Here’s my recap of interesting news and other items from the past week or so that are worth noting:
Companies and Products
Custom MMIC released two GaAs, I/Q mixer MMICs. Covering C- and X-Band, the mixers have high image rejection, low conversion loss and wide IF bandwidth.
Harris awarded Cobham’s Advanced Electronics Solutions business $39 million for RF microelectronics assemblies that will be integrated in an airborne EW system.
Mercury Systems announced an OpenRFM microwave transceiver covering 6 to 18 GHz with 1 GHz of instantaneous bandwidth and direct digitization to 6 GHz. Air and conduction cooled versions are available.
Modelithics released version 17.5 of the COMPLETE Library for ADS. The update adds 40 models, 26 of which are passive components: capacitor, inductor and resistor (CLR) models. The CLR models are compatible with Keysight's built-in convolution and capable of parasitic transient response.
Filter start-up Resonant announced that the firm’s band 41 filter is available for sampling and production through a foundry partner. The design covers the full 2496 to 2690 MHz band with 1.4 dB loss and 39.2 dBm power handling at mid-band.
Rohde & Schwarz introduced the CMW100 communications manufacturing test set for sub-6 GHz 5G new radio (NR) devices. With 160 MHz bandwidth and high measurement speed, the CMW100 is well suited for manufacturing.
SpaceX received NASA approval to use a previously launched Falcon 9 rocket for a supply mission to the International Space Station. The SpaceX business model is based on reusing rockets to drive down launch costs. NASA will approve future launches using “used” rockets case by case. Also, SpaceX raised $100 million in funding to add to the $350 million raised in August. Elon Musk has ambitious plans for a 4,425-satellite constellation and colonizing Mars. Financial firm Equidate estimates SpaceX’s value at some $21.5 billion.
X-Microwave added more than 20 IDT RFICs to the company’s growing catalog of X-Microwave building blocks. The X-MWblocks™ system enables quick prototyping and supports low to moderate volume production. IDT’s products available through X-Microwave include switches, mixers, DSAs, VVAs, VGAs, wideband RF synthesizers and PLLs.
Markets and Technology
Battery Technology — Samsung is developing a lithium-ion battery with graphene silica “balls.” According to Samsung, the balls will increase battery capacity by 45 percent and reduce charging time from an hour to just 12 minutes.
Cellular and 5G — Ericsson released the November 2017 edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report, which can be downloaded here. Ericsson reports mobile subscriptions grew to 7.8 billion in Q3 of 2017, roughly 6 percent above the prior year’s quarter. The company estimates 5G subscriptions will reach 1 billion in 2023.
BT, Nokia and the University of Bristol are planning a 5G demonstration in Bristol 17–18 March next year. The tests are being designed to evaluate 5G use cases — particularly those requiring low latency — in an urban setting.
Verizon will begin deploying “5G” fixed wireless access using the 28 GHz spectrum to residents in three to five markets during 2018, beginning in Sacramento, California.
To use Qualcomm’s 5G NR IP, the company plans to charge a royalty of 2.275 percent of the selling price of the phone for a single mode handset or 3.25 percent for a multi-mode handset. For a multi-mode handset, the maximum royalty will be $16.25.
In case you missed it, as I did, here’s an interesting article from NYU Wireless on an emulator that integrates the multiple transmit and receive antennas in a millimeter wave phased array, such as the ones proposed for 5G.
The webinar “5G: Ready or Not, Here it Comes,” presented by Sarah Yost of National Instruments, can be viewed on demand. Sarah updates the status of 5G, on the eve of 3GPP finalizing the non-standalone spec, and discusses business and technology challenges that may pace adoption.
Broadband — The proposed plan to roll back “net neutrality” has struck a nerve, eliciting more than 200,000 phone calls and some 500,000 comments posted on the FCC's website. On one side of the proposal are AT&T, Comcast and Verizon, on the other are Airbnb, Twitter and the Internet Association. Despite the negative comments, FCC commissioners are expected to approve the proposal on Thursday, 14 December.
Autonomous Vehicles — GM demonstrated their self-driving cars to journalists and financial analysts on the streets of San Francisco last week. GM president Daniel Ammann says the cars will be ready for consumer applications in “quarters, not years.”
Baidu, China's homegrown search engine company, is testing autonomous cars in north Beijing. According to an article in Financial Times, Baidu’s executives say “chaotic traffic” is a serious obstacle to China staying competitive in autonomous driving. Chinese taxis will no doubt cause autonomous vehicles to freeze.
Defense — If your company exports and you’re involved, even peripherally, understanding ITAR regulations could keep you and your company out of trouble. Tom McVey, an attorney with DC law firm Williams Mullen, is offering a free webinar on ITAR regulations this Wednesday, 13 December, at 1:00 p.m. EST. More info and registration here.
China — Despite analysts’ expectations for slowing growth, the official Chinese Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for November was better than expected, reflecting strength in high tech and consumer goods manufacturing. China's economy is projected to be growing at 6.9 percent annually.
Thoughts? Please leave a comment below.