intermodulation but its behaviour in long term is a matter of concern. Thus parameters like robust design, noncorrosiveness, ventilation, long life, proper radome should be taken into consideration before deciding on the antenna system.

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Antenna for Mobile Application

From the Base station, distance of point where peak power will be received because of the down tilt. = [ h / tan (dt)] / 5280 From the Base station, distance of nearest point where power will be received from 3dB beamwidth of the antenna. dmin = [ h / tan ( dt + 1/2bw )] / 5280 From the Base station, distance of farthest point where power will be received from 3dB beamwidth of the antenna. dmax = [ h / tan (dt - 1/2bw )] / 5280. Where bw: dt: Vertical Beamwidth in degrees. Downtilt angle in degrees 3 dB Beamwidth

00
Downtilt angle

d min

d max

Fig.-(1.1)

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