The increasing volume of wireless data year after year poses the challenge of providing enormous data capacity while meeting customer expectations for service quality and operator requirements for cost-effective service delivery. As mobile data traffic continues to grow, small cells in heterogeneous networks are increasingly seen as vital to meeting the challenge. Since copper or fiber is rarely available to connect these cells with the network, unobtrusive and cost-efficient wireless backhaul is essential.
SENCITY® Matrix flat antennas address these issues and offer solutions. The latest additions to the series are highly directional V- and E-Band antennas for 60 and 70/80 GHz. The V-Band antenna covers 57 to 66 GHz, while the E-Band antenna addresses 71 to 76 and 81 to 86 GHz. Smaller than conventional antennas, the SENCITY® Matrix antennas are low profile, light weight and easily aligned.
The small size of the antennas allows operators to access rooftop, wall and street-level sites that are often not viable for traditional parabolic antenna systems because of technical, environmental or planning restrictions. The “community friendly” design of the SENCITY® Matrix avoids aesthetic concerns for street-level installations on lamp posts, street signs and kiosks, which are the primary choices for small cell sites. The antenna’s flat shape and compact design significantly reduces the visual impact and total cost of ownership while providing excellent electrical performance.
In order to meet the high gain requirement for millimeter wave backhaul systems, the flat antennas include an ad-hoc distribution network that feeds the array elements. This network combines innovative elements to achieve a relative bandwidth as large as 20 percent. SENCITY® Matrix antennas substitute the lossy planar dielectric lines and elements with hollow waveguide structures that drastically reduce signal attenuation while maintaining an elegant low profile (5 to 10 mm).
The boresight gain of the antennas inherently coincides with the normal axis of the radiator. This enables the use of optical techniques (e.g., camera or laser) for quick and easy radio alignment. The design of the flat antenna also ensures 0° beam squint electromagnetic radiation over all working frequencies. This means no compromise among different frequency bands, and all channels simultaneously benefit from the optical alignment.
The intrinsic isotropic thermal expanding behavior of the SENCITY® Matrix material guarantees a very stable radiation characteristic. Changes in temperature produce only a minimal frequency shift: ±150 MHz from -45° to +75°C. This is well within the extremely wide bandwidth of the antennas.
The small size, mechanical robustness and flatness of the antennas facilitate integration into radios and provide maximum possible freedom for the mechanical design team (see Figure 1). The integration of the antenna into the radio protects it from exposure to environmental conditions such as dust, water and ice, which can cause issues at the interface between radio and antenna in traditional split-mount setups. An ingenious attachment of the antenna to the power amplifier enables direct heat transfer between the radio and antenna, preventing surface icing and the creation of water droplets.
A “lotus effect” water repellent cover (shown in Figure 2) provides super hydrophobic characteristics to SENCITY® Matrix antennas. Its contact angle of ~155° is far greater than the 80° to meet the HC Class 1 standard in STRI Guide 92/1 and the 90° in ASTM-D7334, 2013. This cover minimizes the impact of water and maximizes the radio link performance.
The antennas are manufactured out of metallized plastic parts produced by high precision injection molding.
The highly directional E/V-Band flat antennas are very low profile, lightweight and easily aligned. SENCITY® Matrix antennas provide key distinguishing benefits in mobile backhaul applications. The biggest contributor to reduced operating expense is the unobtrusive appearance of these planar antennas, which facilitates site acquisition and reduces tower rental cost.
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