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Ask The Expert - Antenna Technology

One of the biggest innovations over the last decade has been the Internet of Things or IoT. The IoT is a global network of machines that communicate with each other via the internet, sharing data to be processed and shared with little need for human intervention.

The IoT has become so useful that, in the words of one of my guests, it could now be called the Internet of Everything. It is hard to find any kind of technology that has not benefitted from the IoT, from home appliances to the latest autonomous vehicles.

Sharing this huge volume of information depends on wireless communication driven by RF (radio frequency) signals. To access these signals, whether Bluetooth, Global Positioning Systems (GPS), or the latest 5G network, devices that send or receive data need antennas. The rapid growth in the number of IoT devices has created the need for antennas that can be integrated into any device. TE Connectivity is one of the industry’s largest manufacturers of antennas and can provide solutions for a huge range of applications.

In the latest of our series of Ask the Expert interviews, I was joined by Gabriele Iuliani and John Hunter of TE Connectivity. We talked about some of the hottest applications for antennas in the electronics industry and discussed some of the challenges that engineers face when integrating antennas into their designs.

The automotive industry is one of the most interesting areas, not just in terms of electrification but in the connected nature of the onboard systems and the growth of autonomous vehicles. Manufacturers are employing the latest antennas to create a wireless network in which cars, smartphones, and other road users will share information to improve road safety. Commercial vehicles are not being left behind, and manufacturers are using the same technology to create vehicles that play an active role in the supply chain and logistics network.

The supply chain forms part of what is known as the smart factory. This is the name given to a manufacturing plant that employs the IoT in which all operations are connected to create a complete picture of the manufacturing process. Machines, robots, and raw materials are all taking advantage of wireless communications to make the factory more efficient and improve the flexibility of the manufacturer.

These systems include the latest autonomous vehicles which use the IoT to manage the movement of raw materials around the facility. The factory floor is just one part of the supply chain, and the latest automotive-grade antennas allow delivery vehicles to use 5G or satellite communications to track shipments once they leave the factory.

Join us as we discuss these and other topics, including the growing interest in private 5G networks, the advantages they provide users, and the uses of TE Phantom antennas.

Connector Geek is Dave in real life. After three decades in the industry, Dave still likes talking about connectors almost as much as being a Dad to his two kids. He still loves Lego too. And guitars.
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