Courtesy of Taoglas
There are lots of inventors, developers and makers who have an idea for an IoT solution, but don’t have a platform over which they can design prototypes and test ideas quickly and cost-effectively in an open source fashion. The mangOH open source hardware program was founded by Sierra Wireless to make it easier for IoT developers to create prototypes for wired, wireless or sensor technology based on their unique IoT use cases. It utilizes a platform that delivers up to 90 percent of the building blocks required for a prototype in an out-of-the-box fashion. mangOH is the first and only B2B open source cellular platform in the industry.
The mangOH Red platform was introduced to bring these powerful capabilities to the industrial IoT and maker community who required a feature-rich hardware platform with a small footprint and lower-power requirements than any other open-source platforms available. The mangOH Red platform fits the bill with its ‘smaller than a credit card’ footprint, allowing developers to create solutions for industrial IoT and other scenarios where access to reliable power sources may be an issue. Using the mangOH Red platform and Sierra Wireless’s CF3 module, users can achieve up to 10 years of battery life. LTE-m1/NB-IoT connectivity as part of mangOH offering.
“MangOH allows our partners and customers to quickly take ideas to prototypes and test them. If they succeed, designs developed with the mangOH platform can be modified and repurposed for mass production,” said Ashish Syal, chief engineer, Sierra Wireless, and founder of the mangOH platform.
A big part of any IoT device is, of course, connectivity to the Internet, and the mangOH development team needed antennas that not only delivered highly reliable connectivity in moderate conditions, but also met the strict form-factor requirements of the mangOH board. An existing antenna was not delivering the performance and reliability results the mangOH team required, so the team turned to Taoglas for better answers.
Size and Performance Matter
Taoglas’ WLA.01 is a 2.4GHz high-efficiency miniature SMD edge-mounted ceramic loop antenna for Wi-Fi, WLAN, Zigbee, Bluetooth, and 802.11 applications. It is one of the smallest 2.4GHz antennas available worldwide with dimensions of 3.2*1.6*0.5mm.
“With Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity built-in, developers can build wireless products without any expertise in connecting to mobile or PAN networks,” said Syal. “That was incredibly important because we want to enable our customers to do great things and not have to worry about being a connectivity expert. The Taoglas antenna was exactly what I needed for an on-board antenna.”
Size was an important factor in determining which Taoglas antenna to utilize. “What’s impressive [about the WLA.01] is its size. It’s extremely small and fits exactly where we wanted to put it on the platform. You’re always looking for half the size and half the width, but the Taoglas antenna was perfect for our requirements.”
Size wasn’t the only thing Syal was looking for from onboard antennas. “Performance was number one,” he said. “We knew the size was going to work by looking at it. My requirement, because it was a prototyping platform, was that the antenna should be able to provide maximum performance in what I call moderate conditions. It passed with flying colors.”
The mangOH Red kit, which also supports LTE-m1/NB-IoT connectivity, also ships with Taoglas’ FXUB63 antenna, which covers all frequency bands between 698-3000 MHz.
“This kit gives the user true flexibility, with the ability to use the mangOH on 2G/3G/4G networks worldwide, 2.4GHz Wi-Fi bands and certain ISM bands, providing what you want from a development board—simple and quick to use,” said Dermot O’Shea, co-CEO of Taoglas. “We’re proud to be able to deliver on the requirements needed for the MangOH platform and be part of such an exciting IoT initiative designed to speed and simplify IoT development and adoption.
“Sierra Wireless continues to be a great partner and we are not only there to help them with their own requirements but truly focused on getting their customers to market with the best antenna and RF solutions first time and on time”.
The WLA.01 uses the main device PCB as a ground plane, thereby increasing its antenna efficiency. It’s ideal for use in polymer and plastic housings generally associated with IoT devices. When tested in the mangOH system, efficiency was over 45 percent across all the IoT bands. Taoglas made specific recommendations about antenna integration and expectations based on potential use cases for devices built on the mangOH Red platform.
“The antenna gain looks great,” Syal said. “Overall, I think we made an excellent choice choosing these antennas from Taoglas.”