Vehicle-mounted antennas are typically divided into two categories:
• Single-band antennas, for a dedicated application
• Multi-band antennas, used when multiple applications are combined into one antenna
Emergency vehicles and ambulances are examples of medical vehicles that need to stay connected to the larger wireless network for both fleet management applications and to convey urgent and critical information. VHF and UHF have traditionally been used for emergency response vehicles. The low-profile LPD antenna for VHF was developed specifically for emergency vehicles. VHF antennas are large because the frequency range is low, at least relative to the newer Cellular and WiFi frequencies. The LPD measures 20 inches in diameter, but only 3 inches in height, making it a safe and practical solution for a tall “connected ambulance.”
WiFi connections are common when antennas have medical applications so Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) users will have many applications for WiFi-only antennas. These antennas will be dedicated to providing optimal wireless connectivity over WiFi. The newer WiFi routers are capable of sending signals over multiple elements and are often identified for their MIMO (multiple-input-multiple-output) capabilities. These routers will have connector ports for multiple antennas. In a fixed location application, e.g., on a table or wall, we might see multiple device style antennas attached to them, as referenced in the discussion of “device solutions”.
In a mobile solution, where the WiFi router is installed in a vehicle, we are more likely to see an antenna solution with cables leading from the antenna to the device. The new NXD-W is an example of a single-band or dedicated band antenna that offers coverage on just the WiFi channels. This antenna contains four WiFi elements inside a small antenna radome that measures only 3 ½” in diameter and just over ½” in height. This 4x MIMO WiFi antenna solution can be through-hole mounted on a vehicle, or it can be mounted in a fixed location, with cables leading to the WiFi router. As a vehicle mount antenna, it could be used as a WiFi hotspot for remote locations, such as a temporary medical facility. It has the added advantage of being extremely rugged.
Multi-band antennas are commonly used for fleet management applications and can be found on emergency vehicles or medical transport vehicles. Large mobile scanner equipment housed in trailers or vans and moved from hospital to hospital or temporary medical facilities are another example of equipment that can use multi-band antennas. The multi-band wireless feature offers the ability to track the equipment, monitor onboard vehicle telematics, and communicate critical medical information.
These antennas typically cover Cellular, WiFi, and GNSS frequency bands, although other combinations are available and have been used in different settings. The multi-band antennas are paired with routers, gateways, or modems that use different generations of wireless technologies. Some of the routers might require two Cellular connections for a single Cellular Carrier and others might require four Cellular connections to provide for Dual Carrier MIMO. The LTM Series antennas have medical applications and have been used with these large mobile scanners to provide a reliable data connection for transmitting data from the mobile site back to a central location. The LTM Series includes the new 9-element LTMWG944 (4x Sub-6 5G, 4x WiFi 6e, and 1xGNSS) which offers the most advanced communications options.
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ABOUT MOBILE MARK, INC.
Mobile Mark Antenna Solutions designs and manufactures site, mobile and device antennas for 30 MHz – 6 GHz. Applications include GPS Tracking & Fleet Management, Cellular 4G LTE, 5GReady, WiFi, RFID, Public Safety FirstNet, M2M, Industrial IoT, IoT, Smart City Networks and Autonomous & Connected Cars. Engineering and custom design services are available. Mobile Mark’s global headquarters, which include research facilities and manufacturing plant, are located near Chicago, IL. An additional manufacturing and sales facility is located near Birmingham, UK. For further information visit the company website: www.mobilemark.com.