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RAWCON2001 Conference Report
RAWCON2001 Highlights Interdisciplinary Wireless Data Technology
Michael S. Heutmaker
RAWCON2001 General Chair
The 2001 IEEE Radio and Wireless Conference (RAWCON2001), held in Waltham, MA, on August 19 to 22, 2001, explored interdisciplinary aspects of RF technology and wireless communications. This year several elements of the conference, including the keynote address and the Tuesday panel session, focused on wireless local area network (WLAN) technology, which has been one of the few industry sectors to keep growing during the telecommunications downturn. Approximately 240 people from 16 countries took in a program of 43 oral presentations and 23 poster papers, as well as workshops, a banquet address and a vendor exhibit.
Greg Ennis, technical director of the Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance (WECA), delivered the RAWCON2001 keynote address. His presentation, "The Ever-present Wireless LAN Future," highlighted the evolution of WLAN standards, the role of interoperability in the present success of WLAN products, and the importance of network security in the next iteration of the standards. The Tuesday panel session, "The Next Step for the Wireless LAN," was moderated by Craig Mathias of the Farpoint Group. Panelists Steve Ladd (Agere Systems), Jim Lansford (Mobilian Corp.), Jeff Menken (IBM Wireless e-business Services), Carl Temme (Atheros Communications) and Jim Zyren (Intersil Corp.) discussed the proliferation of WLAN technology in homes, public places and the enterprise. Additional topics included the move to higher rate WLAN systems using orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM), the issue of network security and the business issues facing WLAN service providers. A sizable and inquisitive audience also contributed their ideas on these issues.
The RAWCON2001 technical program was assembled under the direction of Peter Staecker, the technical program chair. The program featured interdisciplinary sessions on broadband wireless access, cellular systems, ultrawideband (UWB) and WLAN/OFDM technology. These interdisciplinary sessions brought together talks on system design, signal processing and component technology. The oral presentations and poster papers were on a single track in order to maximize the opportunities for presenters to obtain feedback on their work. The technical program was enhanced by an invited overview talk from Larry Milstein (University of California at San Diego) on wideband code division multiple access (WCDMA). Two workshops focused on power amplifier linearity in devices, circuits and systems. Gene Tkachenko (Alpha Industries) organized the Sunday workshop "Characterization and Modeling of Power Amplifier Circuits and Transistor Technologies." The impressive array of workshop presenters included S. Cherepko (Lehigh University), N. Iwata (NEC), M. Jones (Triquint), T. Moriuchi (Fujitsu), D. Shreurs (Katholike Universiteit Leuven), J. Verspecht (Agilent Technologies) and C. Wei (Alpha Industries). The workshop covered the latest large signal measurement technology, modeling of heterojunction bipolar transistors (HBT) and field effect transistors (MESFET/PHEMT), as well as amplifier device and circuit design issues for 3G handsets and basestations. Steve Kenney (Georgia Institute of Technology) organized the Monday workshop, "Methods and Concepts for Power Amplifier Linearization," which included presentations from Steve Kenney, Kathleen Muhonen (RF Micro Devices), James Sills (Intersil Corp.) and Yuanxun Wang (University of California at Los Angeles). The presentations covered feed-forward and digital predistortion technology, and the applications of these methods to high rate wireless data systems and broadband wireless access.
The banquet address by Tom Rowbotham (St. Paul Venture Capital), one of the highlights of the conference, presented an insider's view of "predators and prey" in the world of venture capital. Tom's title "Starting a Start-up, Or 'Maybe I Should Have Taken a Real Job?'" foreshadowed the irreverent and often hilarious tone of the evening. Also featured were two founders of start-up companies (the "prey") funded by St. Paul Venture Capital, David Crosbie (Bluesocket) and Jay Borden (Granite Systems). David and Jay gave their "semi-serious" perspectives on such tricks of the VC trade as company valuation, seed money, angel investments, A and B funding rounds, IPOs and more. Tom, David and Jay also took a number of questions from the audience.