London-based TechApp Consultants (TAC), a specialist in bespoke antenna solutions, has signed up to the national SPRINT business support programme, for the second time, to produce a new generation of compact antennas for satellite-based Internet of Things (IoT) systems. TAC will collaborate with the University of Surrey to develop new technology that will reduce the antenna dimensions by up to 50 per cent, whilst maintaining high RF (radio wave) performance in TAC’s C-range of IoT and Machine-to-Machine (M2M) products.
The focus of the technology developments is on antennas working at UHF 400 frequency band, which are widely used in the satellite IoT/M2M industry yet are currently either physically big and bulky, or low in gain or efficiency. The goal of the SPRINT project is to reduce the antenna’s dimensions by up to half of the smallest products on the market today, while achieving the equivalent performance in gain and efficiency.
The research group RF Antennas and Propagations at the University of Surrey has the facilities and expertise in carrying out the required work on these innovative compact antennas. These facilities include the design and electromagnetic simulation software such as High-Frequency Structure Simulator (HFSS) and CST MICROWAVE STUDIO (CST MWS), the measurement equipment, the antenna test range and manufacturing tools.
The project will be funded by a grant from the £4.8 million SPRINT (SPace Research and Innovation Network for Technology) programme that provides unprecedented access to university space expertise and facilities. SPRINT helps businesses through the commercial exploitation of space data and technologies.
This is the second SPRINT project on which TAC has collaborated with SPRINT’s delivery partner, the University of Surrey. Previously, TAC and the University collaborated on a project to develop a new range of low-cost and high-performance beam-tracking antennas for non-geostationary (NGSO) satellites.
Tao Huang, CEO of TechApp Consultants, said: “TechApp Consultants has great experience in antenna design and this project is focusing on compact antennas for IoT applications and M2M communications systems. Working together with the team at the University of Surrey and taking the innovative approaches we can make the antenna physically much smaller whilst performance-wise stronger. This will make our products more competitive on the fast-growing satellite IoT/M2m market.”
Dr Mohsen Khalily, Lecturer in Antenna and Propagation at the University of Surrey added: “In this SPRINT project, the University’s team at the Institute for Communication Systems will design several small size and low-profile antennas for different IoT applications, supported by satellite. The main goal is to design, simulate, fabricate and finally test the prototypes at our chamber, using our high-tech facilities. In this project, we will aim to address one of the main challenges in IoT satellite-based communication.”