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A new low-cost smaller unit-cell planar electromagnetic bandgap (EBG) structure operating at the lower GHz frequencies (below 6 GHz) is proposed. EBG structures based on this new geometry are designed on a number of commonly available substrates. Characteristics of such structures, such as bandgap and reflection phase profile are analyzed. A simple empirical model is proposed to predict the surface wave stopband frequency of the proposed EBG structure. Finally, a low-profile dipole antenna is designed and tested for operation on the EBG structure.