Antennas & Propagation for Wireless Communications

Course 037

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This three day course provides participants with comprehensive coverage of a wide variety of antenna and propagation topics. The course provides an understanding of antenna property definitions, antenna design fundamentals and considerations, numerous antenna types and RF propagation fundamentals. The course also provides an overview of how antenna properties and propagation characteristics affect communication system performance. Topics covered include antenna performance properties, antenna specifications and data sheets, basic antenna types, elementary antennas, electrically small antennas, wireless device antennas, medical device antennas, low profile antennas, aperture and reflector antennas, circular polarized antennas, antenna arrays, propagation channel characteristics, antenna diversity and MIMO, and an overview of different antennas used in today’s wireless communication systems and markets.

Learning objectives

Upon completing the course you will be able to:

  • Understand the concepts associated with antenna performance, operation and classification.
  • Understand, evaluate and define antenna performance specifications.
  • Describe and understand a broad spectrum of antenna types.
  • Illustrate antenna operating principles with a factual knowledge of antenna theory.
  • Understand the basic performance trade-offs associated with antenna design.
  • Understand how to design basic antenna elements.
  • Understand basic principles associated with the implementation of antenna arrays.
  • Understand and describe how antenna performance and the RF propagation environment impact wireless communication system performance.
  • Understand the basic types of antennas that are used in today’s wireless communications markets.

Target Audience

Anyone working within the field of general RF systems, wireless, cellular and microwave systems will benefit from this comprehensive coverage of antenna properties and design. The course is well suited for design engineers and program managers who require an understanding of antenna principles and design concepts. Basic mathematical and computing skills are a prerequisite for this course. An electrical engineering background or equivalent practical experience is recommended but not required.


Day One

Basic RF Concepts
 • Review of fundamental RF Concepts • Basic design and performance requirements of a wireless communication system
Basic Antenna Concepts
 • Definitions of basic antenna properties - impedance, VSWR, bandwidth, directivity, gain, radiation patterns, polarization, etc.
Types of Antennas
 • Resonant antennas • Traveling wave antennas • Frequency Independent antennas • Aperture antennas • Phased arrays • Electrically small antennas • Circularly polarized antennas
Classification of Antenna Types
 • By frequency • By size • By directivity
Fundamental Antenna Elements
 • The monopole • The dipole • The loop • The folded dipole • The slot
Microstrip Antennas
 • Element types • Microstrip element design • Design trade-offs • Designing and 802.11 microstrip patch
Ground Plane Considerations
 • horizontally polarized antennas • Vertically polarized antennas • The impact of the surrounding environment on antenna performance
Circularly Polarized Antennas
 • Achieving circular polarization • The helix antenna • The crossed dipole antenna • The microstrip patch • The quadrifilar helix

Day Two

Aperture Antennas
 • Aperture design concepts • The horn antenna • The reflector antenna • The corner reflector
Impedance Matching
 • Impedance matching networks
Broadband Antennas
 • Monopole configurations • Feed considerations • Dipole configurations • Bandwidth improvement techniques
Frequency Independent Antennas
 • The log-periodic antenna • The spiral antenna
Electrically Small Antennas
 • Impedance, bandwidth and quality factor of antennas • Defining electrically small • Fundamental performance limitations • The small dipole • The small loop • Design and Optimization of small antennas
Antenna Arrays
 • Fundamental array theory • Types of antenna arrays • Feed network design considerations • Beam steering and shaping concepts • Performance trade-offs • Microstrip patch arrays • Dipole element arrays
Friis and Link Budget
 • The communication link • Understanding and calculating path loss • Receiver Sensitivity and antenna noise figure • Link budget calculations
Receive Properties of Antenna
 • How does an antenna capture power • Aperture area and efficiency • Coupling between antennas
Fractal Antennas
 • Fractal antenna types • Performance properties of fractal antennas
RFID Antennas
 • RFID system basics • Performance properties of RFID antennas
Ultra Wideband (UWB) Antennas
 • Time domain considerations in antenna design • Antenna performance requirements in UWB systems

Day Three

Low Profile Antennas
 • The inverted L and inverted F antennas • The planar inverted F antenna (PIFA)
Device Integrated Antennas
 • Antennas commonly used in wireless device applications
Propagation Channel Considerations
 • RF path loss • Reflection, multipath and fading • Noise and interference • Polarization distortion • Diversity implementation • MIMO
Types of Antennas used in Communications Systems
 • Wireless base station antennas • Wireless handset and portable device antennas • GPS antennas • HF, UHF and VHF communication antennas • Earth station and satellite communication antennas
Numerical Modeling of Antennas
 • Software packages • Comparison with measurements
Antenna Design and Simulation Examples Using Commercial Antenna Design Software