The number of Wave antennas needed versus the number of Patches depends on a given application. The OSU/ESL study referenced above stated, “from a cost perspective, it is expected that twice as many patch antennas are needed to cover a metal shelving unit with the same performance as Wave Antennas”.
A list of application variables for a patch antenna solution includes types and method of items being tagged, distance between antenna read points, stationary versus items in motion, type of patches used, spacing of patches, patches used in an array, power levels used, mounting considerations etc. Variables are far simpler with a Wave solution because it was designed specifically for RFID, the patch was not.
Since each Wave antenna has a minimum of five criss-crossing beams and each patch antenna has only one main directional beam. We can say confidently that the total cost and ease of installing Wave antennas versus Patch antennas to minimally achieve comparable technical results and typically have a superior result will be lower for most applications.
The Wave antenna comes in three sizes, 3', 5' and 7'. For each of these antenna sizes, one can purchase the antenna in a rugged but aesthetic casing or purchase the actual radiator section called the Wave “element”.
Our radiator element is already mounted on thin film and is easily integrated into various structures and materials.
Wave antennas and elements can be and have been successfully embedded into shelving systems, portals, tables, desks, walls, file cabinets, vehicles, and even fabrics, etc.
These elements can also be shaped e.g. in a circle and still retain their tag reading accuracy.
If you are not familiar with using composite embedded structures, NeWave has an extensive background on this and can provide the support needed for your desired application.
Patch antennas can be bought for as little as $35 and as high as $280 depending on several factors. On an apples-to-apples comparison, we estimate the number of Patch antennas needed to get the same results as Wave antennas would result in a higher total solution cost. The relative performance of these two antenna solutions remains the most significant issue.
Wave solutions consistently out perform the Patch for existing applications and we make numerous solutions possible that were not previously available. Examples are our “no tags required” Smart Shelf, Smart Inventory Management System (SIMS, our easily installed “Plug and Play” Portals as well as our Surround Portal that can read many 100’s of tightly packed tags in small containers.
The Wave antennas are presently warehoused in at our NeWave Innovation Center in Columbus, Ohio and can typically be shipped the next day to any place in the US or Canada. Special orders, for example, ordering our radiating elements may require more lead time.