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Title:
DUAL POLARISED OMNIDIRECTIONAL ANTENNA APPARATUS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/166750
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A dual polarised omnidirectional antenna apparatus (20) capable of operating in transmit and receive, comprising at least two dual polarised directional antennas (21) configured to be mountable in a substantially equi-spaced distributed array around and pointing away from a platform, wherein the antenna apparatus (20) is configured such that, when operated in transmit, the dual polarised directional antennas operate in phase with each other to deliver a combined omnidirectional, dual polarised, performance. This increases operational bandwidth and mitigates interference effects in communications applications.

Inventors:
BOYES, Stephen John (DSTL IP Group, G02 Building 005DSTL Porton Dow, Salisbury Wiltshire SP4 0JQ, GB)
Application Number:
GB2019/000023
Publication Date:
September 06, 2019
Filing Date:
February 08, 2019
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR DEFENCE (DSTL, Porton Down Salisbury, Wiltshire SP4 0JQ, GB)
International Classes:
H01Q21/20; H01Q1/32; H01Q21/24; H01Q25/00
Foreign References:
US20100079347A12010-04-01
US20040077379A12004-04-22
US20130265197A12013-10-10
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FARNSWORTH, Alastair Graham (DIPR Formalities Section, Poplar 2#2214MOD Abbey Wood, Bristol BS34 8JH, GB)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A dual polarised omnidirectional antenna apparatus capable of operat ing in transmit and receive, comprising at least two dual polarised directional antennas configured to be mountable in a substantially equi-spaced distributed array around and pointing away from a platform, wherein the antenna apparatus is configured such that, when operated in transmit, the dual polarised directional antennas operate: in phase with each other to deliver a combined omnidirectional, dual polarised, performance.

2. The dual polarised omnidirectional antenna apparatus of claim 1, further configured such that when operated in receive the dual polarised directional antennas operate in phase with each other to deliver a combined omnidirectional, dual polarised, performance.

3. The dual polarised omnidirectional antenna apparatus of any one of claims 1-2, further comprising a power source electrically connected to the dual polarised directional antennas, the power source being configured to power the dual polarised directional antennas in-phase.

4. The dual polarised omnidirectional antenna apparatus of any one of claims 1-3, further comprising a signal processor.

5. The dual polarised omnidirectional antenna apparatus of any one of claims 1-4, mounted upon a vehicle.

6. The dual polarised omnidirectional antenna apparatus of any preceding claim, configured to operate at 1800MHz to 6000MHz.

7. The dual polarised omnidirectional antenna apparatus of any one of claims 1-5, configured to operate at 800MHz to 2500MHz.

8. A method of omnidirectional communication, the method comprising che steps of: Providing the dual polarised omnidirectional antenna apparatus of any one of claims 1-7;

Mounting the dual polarised directional antennas of the antenna apparatus onto a platform as a substantially equi-spaced array around and pointing away from the platform;

Providing in-phase power to the dual polarised directional antennas; and then Receiving a signal or transmitting a signal using the dual polarised omnidirectional antenna apparatus.

Description:
l

DUAL POLARISED OMNIDIRECTIONAL ANTENNA APPARATUS

Technical Field of the Invention

This invention relates to the field of omnidirectional antennas, in particular to omnidirectional antennas providing dual polarisation.

Background to the Invention

Antennas are used for transmitting and receiving signals in various wireless applications. For instance antennas are widely used for communications, search and rescue, security and other military applications. Antennas are not only standalone devices, but can also be integrated into many different types of products ranging from antennas integrated as body wearable devices, antennas integrated into handsets / mobile personal digital assistants (PDAs) and vehicle / platform mounted antennas with associated systems. These different applications will have their own performance requirements that include, but are not limited to, weight, compactness, ergonomics, ruggedness and power consumption.

Omnidirectional antennas are used in many communications applications, in particular in applications where the line of sight between a transmitter and receiver is unknown. This has conventionally been achieved using monopole or dipole 'whip' type antennas, although such antennas are prone to snagging and not well suited to space constrained applications. Furthermore there is an ongoing demand for increases in antenna efficiency and operating bandwidth, in order to allow for higher data transfer rates and mitigation of multipath interference effects. Conventional omnidirectional antennas are limited in respect of their ability to cater for such improvements.

Therefore it is an aim of the present invention to provide an omnidirectional antenna apparatus that mitigates these issues. Summary of the Invention

According to a first aspect of the invention there is provided a dual polarised omnidirectional antenna apparatus capable of operating in transmit and receive, comprising at least two dual polarised directional antennas configured to be mountable in a substantially equi-spaced distributed array around and pointing away from a platform, wherein the antenna apparatus is configured such that, when operated in transmit, the dual polarised directional antennas operate in phase with each other to deliver a combined omnidirectional, dual polarised performance. This provides increased gain in comparison to single monopole or dipole omnidirectional antennas, owing to the directionality of each antenna. The antenna apparatus also increases available bandwidth and mitigates interference by providing two polarisations of transmission.

In preferred embodiments, the dual polarised omnidirectional antenna apparatus is further configured such that when operated in receive the dual polarised antennas operate in phase with each other to deliver a combined omnidirectional, dual polarised, performance. This provides increased gain, available bandwidth, and mitigation of interference effects, when operating in receive.

An antenna is suitable for transmitting or receiving signals using electromagnetic radiation, which may be at radio frequencies. An omnidirectional antenna apparatus is an antenna apparatus that provides a substantially uniform gain over 360° in for instance, azimuth. An omnidirectional performance can be a requirement in some applications of communications antennas such as search and rescue and some military applications. Traditionally this is achieved through use of conventional single element omnidirectional antennas such as monopole or dipole antennas. However omnidirectional performance can also be achieved through use of multiple directional antennas arranged appropriately as an antenna apparatus, as provided in GB2539327. Such a configuration can provide an improved power delivery mechanism.

The dual polarised directional antennas operate collectively to send (transmit) or receive a signal. The antennas collectively provide consistent panoramic coverage over 360°. To achieve such a performance the radiation patterns of each antenna must be configured appropriately. The consistent panoramic coverage may be continuously present with time. The consistent panoramic coverage is provided for two orthogonal polarisations, enabled by the dual polarised directional antennas of the invention. For example, in any azimuthal direction from the platform, there is overlapping vertical and horizontal polarised performance.

A directional antenna is an antenna that has increased performance (higher gain) in a particular direction. This is in contrast to omnidirectional antennas that radiate substantially uniformly in azimuth about the antenna. Directional antennas are useful in point to point communications where relatively higher gain is required along a particular sight line and transmission or receive performance in other directions is less important. The radiation pattern of a directional antenna has a dependency on frequency of operation. For instance the beam width of a particular directional antenna may be narrower at certain frequencies than at others. Directional antennas include cavity backed omnidirectional antennas and planar type antennas (typically comprising a radiating top plate and a ground plane) such as patch or PIFA antennas. Planar type antennas offer a reduced profile in comparison to other directional antennas and are relatively cost-effective to manufacture.

Increased gain, owing to the use of directional antennas, means less power is required at each directional antenna to achieve a given receive power at a receiver along a sightline (compared to a conventional omnidirectional whip antenna, for instance). This means size and weight of auxiliary components (such as power supplies) can be reduced - particularly important considerations where such an omnidirectional antenna apparatus is to be body wearable or mounted upon a vehicle. Furthermore, the use of directional antennas means that greater radiated powers do not result in a significant increase in radiation hazard to a platform mounting the omnidirectional antenna apparatus (owing to the radiation being directed away from the platform).

The demand for increased antenna bandwidth has been driven by the mobile telecommunications sector. In particular, Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) techniques have provided a plurality of 'channels' on a single antenna for communication. However this has led to antennas that are bespoke to mobile handsets (in terms of power requirement, spatial size, and frequencies of operation). Other applications of communications antennas, in particular platform (body, vehicle) mounted applications, have not experienced similar levels of development.

The dual polarised directional antennas can transmit or receive using two orthogonal polarisations (for instance horizontal and vertical) simultaneously. The use of two orthogonal polarisations simultaneously is particularly advantageous in overcoming signal fading owing to multipath interference effects, and when a transmitted electromagnetic signal experiences a change in polarisation owing to reflections off surfaces or propagation through certain media. A dual polarisation capability also provides an effective de- correlation capability allowing two simultaneous channels for data transfer. Each dual polarised antenna may comprise two planar antenna elements rotated to be spatially orthogonal to each other, for instance, to achieve two linear polarisations. Alternatively a circularly polarised antenna element may be used (which will comprise vertically and horizontally polarised components), although using two antenna elements may further offer spatial diversity.

In some embodiments the dual polarised omnidirectional antenna apparatus further comprises a power source electrically connected to the dual polarised directional antennas, the power source being configured to power the dual polarised directional antennas in- phase. The power source may be a transceiver, or separate transmit or receive circuitry connected to the dual polarised directional antennas. Some embodiments may further comprise a signal processing capability.

A further advantage of using dual polarised directional antennas in accordance with the invention is that a further form of diversity is available - pattern diversity - between the antennas themselves. Each dual polarised antenna will point away from the platform in a different direction, and so will be affected differently by multipath or other interference effects. As such, if a comparator is used to compare the signals from each dual polarised antenna, antennas with poor performance can be identified and in some embodiments, optionally be precluded from transmitting or receiving. The dual polarised omnidirectional antenna apparatus is intended to be mounted upon a platform, such that the directional antennas are arranged in a substantially equi-spaced distributed array around the platform. The platform may be a person, in which case the use of directional antenna elements is advantageous in respect of specific absorption ratio (SAR) of the antenna apparatus. Alternatively, in preferred embodiments the platform is a vehicle. For instance an omnidirectional antenna apparatus may be used on a car to assist with automated driving features such as collision avoidance. Omnidirectional performance on a vehicle may also be used for off-vehicle transmit and receive communications. The challenge when attempting to integrate antennas onto an electrically large platform (physically large with respect to wavelength) is that radiation patterns can easily begin to distort and shadowing effects can easily become prevalent - this is particularly acute where omnidirectional antennas are concerned. Having an antenna apparatus comprising at least two directional antennas configured to be mounted in a substantially equi-spaced distributed array around and pointing away from a vehicle, with the antenna apparatus configured such that, when operated in transmit, the directional antennas operate in phase with each other to deliver a combined omnidirectional performance, radiating purposely away from a vehicle, has been shown by the inventor to be an effective way of mitigating the distortive effects of the vehicle. Even more beneficial is the use of dual polarised directional antennas in such an antenna apparatus, to improve bandwidth and mitigate interference effects. In general the term 'mountable' is intended to encompass mounting on or within a garment of a user, or on or within the chassis/framework/bodywork of a vehicle. The dual polarised directional antennas may be secured with flaps and press studs, zip fasteners, clamps, bolts, or even in some instances welding or adhesive.

Preferred embodiments of the dual polarised omnidirectional antenna apparatus are configured to operate at 1800MHz to 6000MHz. Other embodiments operate at 800MHz to 2500MHz. The dual polarised directional antenna elements may be configured to provide such frequencies by virtue of using different planar antenna design topologies, or inclusion of parasitic radiators. For instance it has been shown in GB2539327 that a wideband directional antenna element can be manufactured by precisely configuring a PIFA type antenna. According to a second aspect of the invention, there is provided a method of omnidirectional communication, the method comprising the steps of: providing the dual polarised omnidirectional antenna apparatus of the first aspect of the invention; mounting the dual polarised directional antennas of the antenna apparatus onto a platform as a substantially equi-spaced array around and pointing away from the platform; providing in- phase power to the dual polarised directional antennas; and then receiving a signal or transmitting a signal using the dual polarised omnidirectional antenna apparatus. This provides a user with a high gain omnidirectional antenna with improved bandwidth and interference mitigation, owing to the overlapping dual polarised radiation patterns.

Brief Description of the Drawings

Embodiments of the invention will now be described by way of example only and with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

Figure 1 shows an illustration of an embodiment of a dual polarised omnidirectional antenna apparatus;

Figure 2 shows an illustration of a dual polarised omnidirectional antenna apparatus mounted to a vehicle; and

Figure 3 shows an illustration of the gain profile of the embodiment of Figure 2, showing overlapping dual polarised coverage.

Detailed Description

Figure 1 shows an illustration of a plurality of dual polarised directional antennas 21 configured as an embodiment of an omnidirectional antenna apparatus 20. Dual polarised directional antennas 21 are shown inside respective protective radomes 22 to protect against damage or abrasion. The radomes 22 are formed from plastic and are transparent to the radio frequencies of operation of antennas 21. Each antenna 21 is electrically connected (via wires 25) to a transmitter 23, itself being electrically connected to power supply 24. The power supply 24 is a portable battery unit (for instance lithium ion battery or other electrolyte based battery, such as would be found in a vehicle). The electrical connections 25 to each antenna 21 are split inside antenna 21 via respective power dividers (not shown) so as to power both antenna elements 21a and 21b in each antenna 21. The power divider inside each antenna 21 equally divides power to the respective first 21a and second 21b antenna elements, and applies zero degrees of phase shift. This ensures the first 21a and second 21b antenna elements in each dual polarised antenna 21 are operated in phase with each other, and that their radiation patterns are substantially uniform. The radiation patterns (vertical and horizontal polarisations, owing to the orthogonal orientations of antenna elements 21a and 21b) for all the dual polarised antennas 21 constructively combine (across the two polarisations) to provide overall dual polarised omnidirectional performance. The antenna elements 21a and 21b are arranged in the same geometrical plane so as to radiate in substantially the same direction.

Figure 2 shows an illustration of an embodiment of a dual polarised omnidirectional antenna apparatus 25 when mounted to a vehicle 26. Shown in the figure are a plurality of dual polarised antennas 27 mounted on the front, back, and sides of the vehicle (the far side is not shown in figure). The antennas 27 are operated in phase with each other to deliver a combined dual polarised omnidirectional performance radiating away from the vehicle 26.

Figure 3 shows an illustration of the gain profiles 28 provided by the embodiment of Figure 2. The figure shows vehicle 26 with a plurality of dual polarised directional antennas mounted thereupon. The dual polarised directional antennas are operated in phase with each other so as to provide an omnidirectional performance radiating away from the vehicle

26 with vertical polarisation 30. The dual polarised antennas simultaneously also provide an omnidirectional performance radiating away from the vehicle 26 with horizontal polarisation 31. The radial distance from the vehicle 26 is intended to illustrate gain (i.e. greater radial distances from the vehicle 26 indicate higher gain).

Whilst the embodiments described indicate dual polarisation being achieved by each antenna comprising two spatially orthogonal antenna elements, other embodiments may comprise spiral antennas that by virtue of being circularly polarised offer components of radiation with both vertical and horizontal polarisations. Such antenna elements may be provided in a cavity backed configuration to achieve the desired directionality.