Gary Lerude, MWJ Technical Editor
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Gary Lerude

Gary Lerude is the Technical Editor of Microwave Journal. Previously, he spent his career as a “midwife” aiding the growth of the compound semiconductor industry, from device to application, from defense to commercial. He spent 19 years at Texas Instruments, 11 years at MACOM and six years with TriQuint. Gary holds a bachelor’s in EE, a master’s in systems engineering and an engineers degree (ABD) in EE.

Weekly Report

For the week ending March 10, 2017

March 12, 2017

The SATELLITE 2017 conference was held in Washington last week, which generated a few of the week’s announcements.

Companies and Products

Analog Devices (ADI) completed the acquisition of Linear Technology and will now begin integration. When the deal was announced, the combined company’s revenue was estimated to be $5 billion per year, compared to ADI’s $3.5 billion, with Linear projected to add three to four points to ADI’s gross and operating margins.

At the satellite conference, AtlanTecRF introduced a loop test translator with noise injection for testing ground terminals without using a satellite. Also, the company released a similar simulator for satellite news-gathering systems.

Custom MMIC announced its commitment to the space market. More than 70 of its commercial off-the-shelf GaAs MMICs can be space qualified.

Empower RF introduced a scalable L-Band power amplifier. The baseline power of 2 kW can be increased to 4 or 8 kW by adding 3U PA blocks.

Eutelsat and ViaSat completed forming their previously announced joint venture, established to expand wholesale and consumer broadband services in Europe and the Mediterranean.

Satellite operator Intelsat and startup OneWeb announced plans to merge, combining Intelsat’s geostationary fleet of satellites with the LEO constellation proposed by OneWeb. Softbank is joining the party and will invest $1.7 billion to own 39.9 percent of the new entity. The proposed deal requires approval by Intelsat’s debt holders — actually, those holding a minimum of 85 percent of Intelsat’s roughly $15 billion in debt. The financial structure of the merger is as confusing as a first introduction to Maxwell’s equations. If you’re truly interested, The Motley Fool makes it understandable.

Peregrine Semiconductor released high performance SP6T, SP8T and SP12T switches optimized for wireless infrastructure. The PE42462, PE42482 and PE42412 absorptive switches cover 10 MHz to 8 GHz and have 60 dBm input IP3, 33 dBm CW power handling and under 250 ns switching time. Insertion loss at 6 GHz is 1.1 dB for the SP6T and SP8T switches and 1.3 dB for the SP12T switch.

A current customer tapped mobile filter startup Resonant to design TDD and FDD filters and a quadplexer, all for the Chinese market.

RFHIC is acquiring GaN on diamond technology from Element Six. RFHIC says the technology will be used for radar, tactical radios, microwave heating, satellite communications, power supplies and wireless infrastructure (4G and 5G). The company plans to release first products by the end of 2018. GaN on diamond power density is expected to be >3x the W/mm of GaN on SiC.

Smiths Interconnect announced it is “unifying” its technology brands to create “a more agile structure that can better anticipate and respond to customers’ evolving needs.” The individual brands of EMC Technology, Hypertac, IDI, Lorch, Millitech, RF Labs, Sabritec, TECOM and TRAK will have the single brand identity of Smiths Interconnect.

ZTE agreed to plead guilty to the charge of violating U.S. export laws by integrating U.S. components into ZTE equipment supplied to Iran and North Korea. ZTE will pay a fine of approximately $900 million. An additional $300 million fine and seven-year prohibition from buying U.S. components were suspended, although they may be reinstated if ZTE does not comply with U.S. export regulations.

Markets and Technology

Cellular and 5G — The NGMN (Next Generation Mobile Networks) Alliance published a white paper to help the wireless infrastructure industry migrate from the 7-16 DIN to the 4.3-10 connector. The 4.3-10 connector is smaller and has better PIM performance than the 7-16 DIN.

The latest draft of the International Telecommunication Union’s IMT-2020 technical requirements for 5G is available for review. The draft was released on February 23, with final passage expected in November.

Not surprisingly, Intel’s takeaways from Mobile World Congress were all about 5G. Asha Keddy, a vice president in the mobile and communications group and GM of the company’’s standards and advanced technology team, articulates five of them on the Technology@Intel blog.

At MWC, talked with Verizon and Samsung about Verizon's planned pre-5G, 28 GHz fixed wireless service. According to the report, Verizon is conducting field trials in Euless, Texas, using a combined antenna and transceiver, about the size of a paperback, that is mounted to a window — presumably with line-of-sight to the 28 GHz base station. The transceiver converts the 28 GHz signal to Wi-Fi (802.11ac), which is rebroadcast to a router inside the house.

Space — Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon and Blue Origin, kicked off the Tuesday morning session at SATELLITE 2017. He discussed the New Glenn rocket and introduced Eutelsat as the first launch customer. Within a day, Bezos announced an agreement with OneWeb for an initial five launches.

Technology and Society — 9-9-6 is the norm for many Chinese tech companies: work from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. six days a week. Not too different from the work culture at many U.S. tech firms, wouldn’t you say? Interesting article by The Wall Street Journal.

In China, beggars are now using QR codes to solicit money, since few of us carry cash. This is another outward sign of the power of mobile technology. Just as interesting is the largely unseen war for user data. Leslie Shannon (@lshannon45) of Nokia Networks tells this interesting story.

Last Word — This industry that feeds our bodies and souls is the fifth embodiment of Maxwell's equations, aided by integration. Vaclav Smil traces the steps.

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