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Test and Measurement

News Wrap Up for the Week of Aug 11

Get a quick summary of RF and Microwave related news from last week featuring an Olympic accomplishment, some test and measurement news plus other various product/award announcements.

August 15, 2008
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The week started off with the annoucement below from Andrew that they teamed with Siemens to provide high speed wireless in trains for the Olympics:

As the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing gets well into its first week, a new high speed train sprinting between Beijing and Tianjin in China is supporting super-fast wireless communications onboard thanks to Andrew, the CommScope Inc. division that is a global leader in communications systems and products.

Andrew and Siemens jointly designed an advanced wireless communications system for the CRH3 Harmony multiple unit trains, which were developed specifically for the Olympics and have maximum speeds of 350 km/h. The CRH3 trains began running on the Beijing-Tianjin high speed railway line on August 1, helping bring guests from all corners of the world to the Beijing Games.


There were numerous product announcements from the test and measurement companies with Agilent having a very busy week:

Agilent Technologies Inc. announced the release of the first commercially available HiSIM2.4 Model Extraction Package for DC and RF parameters for advanced complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) device models. The package, for use with Agilent’s Integrated Circuit Characterization and Analysis Program (IC-CAP) software platform, provides an easy-to-use, efficient and customizable method for measuring and extracting accurate DC and RF parameter values for the HiSIM2.4 model.

Agilent Technologies Inc. announced shipment of its Genesys 2008.07 release. The new Genesys release contains improvements to the reliability of artwork masks for electromagnetic (EM) verification and RF board manufacturing, along with modeling and user interface improvements. This functionality results in shorter design cycles with fewer iterations for RF designers with tight deadlines and budgets.

Agilent Technologies Inc. has recently announced the addition of the 2 and 4 port, 20 GHz option to its ENA network analyzers, as well as the introduction of a new E5092A configurable multiport test set. The new offerings bring best-in-class RF performance over a wide frequency range, fast measurement speed and multiport measurement capability to the ENA network analyzers. They also increase productivity, reduce cost of testing and are ideal for designers and manufacturers of passive. components used in consumer-based wireless communications applications.

Tektronix Inc., a provider of test, measurement and monitoring instrumentation, announced the new AWG7000B and AWG5000B Series of Arbitrary Waveform Generators (AWG) (visit www.tek.com/sources). The AWG B series provides a 20 percent performance boost over many of the prior AWG instruments and continues to be the world’s fastest and most capable family of AWGs, designed to meet the test needs for high-speed serial data buses and wideband RF applications. With 9.6 GHz effective RF output, 10 bit resolution and sample rates up to 24 GS/s, the AWG7000B is the only AWG that can produce high-speed serial waveforms with real life imperfections including noise, jitter, pre/de-emphasis and multi-level signaling up to 8 Gb/s. Also announced is the radar signal creation option - RDR - for the RFXpress Software suite, offering the ultimate flexibility in creating pulsed radar waveforms on the AWG7000B and AWG5000B.

Rohde & Schwarz and Qasara have announced a joint programme to verify inter-operability between Rohde & Schwarz’s 3GPP LTE Virtual Tester and Qasara’s LTE compliant UE protocol stack. The collaboration provides an independent verification of a complete, end to end, LTE protocol stack. LTE is set to enable the next generation of mobile broadband products, deploying enhanced services to mobile users and enabling the vision of universal mobile connectivity. Both companies are working to address the technical challenges presented by this new standard.

CSR announced that it has achieved recognition by the Bluetooth SIG as a Bluetooth Recognized Test Facility (BRTF). CSR’s test facilities are now regarded as having developed to the point where it can entirely test its own firmware, rather than using an external testing house. BRTF status means that CSR can help customers get their products to market faster, reinforcing CSR’s continued expertise in Bluetooth.

RF Engines Ltd. (RFEL), a UK-based signal processing on FPGA specialist, have completed the delivery of its latest designs for LIG Nex1’s latest spectrum analyzer instrument.

RFEL have been working with LIG Nex1 of Korea (www.lignex1.com/tm/index_eng.html) for a number of years, and have most recently supplied an advanced SpectraChip™ IF design that effectively is a digital replacement for the analogue intermediate frequency (IF) filtering section of LIG Nex1’s latest instrument.

Then there were a couple of major accomplishments from RFMD and Skyworks:

Skyworks Solutions Inc., an innovator of high performance analog and mixed signal semiconductors enabling mobile connectivity, announced that it has shipped more than two billion power amplifier (PA) modules since product inception near the turn of the decade. The company is an architectural pioneer of PA and complete front-end modules (FEM) and today uniquely supplies to each of the world’s top five handset OEMs and two leading smartphone manufacturers. At the same time, Skyworks has developed design partnerships with all of the industry’s leading baseband suppliers and, most recently, has captured key sockets on Qualcomm and MediaTek reference designs.

RF Micro Devices Inc. announced it has captured a major design win on a leading handset original equipment manufacturer's (OEM) upcoming 3G multimode handset platform. RFMD® secured the design win with the industry's highest performance and most highly integrated triple-path, broadband power amplifier (PA), delivering unmatched broadband performance and TRP compliance. Based upon current customer forecasts and design activity, RFMD anticipates volume shipments to commence in the fourth quarter of calendar 2008.

And finally some general product and award announcements:

Nitronex, a developer and manufacturer of high-performance RF power transistors for wireless infrastructure, broadband and military markets, has received Phase II Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) funding to further develop its GaN technology for military and aerospace applications. The two year Phase II STTR program began in the first quarter of this year. The primary program objective is to deliver high power X-band GaN monolithic microwave integrated circuits (MMIC) that address Ballistic Missile Defense radar needs of the Missile Defense Agency (MDA).

Ethertronics Inc., a provider of standard and customized embedded antenna solutions for wideband and multi-band wireless devices, introduced a small ceramic GPS antenna. At 4 x 2 x 1.08 mm and 0.2 grams, Ethertronics’ Savvi™ Embedded Ceramic Antenna is designed for integration into many small form factor devices including GPS-enabled mobile phones, personal media players and navigation equipment without sacrificing performance and efficiency.

Avago Technologies announced a highly efficient, linear power amplifier for 18 to 33 GHz frequency ranges. The company is a supplier of analog interface components for communications, industrial and consumer applications. Avago’s AMMC/P-6333 is a high performance driver amplifier with very high gain and power coupled with excellent input and output return losses. These new amplifiers are built to allow design engineers to meet driver amplifier needs for broadband frequencies while eliminating the need for negative voltage requirements for better RF performance. Available in “bare die” or surface-mount packaging, the AMMC/P-6333 targets wireless communication infrastructure applications, including point-to-point radios, VSAT and fiber to the home.

Alcatel-Lucent has announced plans to conduct a trial of wireless broadband services using WiMAX Rev-e technology with True Corp., Thailand’s only fully integrated telecommunications provider and leader in convergence lifestyle. For the trial Alcatel-Lucent will provide True Corp. with a comprehensive WiMAX solution that operates on the 2.5 GHz frequency band, including base stations, wireless access controller, operation and maintenance centre and customer premises equipment to deliver Internet broadband access when on the move.

Herley Industries Inc. announced that AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica Company, has awarded them a contract to provide its PCM770 Encoders for use in the Flight Test Data Acquisition System of the AgustaWestland next-generation Lynx Helicopter. The Future Lynx will be the UK Army's new Battlefield Reconnaissance Helicopter and the Navy's new Surface Combatant Maritime Rotorcraft. The first flight of the Future Lynx Helicopter is expected to take place in late 2009 with first deliveries starting in 2012.

QinetiQ Group plc has agreed to acquire Dominion Technology Resources Inc. (DTRI), a provider of high end products and services to the US Intelligence Community. DTRI’s expertise focuses on mission architecture engineering, integration and operations support.

Under the terms of the agreement, which is conditional upon regulatory clearance in the United States, QinetiQ will acquire 100 percent of the stock of DTRI for a net cash consideration of approximately $104.5 M (post tax attributes of the transaction). The acquisition will be organized under the Mission Solutions Group of QinetiQ North America (QNA).

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