Enable limitless wireless connectivity to unleash IoT potential
In a world of uncertainties, technology is the one constant that continues to move us forward. Nowhere is this more evident than with the emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT), the system of uniquely identified interconnected devices that are enabled to transmit and share data over wireless networks. Bridging the gap between the physical and virtual worlds, the IoT is helping to create smart environments by linking these devices to everyday settings and tasks that help individuals, businesses and potentially whole societies, live in a smarter and more comfortable way - and it’s growing fast.
In this episode, Felisa Chuang, Product Manager RF Solutions, will discuss component of wireless technologies and the role they play in IoT market.
Tyler (T): Hello welcome to CONNECTED World, a podcast from TE Connectivity. A podcast to help engineers learn more about some of the trending topics influencing the connected world. I’m the host today Tyler Kern, thanks so much for joining us today. Joining the program today is Felisa Chuang, and she is the product manager for RF and Antennas at TE Connectivity. And we’re going to talk about the wireless solutions for the IoT market. An area we’ve seen substantial growth in recent years. So, Felisa, welcome to the show, thanks for joining me.
Felisa (F): Thank you everyone, my name is Felisa Chuang, and nice to talk to you
T: It’s very nice to talk to you today Felisa, so, thank you for taking some time and for joining the show. So, Felisa, what are some of the industry trends and user cases you’ve seen growth in the deployment of IoT devices?
F: I would like to say, there’re many growing devices, such as smart meter, smart building, smart cities. For example, lighting, integrated solar, small cell camera, and smart home, and so on. And we, TE, we will select 2 focused areas where we’ve seen these two areas are growing very fast. The First one is smart tracking, and the second one is smart building, as the focused application.
T: Absolutely. So, what are some of the emerging trends you’re seeing in the wireless connectivity market? Like you mentioned, smart tracking, smart building. We’re seeing a lot of more of that. So, tell me about some of the emerging trends in wireless connectivity.
F: Yes, 5G, of course is the major trend we’ve seen for the wireless market. But, when we look back to the machine to machine communications utilizing low-powered networks such as UWB, WLAN, Zigbee or Bluetooth to transmit data, have helped to drive IoT adoption. Even more so, it is the advent of LPWAN’s like NB-IoT, LTE Cat-M and 5G high efficiency transmission that has helped fuel IoT growth. While 3G and 4G networks facilitated wireless communications among people, 5G can allow for greater connection among “things” causing a paradigm shift that has directed a focus on developing sophisticated IoT solutions for a range of industrial and environmental concerns.
T: Absolutely. So, you believe 5G is going to be a major player moving forward
T: Definitely. All right. How are these trends, these trends you mentioned, like 5G, our integrated connectivity that sort of thing, how are those trends creating new challenges for engineers?
F: Yes, from engineering perspective, there are some basic requirements if you decide using 5G IoT devices. Such as, they commonly will require high efficiency for clean transmission and optimized battery life. You know, when I use my mobile phone. It’s really a pain point that my phone will run out of the battery, right? And the second one will be high quality transmission: signal interruption against interference/noise. The 3rd one is harsh environment durability: robust design in dry and moisture prone areas. Following will be the compact design. So, the devices can be smaller and smaller. Small form factor design can be very important. And for 5G, we saw some of the challenges for engineers are that: inside the devices, they may require multiple frequencies operations, so they may need for more and more bandwidth and compatibility in the small devices. And it always requests the global cellular networks. That’s one of the major challenges for engineers.
T: Excellent. So Felisa, you’ve been with TE Connectivity for over 13 years now. So, tell me about that experiences and how does it help you understand the challenges that our customers and engineers are facing. And what could be the potential solutions. Tell me a little about how your experience helps inform how you approach those challenges.
F: Yes, for example. We just talked about smart tracking and smart building. So, the situation for smart tracking is like. There’s start-up business focused on global tracking, was using a variety of antennas that made their devices, so, tracking, you can consider it is s small device. However, right now, if commercial ones, global ones, the tracker will commonly be heavier, bigger, and more expensive to produce. So, sometimes, they may consider using a chip antenna. And generally, that doesn’t allow multiple band. Because chip antenna is very small size and usually refer to the single band. So, if the tracking data needs more cellular bandwidth, and sometimes they didn’t understand how it is complicated: the radio frequency may be required. So, that will be the bottle neck. And from engineering of TE perspective, we can provide different solutions. Like we can offer the custom-designed, embedded antennas for 5G connectivity that can enable the client to build a reusable, smart system, such like a mobile phone device that can integrate sensors or other devices into a small device. And, we can reduce the weight of the antennas. We can use different materials, such as the FPC type, or we can consider as mechanical parts to integrate on the metal shots. Or combine with other components which can lower the cost and lower the size. Also, we can consider some 3D type, or SMD antennas which can integrate all the devices. So, that will be our solutions offering to smart tracking solutions.
And as for smart building. We talk about smart building, just like, if you build your own house, you generally consider about the security, and some mobility. Like parking lot, you may want to connect with some wireless devices which can help you to do the automation for the parking. Or inside the house, you may need to connect with other applications, like coffee machine, your TV, everything you may want to use one device to control. So, smart building and smart home, whole system may need more and more antennas. And that wireless can talk to each other. So, you need to consider how to develop, or how to decide these antennas without interfering. And these devices can communicate with each other. So, MIMO, multiple input multiple output antenna assembly can enable a high-quality wireless server for the extended range. Or we can customize the embedded antenna supporting the smart indoor camera, and the cloud bases, that can control all the security system. And for example, your personal key card, or some link, bluetooth link to your mobile phone. So, that’re our thoughts to help to solve the complicated problems. Just like I mentioned, the 3D antenna assembly may be a good choice for designing in smart home devices.
T: Right, you know, I think so many people these days want to live the places that have smart building capabilities or workplace that have smart building capabilities. Because it does give you that level of interconnectivity right where everything works together, and you are able to track various things. I think for building managers, that’s extremely valuable, right to know what’s going on in HVAC system, what’s going on with security. And you know, have smart lighting. And, all these various things, I think this is important, to be able to, to continue to track all these things as we move forward. Because the technology enables it now.
F: Yes, think about the smart buildings. When you go into the building, commonly everything is automatically connected. And you can use your, in the future, maybe you can use your personal ecard to access a lot of things. Even, pay, like smart pay, or you can enter the elevators. And all the data can be received by your mobile. Like your schedules, everything, now you can understand what you’re going to do per days. So, I think smart building can combine a lot of the information. And, the biggest importance is the security. How to control the security in the i-cloud, the cloud server, is very important.
T: Absolutely. So, what are some future areas development that you’re particularly excited about? Whether it’s just something that you think interesting or something you think it’s going to change the world. You know, what are some of the areas that you’re particularly excited about?
F: From technology wise, I think, we live in a technology world. And this world has so many uncertainties. And technology is constantly moving us forward. So, interconnect devices can enable to transmit the data and share data to each other. This can bridge the gap between the physical and virtual world. So, with the IoT, it helps to create a very smart environment by linking those devices to everyday settings. And techs that help all the individuals, business and potentially all the societies, live in a smarter and comfortable way. And technology helps us to grow fast. So, I see two major exciting future changes, I foresee. One is the micro miniaturization. And the other is the integration. So, for example. Micro miniaturization can fit into the wearable, small size products. Evan can into some very small tracking chip inside everybody or inside the wild animals. Integration, the sensors, the speakers, the connectors. For example, we can sense some changes in advance. For example, earthquake or climate change. Or, if consider the ocean, we can sense the wave, or the big storm. If we have the smart tracking system into our wild animals, then we can protect them. We can track them and prevent them from distinction. For example, I am the scuba diver, diving for over 10years. Within this 10 year, I’ve seen our earth, our world changed a lot. Especially the fish population. I didn’t see sharks, or whale shark, or tunas as much as 10 years ago. I think it’s due to our human being habit. Or maybe climate change. But I’m always thinking if we can use our technology. For example, this wireless tracking system, like smart control system to help those wild animals. That will be great. Because I saw global warming, it makes our polar bears, goes to, you know, even extinction. It’s very sad. We, people, human being, enjoyed the technology, but we cannot do anything to the other wild animals. So, I’m always thinking if we can use our technology like integration system, our any kind of wireless connection, that we can help these, to do something and save our world.
T: I really like that answer. Coz it’s personal to you right? You’re taking something you love and emerging with the things you do, for your job. You like life being outdoors, you love scuba diving. And you work in this connectivity, you ask yourself how you could bring these two things together. And I think that’s really a powerful example of how this technology can be utilized to better for our world. Not just in connected building, and tracking, wireless tracking, and things like that, but also you know, in wild lives. Seeing wild animals being protected. I think it’s a powerful example of the potential that technology holds for the future.
F: Yes, thank you.
T: Excellent. Felisa Chuang, product manager for RF and antenna at TE Connectivity. Thank you so much Felisa for joining us today here on ConnecTEd World podcast from TE Connectivity and share some the insights on the wireless IoT market.
F: Yes, thank you everyone.
T: Absolutely. Everybody else there, thank you so much for joining us for this episode of podcast, we appreciate your listening very much. Of course, we’ll be back soon with more episodes. But until then, make sure you subscribed on apple podcast or Spotify to stay up to date with the latest and what’s going on in the world, in the connected world. And with wireless solutions. And things along those lines. So, stay up to date and make sure you subscribed. And we’ll be back soon with more episodes. But until then, I’ll be your host Tyler Kern, thanks so much for listening.
We recognize that antennas play a complex role in the dynamics of the IoT. As IoT ecosystems move to support high-density, low latency networks and continue to incorporate various new features into radios and overall system layouts, there is an even greater premium put on antenna system design. As a result, rather than view antennas as passive products – whether they are external or embedded – our engineers treat them as integral solutions in the creation of IoT applications and the creation of smart environments.
We are committed to identifying real world situations where the ability to effectively collect data and gather knowledge can lead to developing sustainable IoT solutions. To demonstrate how our engineers are focused on smart antenna system designs, it makes sense to look at two major trends in IoT applications: Smart Tracking and Smart Buildings.
We surveyed over 170 engineers to derive critical insights revealing the wireless connectivity trends, challenges, and requirements across the home and building automation, industrial IoT, security surveillance, smart energy management and health & medical devices.
With the widespread deployment of 5G and IoT, the adoption of suitable antenna systems plays a pivotal role in advancing disruptive, high-speed telecommunications. New growth opportunities—combined with efficient spectrum use, enhanced service quality, cost optimization, and transparent operations spanning multiple technologies—are driving antenna development and innovation.
But what are the biggest challenges when designing a wireless system? How vital is antenna choice to the design process? And what are designers looking for when choosing antenna products?
We were able to derive critical insights revealing the wireless connectivity trends, challenges, and requirements across the home and building automation, industrial IoT, security surveillance, smart energy management and health & medical devices.
To find the answers, we interviewed 174 engineers involved in wireless connectivity projects. More than half are either design or RF/antenna engineers, while over 60% have 20 or more years’ engineering experience. Almost half of the respondents work in the Home & Building Automation, Industrial IoT, Security & Surveillance, and Smart Energy Management sectors.
As a result, we were able to gain deep insight into the latest wireless connectivity trends, challenges, and requirements for antenna products across the wireless communications industry.
Almost 75% of the respondents are involved in creating Wi-Fi and Bluetooth solutions. Over 50% also develop 5G solutions utilizing ultra-fast higher frequency radio bands and low-frequency bands under 6GHz. Over 33% develop solutions using combination antennas for multiple use cases supporting various wireless communication protocols.
Respondents across the board ranked efficiency and bandwidth as their biggest challenge when designing wireless solutions, emphasizing the importance of selecting components that increase throughput and optimize efficiencies.
When choosing antenna components, almost three-quarters identified product performance as the most critical selection criteria, with nearly the same percentage citing reliability as more important than cost when choosing a wireless solution. The next most essential elements dictating choice are the antenna expertise and engineering services of the antenna manufacturer, both of which are more important than the product’s cost.
But it’s not just the choice of antenna that’s critical to the wireless solution’s overall success. Timing is also essential. As a core component, over 60% of respondents select their antenna products at the beginning of the design process and then choose other elements needed to create a robust, high-performance wireless solution.
At TE, we’re meeting the challenge. Fueling innovation and empowering design engineers, we offer a broad range of antennas providing high-quality transmissions in wireless devices spanning a broad spectrum of frequencies. Our products, including both standard and custom antennas, are designed for use across various use cases, including automotive, commercial transportation, rail, and consumer device applications. If you want to be a part of the innovation revolution, visit us at www.te.com.
ANTENNAS FOR 5G, NB-IOT AND LTE-M
TE’s new antennas for 5G, NB-IoT and LTE-M provide a variety of band solutions ranging from 600 MHz to 6 GHz. They can address wide frequency band and various bandwidth demands from cellular Internet of Things (IoT) devices, helping to enable lower latency and higher peak data rate connection of 5G network and cellular low-power wide-area network (LPWAN) communication.
From shark fin antennas to a future with 5G, TE has been at the forefront of advances in antenna technology