- Buyers Guide
Pat Hindle, MWJ Technical Editor
Join industry and research leaders from around the world to discuss the future of RF and wireless design and test at NIWeek Aug 4-7 in Austin, TX. Topics include wireless technologies, 5G communications technologies, advanced testing techniques, trends in microwave design, RF characterization, high volume test, and wireless communications design.
In the first half of the year, MACOM has acquired Nitronex, Avago has acquired LSI, RFMD and TriQuint are merging, Cobham is acquiring Aeroflex, and most recently announced, Analog Devices is acquiring Hittite. My head is spinning with all of this consolidation, not to mention several other smaller acquisitions that happened during this period. What is going on in the RF industry? An industry that has been mostly made up of smaller to medium sized companies seems to be going large with all of these organizations turning into multi-billion dollar companies.
As IMS 2014 in Tampa wraps up, the powering the waves theme was very present starting with the kickoff reception party on Monday featuring a water skiing show staring general chair Larry Dunleavy. Larry and his team did an excellent job of running the event and the Tampa Convention center is a nice venue with close proximity to the session rooms and exhibition (not to mention it is right on the water with a great view).
The AUVSI unmanned systems show seems to grow each year and reached about 6500 attendees and 600 exhibitors this year in Orlando, FL. While the show has traditionally been dominated by military unmanned vehicles, this year marked a significant growth in companies and organizations offering unmanned vehicles for civilian use. With the wind down of US operations in the Middle East, the demand for unmanned military vehicles has been greatly reduced. The US currently does not allow for commercial use of UAS but the FAA plans to develop guidelines in 2015 or 2016. The FAA is choosing 6 test sites that will evaluate technologies to determine the best use cases and rules that need to be implemented. Most of the growth in UAS is expected to come from civilian applications such as public safety, agriculture, search & rescue and wildlife management.
What is 5G? – that is what the Brooklyn 5G Summit is trying to answer by bringing together many of the leading companies and researchers in the wireless communications industry to share their latest research results and thoughts on the subject. From the semiconductor level (like Intel, Qualcomm and UC San Diego) to channel modeling (like NYU WIRELESS, University of Bristol, Nokia and Ericsson) to network providers (like China Mobile and AT&T), the whole mobile communications ecosystem was covered at this first time event.
As Mobile World Congress starts this week, one of the biggest trends taking place on the mobile handset side is the release of 4G CMOS PAs that integrate other functions such as envelope tracking and antenna tuning. While CMOS PAs have been around for a while, most have struggled to meet 4G performance requirements but these new products promise to reduce the costs, reduce RF footprint and improve efficiency even in the highest end phones.
Metamaterial-based technologies have a come a long way in the past few years and have realized many practical applications. One company leading the charge for the last 20 years is Fractal Antenna Systems of Waltham, MA. I had the pleasure of visiting Fractal Antenna right before the holidays and was able to learn about the technology and video a couple of demonstrations.