Antenna as a sensor for sensing available LTE networks
Abstract: This thesis primarily deals with the concept of designing an antenna based device to harvest energy from Radio Frequency (RF) and using the harvested energy to sense the available Long Term Evolution (LTE) network in order for the Internet of Things (IoT) devices to connect to the network for the purpose of transmitting and receiving data. Secondarily the importance of this project is targeting how to conserve battery power in an IoT device and extend it’s lifetime. Research in the field of energy harvesting has been going on for a long time. Most of the researches concentrate on harvesting significant amount of energy to power up an entire device and so no one has ever thought of using the harvested RF energy to sense the availability of LTE network. This method of using antenna to sense network requires only a small amount of harvested energy. Due to this reason the proposed design works for a very low input received signal strength indicator (RSSI) as well, unlike higer RSSI required for other applications. The proposed design has three major sub-parts such as the (i) Antenna for the purpose of receiving the available ambient radio frequency. (ii) Matching circuit for the purpose of maximum power transfer between the antenna and the rectifier circuit. Finally (iii) rectifier which is used to convert the AC voltage into DC voltage. The device then measures the obtained voltage through the Analog to Digital Converter (ADC) pin in the Micro-Controlling Unit (MCU) available with the attached IoT device. The MCU then maps the harvested voltage into the corresponding analog voltage.Depending on the set threshold voltage the MCU can then advice whether or not to connect to the LTE network. The design implements matching circuit for the two LTE bands that are primarily in use in the European region i.e., band 3, 8 that work in 915, 1800 MHz frequency region respectively. In this way we can identify in which band the device is harvesting energy. The matching circuit also acts as a bandpass filter. For the design and production of the entire harvester device one needs adequate knowledge in the field of RF and Antennas and a high level knowledge in the field of electronics in order to run Simulations and to design Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs). Advanced Design Software (ADS) has been used to run all the simulations and Altium software for the design of PCBs. The final prototype is presented along with the casing and tested on the field in practical scenario. Antenna test chambers were used to test the performance of the antennas being used for the design. The prototype harvests RF energy and indicates whether or not to connect to the LTE network with the help of light emitting diode (LED). The uniqueness of the device is that it can detect signals as low as -110 dBm, this has been set as the threshold for the purpose of sensing LTE networks.
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