The European Conference on Wireless Technology is not only Europe’s premier conference on Wireless Technology, it is also a growing international event, demonstrated by the fact that it received a record number of papers from over 50 countries with a significant proportion of contributors from North America and the Asia Pacific region.

As the name suggests, the conference is primarily focussed on wireless technology, which was once synonymous with mobile phone systems but has developed much more widely in recent years. Advances in technology for the phone industry are the enabling force behind many innovations in communications using microwave and mm-wave signals. The evolution from 2G to 3G with the associated shift from voice to data signals has also enabled many more general applications as well as incorporating computer and Internet communications principles. Consequently, this year’s conference has grown to accommodate these new concepts.

As well as established ECWT topics like antennas and integrated modules, the conference incorporates growing areas such as UWB, WiMAX and HSDPA through to fledgling topics like Cognitive Radio and Ad Hoc Networks. This, in conjunction with joint topics in the European Microwave Conference and parallel sessions with the new EuMIC conference, offers delegates an intensive update on all the new developments in this industry. They can also discover the latest thinking and ideas for the future by visiting the ECWT poster session that will be located in the European Microwave Exhibition Hall on Wednesday 13 September.


Dr. Richard Ranson’s industry overview

Submissions to the ECWT technical programme closely mirror industrial and academic research and development efforts in wireless technology and while previously it has been synonymous with mobile phone technology, this year sees significant diversification where advances in high frequency electronics are now being applied to other distinct wireless communications applications and services. The whole range of wireless communications is in the spotlight, from the antenna, through microwave or mm-wave circuits for both transmitters and receivers to demodulation and coding.

To highlight specific areas where there is particular activity, there is intensive interest in the areas of filters and antennas, where the challenge is to achieve smaller size, without compromising performance. Of the several promising avenues of interest, those involving new materials and novel structures to achieve the required size/performance are exciting. There is also a clear focus on integration, where removing various interfaces and connections achieves the dual goals of minimising cost and maximising the use of whatever space is available.

Another broad topic that continues to attract significant work is power amplifiers and linearization techniques. Novel and interesting device and circuit ideas are being developed to meet the challenges of power, linearity and efficiency applicable to all areas of wireless communications. Also, the latest developments in UWB, WiFi, WiMAX (802.16d/e), MIMO and 3G HSDPA/HSUPA are promising to deliver the broadband connectivity required to truly realise the multimedia dream at home and ‘on the go’. Other growing areas of interest include location technologies (e.g., GPS), UWB, telemetry, telematics and cognitive radio.

2006 is projected to be the year for mobile TV and video with big announcements recently from the major handset vendors and operators planning trials and commercial roll-outs based upon DVB-H, DAB/DMB, MediaFlo and MBMS technologies. These trials have been ongoing around Europe and a good deal of useful technical and commercial data is starting to appear.

ECWT demonstrates that there is clearly continued progress in established topics where the primary emphasis is on mobile phone systems. Fuelled by that technology base and the resulting low cost of components from that industry, there are a growing number of new ideas and applications coming to the fore.