All About Ka-Band Antenna Technology
Ka-band satellite communication uses frequencies from 27 GHz to 40 GHz.
With the reduction in cost, Ka-band antennas showcase considerably good data transfer rates.
For SOTM applications, Ka-band antennas are preferred due to their compact low profile, low cost, and light weight.
Microstrip Ka-band antennas offer many advantages such as light weight, easy integration, and low costs
The market growth for satellite communication is booming. For high-speed data communication, Ka-band frequencies are often utilized. However, as the use of Ka-band satellite communication increases, challenges in the field become more visible.
One such challenge is the design of the antenna. Small Ka-band antenna design is time-consuming, as the design must meet all the specifications of the application. Ka-band antennas can use various technologies such as gap waveguides, microstrips, and phased arrays. We will explore Ka-band antenna applications, design, and advantages in this article.
Ka-band satellite communication uses frequencies from 27 GHz to 40 GHz. The wavelength ranges from 0.75 cm to 1.1 cm. Major advantages of the Ka-band frequency in satellite communications include:
- Larger bandwidth availability
- Higher speed or data rates
- Significant throughput
- Suitability for multiple beam satellites
- Small user terminals
The small user terminals refer to the incorporation of small antennas. The advantages of small antennas in Ka-band frequency satellite communication systems are utilized in applications such as two-way broadband internet, mobile backhaul, enterprise applications, defense applications, and disaster management.
Ka-Band Satellite Communication
Ka-band satellite communication has played a constant role in commercial communication since the first decade of this century. The high throughput of Ka-band satellites, along with the wider availability of bandwidth and compact user terminals, make it a popular communication system. The costs of manufacturing, launching, and maintaining Ka-band satellite communication systems are comparable with the costs of wired broadband or 4G mobile communication. The monetary benefits achieved, along with the improvements in performance, are highlights of Ka-band satellite communication systems.
The compactness of Ka-band antennas is one of the most cited merits of Ka-band satellite communication. Data transmission and reception speeds are limited in user satellite communication terminals with antennas with a diameter in the range of 1 meter.
It is easier to manufacture and maintain compact Ka-band antennas. And, despite them being cheaper to produce, they still offer great data transfer rates. The technical challenges faced in Ka-band antenna design and manufacturing decrease with a reduction in dimension. Several technologies are used to implement Ka-band antennas–let’s look at a few of them next.
Microstrip Ka-Band Antennas
Microstrip Ka-band antennas are attractive due to their light weight, easy integration, and low cost. They exhibit improved bandwidth and gain with design modifications. For example, the parallel/series feed technique in microstrip Ka-band antennas improves the gain and bandwidth.
Microstrip antenna arrays are also used in Ka-band applications. The sequentially rotated series parallel stub technique is one of the methods employed in Ka-band antennas to allow the symmetrical positioning of array elements. The good axial ratio of polarization, spatial flexibility for array elements, and impedance matching are achieved in Ka-satellite communications by using microstrip Ka-band antenna arrays.
Ka-Band Antennas Using Gap-Waveguide Technology
For satellite communication on-the-move (SOTM) applications, compact low profile, low-cost, and lightweight Ka-band antennas are preferred. Ka-band antennas with these physical properties should also meet electrical specifications such as good beam quality, low cross-polarization, and high gain.
The Ka-band antenna arrays in gap waveguide technology are a promising solution that satisfies both the physical and electrical specifications demanded by SOTM applications. Gap waveguide technology-based Ka-band antennas are simpler than conventional waveguide antennas and offer low distribution losses. The simplicity of feeding networks is also appreciated in gap waveguide-based Ka-band antennas.
Several innovative substrate technologies have been explored for Ka-band antenna applications in 5G wireless communications. The substrates employed in Ka-band antenna design include:
- Glass substrates
- Organic high-density interconnect substrates
- High and low-temperature co-fired ceramic substrates
- Molding compound-based wafer-level substrates
Substrate technology-based Ka-band antenna array modules optimize gain, radiation pattern, and bandwidth for optimal beamforming and beam scanning. They also showcase interconnection flexibility, good thermo-mechanical capabilities, board integration, and IC assembly.
Cadence Tools Support Antenna Design for Ka-Band Applications
Ka-band antenna design is essential to building 5G wireless communication systems. Cadence can support you in designing microstrip and gap waveguide antennas for Ka-band applications. Cadence OrCAD software assists you in the development of antennas utilizing different technologies.
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