Here's a summary of last week's industry news, worth noting.
Companies and Products
Broadcom announced a dual frequency global navigation satellite system (GNSS) receiver that provides centimeter accuracy, even in urban canyons. The launch of new satellites broadcasting the L1/E1 and L5/E5 frequencies — now some 30 circling the globe — enables the use of two frequencies to compute position, yielding much greater accuracy in both urban and open environments.
Ethertronics is sampling a chipset for active beam steering for Wi-Fi. The active steering processor and switch ICs support the 802.11ac and new 802.11ax standards and work with any mix of active and passive antennas, whether mounted on or off the PCB.
GLOBALFOUNDRIES enhanced their RF SOI process design kit (PDK) to use the SiPEX simulation tool from Coupling Wave Solutions.
Google is buying part of HTC's mobile engineering team for $1.1 billion, aiming to strengthen Google's hardware development capability. You may recall that HTC and Google developed the first Android smartphone, the HTC Dream, in September 2008.
IDT is sampling two beamforming ICs — covering 25 to 31 and 37 to 41 GHz — for millimeter wave fixed wireless access and 5G systems. IDT's products have traditionally focused on wireless and cable infrastructure systems operating below 6 GHz. No longer.
Keysight released the 2017 update to SystemVue, adding phased array analysis and a 5G design and verification process. SystemVue 2017 includes a new automotive radar library with unique pedestrian channel models, an enhanced LTE-Advanced baseband verification library for NB-IoT product designs and 802.11ax enhancements to the WLAN baseband verification library.
MaxLinear made two interesting product announcements:
a system to wirelessly transfer Gbps signals through building walls, which avoids drilling holes and running cables. MaxLinear says it is well-suited for fixed wireless access systems at 28 GHz or 39 GHz.
Echo cancellation to enable full duplex operation with DOCSIS 3.1, which will increase the data rates achievable with hybrid fiber-coax (HFC) — perhaps to 10 Gbps. Might HFC compete with fiber to the home (FTTH)?
Northrop Grumman is buying Orbital ATK for $7.8 billion, adding rocket propulsion, composites and munitions capabilities to their portfolio. Orbital ATK competes with Space X and United Launch Alliance for rocket launches.
Skyworks announced their SkyOne transmit and diversity receive modules are extending cellular connectivity to M2M applications. The SkyOne® Ultra 2.5 covers over 20 LTE frequency bands and includes power amplification, duplex filtering and antenna switching. Skyworks’ diversity receive modules improve receiver sensitivity and cell edge performance and address all major downlink carrier aggregation combinations.
Verizon named Rima Qureshi chief strategy officer. Previously, she served as the president and CEO of Ericsson North America and, before that, as chief strategy officer and head of M&A for Ericsson. Small world, as Verizon hired Ericsson's former CEO, Hans Vestberg, to run Verizon's network and technology segment.
At the recent Mobile World Congress Americas, Lixin Cheng, CEO of ZTE, addressed the gathering, speaking about ZTE's growth and the parallels between the mobile and broadband markets in China and the U.S. It was an opportunity to strengthen ZTE's image in the U.S. following the company's export stumbles.
Markets and Technology
Cellular/5G — Qualcomm and T-Mobile are seeking licenses to use the 3.5 GHz Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) band; however, each is advocating different long-term uses: Google would like to see shared and flexible wireless broadband, while T-Mobile wants to dedicate the band for 5G.
Nikhil Kundargi, of National Instruments, wrote an informative resource guide on the status of the 5G standards. Download here
Competition is forcing mobile operators to offer consumers more data, while monthly prices are declining. Is that a viable business model for a capital intensive industry? Will 5G offer an out, enabling new services and sources of revenue? Mobile World Live offers a view.
IoT — Start-up Jeeva Wireless is pairing chirp spread spectrum (CSS) with the LoRa IoT standard to achieve km-range backscatter transmission for IoT applications. Jeeva plans to sell a commercial system comprising a transmitter, receiver and backscatter devices.
Autonomous Driving — Intel's CEO penned his thoughts on the promise of autonomous driving: “Nearly 1.3 million people die in road crashes worldwide every year — an average 3,287 deaths a day. Nearly 90 percent of those collisions are caused by human error.”
China — Financial services company Standard & Poor's (S&P) reduced China’s credit rating from AA- to A+, reflecting S&P's perception of increasing risk from China's debt to GDP ratio growing to more than 250 percent: “China’s prolonged period of strong credit growth has increased its economic and financial risks. Although this credit growth had contributed to strong real gross domestic product growth and higher asset prices, we believe it has also diminished financial stability to some extent.”
Final Thought — As the rhetoric between the leaders of North Korea and the U.S. continues to escalate, here's a depressing assessment of our ability to shoot down ballistic missiles, by Joe Cirincione, president of Ploughshares Fund: No, We Cannot Shoot Down North Korea’s Missiles.
Thoughts? Please leave a comment below.