During research and product development of any Internet of Things (IoT) device or Machine to Machine (M2M) product, it is important to make sure the antennas designed or selected will perform the way they are intended. For example, when designing an antenna for a large stationary device like a vending machine, it is likely installed or placed against a wall. Designing or selecting an antenna that concentrate its energy and radiates toward the front of the device would be ideal for this environment. In the case of a mobile device, like a smart phone, it is important for the antenna to radiate in all directions and not lose communication link when the user moves around or faces a particular direction away from the cell tower. Over the Air measurements are the only way to qualify the entire signal path and antenna pattern of a wireless device
Most wireless technologies, such as GSM, WCDMA, LTE, and Wi-Fi will utilize an error correction algorithm to compensate for the poor receive signal either by increasing the output power or reducing the data rate before the connection is lost. This in turn will reduce battery life, heats up the device, and/or lower the data transfer rate. OTA testing can help product development teams identify the problematic areas to increase product reliablity and end user experience.
As many IoT and M2M devices become increasingly more compact, antennas are sometimes forced to be placed near other antennas, displays, computer processors, high-speed memory, etc, all of which can interfere and degrade the devices over-the-air (OTA) performance. In addition to power measurements, OTA testing can perform sensitivity measurements to illustrate how the internal components are effecting the RF radio's performance. This allows product developers to see where the issues are during normal operation and how they are impacting the product's performance.
When integrating an antenna into a product, the environment can influence the characteristic of an antenna.
Many of these products are also known as machine to machine (M2M) or Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Intel analyzed that there are about 2 billion IoT devices in 2006, 15 billion devices today and projected 200 billion by 2020.