The International CTIA WIRELESS 2009 event is where broadband communications come to life as the event was branded as “Mobile Life”. It embodied this name as new technologies rolled out to make broadband more widely adopted and seamless but another overriding theme was “Green Technology” especially when your featured keynote is Al Gore.

CTIA Wireless had over a 1000 exhibiting companies and tens of thousands attendees from over 125 countries that converged to do business, discuss innovation and exchange ideas. But the economic slowness definitely affected the attendance and enthusiasm. Some of the buzz was around new phones, the Blackberry apps store, A-GPS and the day two keynote about the merging of wireless with medical applications. The impending stimulus funding to expand broadband services around the US was also a hot topic.

Al Gore was the final keynote speaker and reviewed the history of information distribution and how it has affected the balance of power from the few to the many. He stated there were only 50 web sites online about the time Clinton and he took office compared to today where there are billions. He drove the concept that we have a climate change, security and economic crisis. The common thread in these is our reliance on carbon based energy so we must act quickly to move away from that situation. He stated that wireless is a key tool to solving these problems and challenged everyone to contribute and lead the effort.

Microwave Journal established the first RF Microwave Pavilion that was successful but the overall economic concerns tempered that success. Our sister publication, Telecommunications Group, ran another successful M2M (machine-to-machine) Pavilion. The traffic was moderate, but the quality of inquiries was very good.

Below is a wrap up of the products and services various RF/microwave companies were featuring at the show:

Microwave Design, Materials, Components & Systems:
Tecdia was proud to announce their new Integrated Resistor Capacitor (IRC) that is a thin film ceramic product that combines a single layer capacitor and a resistor in one chip. They were also showcasing their high current, broadband bias-T’s with various frequency ranges to meet most applications.

M/A-COM Technology Solutions was sold the day before the show from Cobham Defense to John Ocampo’s GaAs Labs group. This should be a good situation to re-establish the commercial products of M/A-COM in the marketplace after several transitions.

FEKO was featuring their comprehensive electromagnetic solutions, FEKO 5. Their solution is used extensively in antenna design in the industry. The structure simulator is based on Method of Moments (MoM) solution technique and supports many special features that are not typically available in other solutions on the market today.

Trilithic was showing their recently announced high performance AWS diplexer for applications that require a high level of Tx-Rx isolation. It features a 45 dB minimum Tx-Rx isolation, low insertion loss, 3 W CW power handling, and a maximum VSWR of 1.5.

Rogers Corp. was displaying their Theta circuit materials at two shows in Vegas, CTIA and IPC. Theta circuit materials are halogen free, low dielectric constant, high heat resistance multilayer materials suitable for high frequency signals and high layer count boards.

Equipment Management Technology was displaying their services for renting, leasing, selling and calibrating equipment. They are an accredited calibration laboratory ANSI/ISO/IEC 17025:2005 to 50 GHz.

Rohde and Schwarz had a number of new releases, many of them for LTE options and upgrades. They were showing their new LTE option that turns the R&S TSMW universal radio network analyzer into the only scanner that can perform parallel measurements in a frequency range from 30 MHz to 6 GHz for up to six technologies: W-CDMA, GSM, CDMA2000, 1xEVDO, WiMAX and LTE. Another new item was the R&S CMW500, which is an all-in-one solution on the market for every phase of development and production. The tester opens the door to measurements in production by supporting all relevant cellular and non-cellular standards and by achieving alignment times up to ten times faster than with conventional solutions.

Peregrine Semiconductor released three new UltraCMOS(TM) Digital Step Attenuators (DSA) in the expansion of its popular 50 Ohm DSA line. Building on their high-performance predecessors, along with flexible serial and parallel interface logic these new HaRP(TM)- enhanced devices also offer highly flexible attenuation options by covering a 31.5 dB attenuation range in 0.5 dB or 1.0 dB steps.

Reactel was featuring a PCS/cellular diplexer used to combine and/or separate PCS and cellular signals. It has a good balance between low cost and high reliability by combining a cost effective design with absolute minimum of solder joints. Low band typical insertion loss is 0.1 dB, high band insertion loss is 0.2 dB with VSWR of 1.25 and greater than 40 dB isolation.

Huber+Suhner was showing off their 60 GHz wireless Ethernet bridge that can securely transfer data 100 mbps full duplex. The system can transmit from 600 to 1200 m depending on the configuration that can be used with a higher gain antenna. It is the smallest microwave backhaul unit and has low latency.

Spinner was displaying their corrugated jumper cable line that provides a good combination of low VSWR and long term intermodulation performance even under severe environmental conditions.

Talley Communications had its custom RF cable assemblies on display. The company can manufacture custom assemblies quickly and provide cables to a large number of manufacturers.

RFS (Radio Frequency Systems) has developed a range of breakthrough technologies that will help to meet the 700 MHz wireless needs of carriers in a timely and highly cost-effective manner. These include a range of diplexers to share feeders, next generation multi-band/polarity antennas, and a family of high performance tower mounted amplifiers with advanced filtering to reduce interference levels.

HXI had its Gigalink HD-Link on display that is an unlicensed wireless system to transport uncompressed production HD/SDI video. It can transport up to two independent, uncompressed SMPTE 292M production video streams at the same time.

Test and Measurement:
National Test Equipment was in the RF/Microwave Pavilion and they repair and refurbish along with providing rentals and leasing of equipment. Many organizations are saving money by having repairs done instead of buying new systems.

Agilent had a very comprehensive display of test and measurement setups and took us on a tour around the booth. Agilent had comprehensive solutions for A-GPS test, drive tests (LTE, WiMAX, VoIP), BTS emulator/test kit and a complete setup for testing device network activities. The device testing setup can test the user experience and network activities to evaluate how the device performs under various user profiles. They also showed off the Anite partnership with a demo. The Anite product provides flexible testing and coding for R&D, conformance and interoperability. They have solutions for protocol layer, PHY layer and network level testing for all applications.

Anritsu had many of its measurement systems on display including their USB power sensor with true RMS over 63 dB dynamic range with an operating range from 50 MHz to 6 GHz. It is light weight and eliminates the need for a reference calibrator saving time. It has high damage power levels and ESD protection providing ruggedness and reliability.

Spirent Communications announced that ETS-Lindgren’s EMQuest™ Antenna Measurement Software now supports Spirent’s UMTS Location Test System (ULTS). This new capability will enable wireless device manufacturers to quickly and easily add Spirent’s market-leading A-GPS instrumentation to ETS-Lindgren’s over the air (OTA) wireless test solutions, streamlining efforts to meet emerging standards for wireless device A-GPS performance. They also introduced Virtual Drive Test and Fading Lab functionality on Spirent’s SR5500 Wireless Channel Emulator.

ETS-Lindgren announced an integrated solution that lets wireless device manufacturers test their products for compliance with the CTIA’s new requirement for over the air performance testing of Assisted-GPS (A-GPS) enabled mobile devices. The system supports equipment from Spirent and Agilent among others.

Aeroflex was displaying their new LTE products at the show including new features to its 7100 Digital Radio Test Set for LTE mobile device test. The new features relate to LTE/CDMA2000 inter-working, LTE/UTRAN & GERAN handover, TD-LTE mode and LTE mobile device conformance test.

Boonton was showing off its portable passive intermodulation test set (PIM 20) and Willtek was displaying their ProLock 3G test set for service. The ProLock 2201 is a complete lot cost test system including phone enclosure, test system and software.

Sage Instruments announced their most advanced and versatile portable test instrument for base station deployment and troubleshooting. It combines a spectrum analyzer, antenna test and fully integrated backhaul test capabilities.

EB (Electrobit) featured its complete solution for LTE testing on their Propsim F8 system. But I was impressed that their test system is used by NASA for emulating space links with up to seconds of delay time and can emulate high Doppler shifts from aircraft moving at fast speeds.

Berkeley Varitronics has a wide variety of products and was featuring their Gazelle modular receiver unit with built in distance based averaging (40 Lambda). It supports up to 4 receiver modules, is optimized for drive studies and utilizes fast scanning receivers.

Microwave Backhaul:
DragonWave recently announced that the South Georgia Regional Information Technology Authority (SGRITA) has deployed DragonWave’s Horizon Compact radios in a state-of-the-art broadband network throughout Baker, Calhoun, Early, Miller and Mitchell counties in South Georgia. They continue to grow very quickly.

Ceragon was featuring their FibeAir IP-10 family that has a unique, modular nodal solution to enable carriers to cost-effectively scale their backhaul networks. Multiple FibeAir IP-10 indoor units (IDU) can be combined in a modular way to form highly integrated and fully redundant nodal configurations with an extended number of supported radios, TDM and Ethernet interfaces. Combining advanced TDM and Ethernet networking, FibeAir IP-10 facilitates cost effective, risk-free migration to IP and can be integrated in any TDM, hybrid or pure IP/Ethernet network.

Nextlink continues to be improving its core products and services in the areas of cellular wireless backhaul, cost-competitive high capacity wireless extensions to fiber providers, and wireless back-up links for disaster recovery for enterprise and government. They offer 10, 100, and GbE (up to 800 Mbps) as well as DS-3 and OC-3 solutions. A new service they are offering carriers is a less expensive wireless replacement for type2 wireline circuits - DS3 and up.

Exalt Communications demonstrated its new EX-i Series GigE radio system that aggregates capacity from licensed 6 GHz and carrier-class license-exempt 5 GHz radios over a single long haul link. By directly aggregating traffic from the primary 6 GHz radio and up to three Exalt EX-5r GigE systems over a single pair of antennas and waveguides, the radios support up to 1 gigabit per second (Gbps) of Ethernet capacity. It is a very impressive setup and the user can easily control the system settings with the GUI interface.

Harris Stratex announced that it will be separating from Harris. They were featuring many products including their new generation of all-indoor radio unit for the Eclipse Packet Node transport solution. It is software configurable to support all IP, all TDM or a hybrid combination of both transports so it is very flexible. They have a wide variety of solutions and will be advising strategies for using the federal stimulus funding for rural backhaul systems.

Asian Presence:
There were pavilions from many countries at CTIA and I spent some time at the Chinese and Korean areas, which each had several microwave companies exhibiting. Innertron was focusing on their filters (DC to 18 GHz) and front end modules for integration of duplexers, LNAs and power monitors. They had products available for a wide variety of applications.

RF Morecom had a wide variety of passive and active components and modules on display including their GSM digital repeater that is an indoor wireless variable repeater. It amplifies and transmits the same signal received from the BTS and its DSP cancels the feedback signal.

Wevercomm designs and manufactures passive and active components such as filters, dividers, couplers, isolators/circulators, antennas and integrated units. They showed off their triple/quad band tower mount amplifiers and front end units.

Admotech was showing off their front end unit for WiMAX that includes band-pass filter and switching LNA module. It has 80 dB typical isolation and 1.0 dB typical insertion loss, fast switching time (0.5 micro sec) and overpower protection.

Admotech has a broad line of components including circulators, isolators, filters, modules and duplexers. They also make RF sub-systems including filter banks, switching LNAs and various front end units.

RTx Technology is another component provider with filters, duplexers, circulators/isolators, couplers, repeaters, VCOs, PLL synthesizers, combiners/dividers and SAW devices to name a few.

Xiangyu Communication produces many components such as isolators/circulators, filters, combiners, duplexers, attenuators, couplers, connectors and waveguides. They were featuring multi-band combiners and other components in their booth.