Antenna Patterning for Industrial Automation


Industrial automation technologies that depend upon wireless communications use antennas with a specific radiation pattern. Antenna patterning, the graphical representation of antenna radiation as a function of space, describes the shape of how antennas send or receive radio waves. Antennas that radiate or receive greater power in specific directions can support increased performance, but wireless signals don’t travel just in one direction. Instead, they travel along multiple paths. Multi-path, as it’s known, can be overcome with multiple feeds, but that puts an extra burden on firmware.

Multi-Path and MIMO

When radio waves travel within a factory, signals may bounce-off obstructions to reach the receiving antenna from multiple angles, multiple times. This can cause interference, but MIMO-enabled antennas can leverage multi-path for improved communications performance. MIMO (multiple input/multiple output) antennas that are multi-polarized send and receive signals in all polarizations so that the reflected signals remain usable in non-line-of-sight (NLOS) conditions. Applications include supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems, remote terminal units (RTUs), and industrial robots.

MIMO antennas that are multi-polarized can provide reliable wide-area coverage within factories and are available with either directional or omnidirectional radiation patterns. Directional, or sector antennas, have a horizontal and vertical radiation pattern that is characterized by a main lobe in one direction. Omnidirectional antennas have a horizontal radiation pattern that is donut-shaped and a vertical radiation pattern that is hemispheric. For in-building applications such as industrial automation, these omnidirectional antennas can be mounted with their radome facing downwards for fewer dead spots.

MP-R Series Antennas

MP-R Series antennas from MP Antennas are recommended for industrial automation and are so rugged that they’re also used in mining communications. These multi-polarized MIMO antennas provide superior patterning and continuous wideband performance for frequencies that include 2.4GHz / 4.9GHz/ 5.8 GHz, 802.11 WiFi, 900MHz ISM, LTE, CBRS, 5G and dual band systems. MP-R Series antennas are also available with multiple antenna feeds for simpler installations, a smaller footprint, and greater multi-path support.  In addition to SCADA systems, RTUs, and robots, applications include automatic guided vehicles (AGVs).

To learn more about MP-R series antennas for industrial automation, contact MP Antenna.