A proof of concept UWB antenna design that works on the bench can often become a non-starter in the real world.
For example, COTS UWB planar antennas that come standard on the Decawave reference board are actually dielectric-loaded monopoles tuned for typical UWB frequency ranges (3.1GHz-10.GHz). The advertised freespace performance breaks down dramatically when the reference board with antenna is placed on or near anything, such as tagged assets or personnel. If you’re suffering from unexplained range or throughput limitations, you’re not alone.
If you try to overcome performance issues with brute force solutions like higher tag density, signal processing, or filtering, your UWB RTLS or radar solution may become impractical or unmarketable.
Typically, UWB installed performance issues are caused by interactions between the antenna, the PCB system, and the installation platform. The installation platform may be a person (e.g. personnel tracking); it may be an asset such as a pallet or a surgical cart. Or it may just be a wall or a beam on a warehouse floor.
Solving the root causes of installed performance issues often requires either system modifications, a custom antenna, or both. That means you either need to have an experienced UWB antenna designer on staff, or waste time with trial and error.
Or worse yet, you’ll struggle to find an outside antenna designer or supplier who can quickly adapt their COTS antenna design to your application – or is not familiar with how to help a product developer like you establish ownership of your own IP.