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Electromagnetic simulation of antenna arrays

 Electromagnetic simulation of antenna arrays - IoT ONE Case Study
Technology Category
  • Analytics & Modeling - Digital Twin / Simulation
  • Networks & Connectivity - 5G
Applicable Industries
  • Telecommunications
Use Cases
  • Digital Twin
Services
  • Hardware Design & Engineering Services
The Challenge

Developing innovative antennas for reliable high-speed data links in challenging environments

As the world becomes increasingly connected, 5G and satellite broadband offer wireless connectivity to previously inaccessible regions and environments. These technologies promise to revolutionize fields from communication and entertainment to industry, logistics, and healthcare by allowing high-speed data just about anywhere – 5G alone is expected to enable up to $664 billion in services by 2028.[1] Taking advantage of this potential will require new kinds of antennas that can meet new challenges.

Previous generations of mobile technology tended to use omnidirectional antennas and similar designs that simply provided coverage from as many directions as possible. However, these designs won’t work for the future of satellite broadband and millimeter-wave 5G.

For satellite internet to work properly, the end-user—who may be on the ground, in a moving car or boat, or even an aircraft— needs a constant line of sight to the satellite. The satellite itself moves across the sky, and the user may be repeatedly handed over from satellite to satellite.

The problem for 5G is similar. The omnidirectional approach used by earlier generations is not appropriate, especially for the very high frequencies used in millimeter-wave 5G. At these frequencies, spanning from 24 GHz to 53 GHz, loss from waves passing through the air and other materials is much higher.

ALCAN Systems was founded in 2016 with a mission to create a low-cost smart antenna system for cellular and satellite communication. They developed an innovative new approach using phased- array antennas, using liquid crystal display (LCD) technology to precisely control the time delay and phase shift between the elements. LCD technology can be made much more compactly, efficiently and cheaply than traditional phased arrays, and can be manufactured on the same production lines as LCD televisions.

 

About The Customer

ALCAN Systems GmbH is a telecommunications company based in Darmstadt, Germany.

The company is trying to develop a low-cost smart antenna system for cellular and satellite communication. These antennae would be flat, thin, and able to steer their beams electronically without any moving parts. ALCAN’s technology is based on liquid crystal (LC) based phased arrays that are capable of operating in the millimeter and microwave bands of the RF spectrum.

The Customer

ALCAN Systems

The Solution

Electromagnetic simulation of antenna arrays

Compared to older antennas, the phased-array antennas are much more complex. Arshad Mehmood, Head of RF Engineering at ALCAN Systems, explains, “There are no more simple antennas which you can design using just pen and paper or simple equations. They are really a complex system. And to develop phased-array antennas you need not just simulations, but extensive simulations.”

To manage this complexity and develop effective antenna arrays, ALCAN Systems turned to Dassault Systèmes SIMULIA and their electromagnetic simulation tool SIMULIA CST Studio Suite. “In an RF design we have a component level design, but then different components also have to come together and still work in a certain way you want them to. 

The results from CST Studio Suite were accurate and gave ALCAN Systems engineers trustworthy insight they could rely on. “As an engineer, you have to have confidence in what you are simulating in your tools, in the results you get from these tools,” Akgiray continues. “We have validated results for our applications, for our structures, for what we are trying to do. We know it gives us reliable results so I don't have to second guess myself all the time.”

Operational Impact
  • [Efficiency Improvement - Deployment]

    Developed compact, lightweight, and innovative new antennas. 

  • [Product Improvement

    ALCAN Systems developed a phased-array antenna product based on LCD technology that they are focusing on marketing.

Quantitative Benefit
  • Simply provide coverage from as many directions as possible.

  • Fast, accurate simulations of array behavior validate the design and help solve any issues

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