Molex Antennas: Integrated Solutions for Unlimited Possibilities in the IoT

Discover the full potential of the Internet of Things and unlock it with the Molex Multi-Hub antennas, available on

The modern world is a connected world. But the growth needed in wireless communication to fortify the 5G network requires connectivity that translates to more than just cables and wires.

High-speed wireless connectivity has freed us from the need for traditional, physical networks and has enabled one of the most exciting innovations of recent years: the Internet of Things (IoT). The IoT is a networked environment of connected machines that communicates with each other. Data is processed and decisions are informed autonomously by a huge range of devices.

For many of us, this technology has found its initial application in our homes. Household devices are now equipped to share data with each other and to be controlled by the homeowner using a smartphone. From refrigerators that can order groceries to smart meters that monitor energy consumption remotely, these innovations are made possible by 5G connectivity.

The Potential of The Internet of Things

AntennaFor all the value that lies in implementing these technologies inside the home, the true potential of the IoT lies outside the home. The widespread adoption of 5G communication has created huge opportunities to use the IoT in commercial applications. Almost every industry, from agriculture to medical care, is using connected devices to provide faster and more efficient services.

The integration of so many devices into a global wireless network has created challenges for designers. In previous generations, many of these machines would have been made with minimal wireless connectivity. Their over-the-air connection to the Internet of Things requires new technology, and for most devices, this will mean they must incorporate antennas.

All wireless communication uses radio frequency (RF) radiation to transfer data. From the humble Bluetooth device to the latest 5G network, any machine that shares data will require antennas to both transmit and receive its signal. The huge growth in the number of devices that are using these wireless technologies has created a large demand for antenna products that can be integrated into compact electronics. Alongside its traditional range of connector products, Molex also manufactures a wide range of antenna products for a huge range of applications. Molex has been one of the leading antenna component manufacturers for mobile and consumer applications since the end of the 90s. In recent years, Molex has developed a broad portfolio of ready-to-use antennas to support growing demand across industries.

The Challenges of Complex Applications

There are many devices that will spend their service lives in one location. They can use Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity for their communication needs, and designers can choose an antenna that will work in each environment. But there are some applications that are more complex.

The world of automotive design has always been at the forefront of new technology. Vehicle manufacturers are employing the latest advances to create an immersive experience in which cars, smartphones and other road users will share information to promote safety. The commercial market is taking this technology one step further to create vehicles that form a core part of the latest logistical network.

The smart factory is the name given to a manufacturing plant that employs the IoT. Within the factory, all elements are connected to the IoT to create a complete picture of the manufacturing process. While the machines themselves might be able to take advantage of wired communications, there are many moving elements that depend on wireless connectivity to share data with the network.

Autonomous vehicles such as forklift trucks use the IoT to manage the movement of raw materials around the facility. In fact, the raw materials themselves are also tracked to ensure prompt delivery to the right location. The factory will employ Wi-Fi to connect all these elements, or even use its own private 5G cell to provide onsite connectivity.

However, the factory environment represents just one element of the supply chain. The use of the IoT means that delivery vehicles can be integrated using 5G or even satellite communications to track shipments once they leave the factory. This provides an unprecedented global picture of the manufacturing process, from the delivery of raw materials from their source to the tracking of shipments around the world.

But providing this comprehensive view of the manufacturing process represents a tremendous challenge for the designer. Each of the wireless technologies employed by such a system—5G, LTE, GNSS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth—uses a different frequency to communicate. A tracking device that can provide information about a shipment globally will need antennas that can communicate with all the necessary protocols in order to provide real-time updates.Multi-Hub_5-in-1_Antenna

Different Frequencies, One Solution

Molex has created a multitude of combo antennas that offers expanded frequency ranges. Some of the solutions are very low-profile, allowing for easy integration into existing enclosures with surface-mounting PCB or wired alternatives. For global connectivity in tough conditions, Molex has developed this concept further to create the Multi-Hub 5-in-1 Antenna, available on This is a low-profile, externally mounted device that is sealed to IP67 for protection against harsh environments. It is equipped with two 5G antennas, two for Wi-Fi and one for GPS, to enable the widest possible communications.

Employing the Multi-Hub antenna allows seamless transition with the IoT, from the Wi-Fi network inside the factory to the 5G network outside. The GPS functionality allows for precise location information to be shared, providing an accurate real-time picture of the supply chain. Fitted with the popular SMA connector, the Multi-Hub can easily be integrated into existing harnesses and provide solutions for commercial and specialist vehicles as well as container transport solutions.

The Internet of Things has been made possible by wireless connectivity, and its potential is only now being fully explored. The need for reliable, multi-frequency RF communications can be a challenge for designers who wish to embrace the full functionality of the IoT. Fortunately, Molex and Arrow offer a range of solutions that make seamless integration easy with their combo antenna range, enabling a broad range of wireless device manufacturers to easily realize the many diverse ways the IoT can drive value to not just their product designs, but their manufacturing facilities—even to the comfort of their daily lives.

Learn how 5G Connectivity is enabling the technology of the future

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