Here's the industry news from the last week that I found interesting and worth passing along:
Companies and Products
Cree, Wolfspeed’s parent company, named Gregg Lowe new CEO, replacing Chuck Swoboda. Lowe’s credentials include CEO of Freescale, prior to NXP's acquisition, 28 years at TI and board member of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
GLOBALFOUNDRIES announced their RF SOI process, 8SW, is running on 300 mm wafers. The node is optimized for sub-6 GHz switches and LNAs, targeting 4G and 5G smartphones.
IMSAR introduced an extended range version of its synthetic aperture radar (SAR). It provides high resolution imaging with low size, weight and power.
Rohde & Schwarz launched a simulator to generate complex test scenarios for global navigation satellite system (GNSS) applications. The R&S SMW200A includes an internal noise generator to create scenarios involving multiple interferers.
Saab announced an order for the Giraffe 1X surface radar, an active phased array (AESA) that uses GaN. Saab did not disclose the customer or size of the award. The Giraffe 1X can be transported on a vehicle the size of a pickup truck.
Silicon Labs introduced a family of clocks for 4.5G and Ethernet-based common public radio interface (eCPRI) wireless applications. The single IC eliminates multiple clocks and VCXOs in a system, reducing footprint by 70 percent and power consumption by 55 percent compared to other options.
ViaSat and Boeing completed the critical design review (CDR) for the Ka-Band, 1 Tbps ViaSat-3 satellite and will proceed with manufacturing the first two of a three satellite GEO constellation. Three satellites are required to provide global coverage.
Markets and Technology
Cellular/5G — China Telecom reported 235 million mobile users at the end of August, with 69 percent or 162 million using LTE.
3GPP put five 5G study items on hold to meet their December deadline to complete a draft of the non-standalone 5G spec. The final version of the non-standalone spec is to be released in March 2018 to enable initial operator deployments in late 2018.
ABI Research identified 15 start-ups that are pursuing the network transformation required by 5G. The companies are profiled in ABI’s report “Radio Access Network and Core Network Innovators.”
Broadband — Under the FCC’s Connect America program, AT&T expanded broadband internet access to underserved regions in nine states, now covering 160,000 locations in 18 states. Broadband internet access is provided via LTE, with download data rates at least 10 Mbps and upload rates at least 1 Mbps.
Verizon is perhaps the most visible company pursuing a millimeter wave fixed wireless access strategy for delivering broadband services, defining a pre-5G standard to support development and initial deployment. Consultant Doug Dawson is skeptical that the business case will support wide deployment outside of urban areas. Read his analysis.
Meanwhile, in China, at the end of June, China Telecom’s fiber to the home (FTTH) users numbered 171 million, up 11 million this year. Enviable.
The United Nations (UN) estimates only 48 percent of the world's population has internet access, which is about 3.6 billion individuals. 62 percent of the people without internet access live in Asia and the Pacific Islands, 18 percent in Africa. Mobile access is more prevalent globally, with 66 percent of the world's population having a mobile subscription. Read the UN report.
Watch this fascinating interview with the head of Project Loon, Alphabet’s project to use high altitude balloons to deliver internet service to those unserved regions of the globe. The team seems to be making significant progress.
While Wi-Fi gives us the highest data rates, using it can be a real pain. Why your Wi-Fi is not "hi-fi", a blog post by Laszlo Gyalog of Nokia.
The next-generation, 60 GHz WiGig market keeps moving to the right, as the technology looks for a compelling use case. Could it be 4K video? 5G backhaul, perhaps? Diana Goovaerts, the U.S. editor of Mobile World Live, shares her thoughts.
Autonomous Driving — Ford and Lyft are partnering, with Lyft planning to use Ford’s self-driving cars for ride services. The timing of the self-driving roll-out was not announced; however, Sherif Marakby, Ford’s vice president for autonomous vehicles and electrification, said Ford intends to ultimately put thousands of self-driving vehicles in use, according to Reuters.
Following similar moves by China, France and the U.K., California is mulling regulations to end the sale of combustion engine cars, The timing remains to be debated; it’s unlikely to happen before 2030.
Technology and Society — At the Bloomberg Global Business Forum, Bill Gates said the digital revolution “is still the fastest moving thing. In terms of equity, it's health that I'm most excited about.”
Elon Musk spoke before the International Astronautical Congress last week, discussing the long-term technical challenges to create a permanent, self-sustaining human presence on Mars. Fascinating.
Thoughts? Leave a comment below.