In a first, a British technology start-up has invented a multi-function antenna for laptops that combines Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth and 3G/4G LTE and WiGig — multi-gigabit per second wireless speed — in one unit.
Developed by scientists from University of Birmingham, the new SAT antenna fits into the extremely limited space of the hinge cavity and replaces as many as five separate antennas found in a standard laptop.
Sampson Hu, who founded SAT in 2013, said that conventional antennas cannot be located immediately next to each other because of signal interference which leads to reduced performance.
“Within the current laptop, the antennas for Wi-Fi or a mobile signal need to be separate so there is no interference of frequencies. If the laptop has a metal casing then it is impossible to embed an antenna on the top of laptop screen or motherboard and the antenna must sit in the hinge cavity,” Hu said in a university statement.
However, the hinge cavity is a very limited space in which laptop manufactures can only fit two conventional antennas, one for Wi-Fi and one for 3G/4G LTE. If conventional antennas are brought so close together interference degrades efficiency and increases battery usage, Hu added.
Hu also noted that if a laptop has metallic covers, there is no other space to locate the second conventional Wi-Fi antenna and 3G/4G LTE antennas to support Multi-Input-Multi-Output (MIMO) function to provide enhanced data download rates.
“That is the problem we have overcome with our integrated MIMO antenna system. All the antennas are combined together as one single system,” Hu said.