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News Wrap Up for the Week of Aug 22

Heading into the final weeks of summer. Several product announcements from RFIC and MMIC manufacturers, contracts, appointments, new test solutions and new software make up the majority of microwave-related news happening the week ending August 22.

August 22, 2008
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RFIC developers had a number of new products to announce this week including:

Texas Instruments Inc. (TI) announced a high-linearity, ultra-low noise quadrature (IQ) modulator that delivers RF output transmission up to 4 GHz to support multiple wireless communications standards on a single RF transceiver card. The TRF370317 IQ modulator is a direct launch RF transmitter device that offers base station equipment manufacturers improved linearity and higher output power, which can improve overall transmitter performance, while reducing power consumption and operating expenditures for service providers. The IQ modulator meets the stringent requirements of GSM, CDMA2000, TD-SCDMA, W-CDMA and WiMAX, as well as emerging next-generation wireless standards such as LTE and multi-carrier GSM.

Entropic Communications Inc., a provider of silicon solutions to enable connected home entertainment, announced the release of the RF5101, a new radio frequency integrated circuit recently added to its Band Translation Switch (BTS) product family. The chip was developed to meet the performance requirements of EchoStar Technologies and is being integrated into EchoStar's latest customer premise equipment (CPE) including its Low Noise Block Feedhorn (LNBF) and its Multi-Switches.

WiQuest Communications Inc.announced the availability of its complete, high-performance Wireless USB Platform based on its advanced new WQU210 single-chip, CMOS silicon. This latest platform is the first to enable new Gigabit bandwidth-intensive applications. Wireless USB products based on WiQuest technology are the most widely deployed throughout the world, with more than 12 additional new Wireless USB products from notebook PC and notebook PC peripheral manufacturers slated for release in 2008. Wireless USB-based products from leading notebook PC or PC peripheral companies are currently shipping in the US, Asia and Europe.

Murata Electronics North America introduced the world's smallest ferrite beads, measuring only 0.4mm x 0.2mm x 0.2mm. The 01005 sized, BLM02 series is ideal for noise suppression use in Electro Magnetic Interference (EMI) filter applications and DC power lines, which are found in numerous electronics including RF modules, laptops, portable music devices and car navigation systems. As part of Murata's EMIFIL (electro-magnetic interference filters) family of chip ferrite beads, the BLM02 provides a wide attenuation frequency range, approximately 30MHz to several hundred MHZ, and an impedance range of 10 Ohms to 120 Ohms with rated currents between 200mA and 500mA. The 01005 sized beads also offer DC resistance below 0.8 Ohms and operate between 55 degrees Celsius to +125degrees Celsius.

In the GaAs MMIC world, Tyco Electronics M/A-COM announced the MASW-008955, a new DC-3.5 GHz SP3T RoHS compliant switch for applications that require high linearity, low insertion loss and fast settling time over a wide frequency range in an ultra small package size. TE M/A-COM’s MASW-008955 is fabricated on a low-cost 0.5-micron gate-length GaAs process with full passivation added for robust reliability, which is achieved in a miniature 2 mm 8 lead PDFN package. Typical applications for this product include filter and antenna switching in WLAN or Bluetooth systems that connect separate receive functions to a common antenna.

From the test and measurement world, Keithley Instruments, Inc. is extending its lead in RF MIMO (multiple-input, multiple-output) test with the industry's first measurement-grade 8x8 MIMO system. The system is used for primary research of next-generation RF MIMO devices and technologies. The new 8x8 MIMO system is built on the same award-winning measurement platform that provides capability and performance not found with any other RF test system.

Also, Agilent Technologies Inc. announced a new software feature for handheld wireless measurements on its E6474A network optimization platform that turns a standard WiMAX PC Card (CPE) into the industry’s smallest WiMAX scanning solution for Drive Test. This new mode of operation gives network equipment manufacturers and wireless operators’ RF engineering teams the most cost-effective way to confirm WiMAX coverage and provide basic troubleshooting tasks to assess signal quality. A single WiMAX CPE can be used either in “Phone” mode as a standard WiMAX CPE or in “Scanning Mode”, providing dedicated RF measurements on up to 10 channels. For each channel, a Preamble Index Decode, BSID, RSSI, CINR and MAC messages are reported for the dominant, visible server(s), providing a comprehensive view of the surrounding network.

Agilent Technologies also introduced advanced software for making precise phase-locked loop (PLL) measurements, also called jitter transfer measurements. Used with the Agilent 86100C DCA-J wideband oscilloscope, the software can test a wide variety of PLL designs and has been approved by the PCI-SIG (PCI Special Interest Group) to perform PCI Express (PCIe) PLL compliance measurements. The Agilent 86100CU-400 PLL and jitter spectrum measurement software is a free application that makes fast, accurate and repeatable PLL measurements using a precision jitter source and receiver. This software also provides valuable insight into the root causes of jitter by recording jitter spectrum/phase noise measurements on data and clock signals.

In business, EMRISE Corp., a multinational manufacturer of proprietary electronic devices and communications equipment for aerospace, defense, industrial and communications applications, announced that it has completed the acquisition of Eatontown, NJ-based Advanced Control Components Inc. (ACC). ACC is a supplier of high performance RF and microwave devices and subsystems that for more than 26 years has been serving the military, aerospace, commercial and instrumentation markets.

OEwaves Inc. has been awarded a contract to develop frequency agile bandpass and notch filters to support agile receiver systems for military and communication applications. The filter development will utilize the company’s proprietary photonics filter technology - the patented technology of ultra-high quality (Q) factor crystalline whispering gallery mode (WGM) optical resonators to acheive wideband tunability. Multi-pole widely tunable microwave photonic filters with similar performance parameters extends beyond miniature agile receiver system requirements and includes military and commercial microwave filter banks, radio emission detection, and other scientific instrumentation and test equipment.

Teledyne Technologies Inc. announced that its subsidiary, Teledyne Ltd., has completed the acquisition of the Defense Electronics business of Filtronic PLC for £13.0 M (approximately $24.3 M). The Defense Electronics business, principally based in Shipley, United Kingdom, provides customized microwave subassemblies and integrated subsystems to the global defense industry. The acquisition, which adds expertise in receiver subsystems and digital signal processing, is consistent with Teledyne’s strategy to provide more highly integrated microwave subsystems to defense customers.

Skyworks Solutions Inc. announced that it has signed a five-year, multi-million dollar contract with Lockheed Martin to supply high-precision technical ceramic toroids and inserts for the Aegis Weapon System. This contract win reflects the company’s increasing diversification into adjacent markets within its Linear Products business.

Micronetics Inc. announced that Kevin Beals has been promoted to President and Carl Lueders has been appointed CFO. Beals has served as Vice President of New Business Development at Micronetics since 2006. Prior to his joining Micronetics, he served as District Sales Manager at M/A-COM Inc. During his 15 years at M/A-COM, he managed several strategic accounts with large, multinational, defense electronics companies, and secured major programs such as Collision Avoidance Radar, WolfPack, F-22, JSF, JTRS and RFID.

Accellera, the electronics industry organization focused on Electronic Design Automation (EDA) standards, announced recently that its Board of Directors and Technical Committee members – systems, semiconductor and design tool companies – approved a new version of its Verilog-Analog Mixed-Signal (AMS) standard, Verilog-AMS 2.3, as an Accellera standard for analog and mixed-signal design and simulation. The new Verilog-AMS standard unifies the Verilog-AMS 2.2 specification with the IEEE Std. 1364-2005 or Verilog hardware description language (HDL) standard.

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