For many in this industry, the calendar year is defined by a series of global trade shows. Product development and marketing schedules are often driven by the timing of a handful of events at which customers will gather to peruse the offerings of competing vendors in search of that solution that best fits their needs. There are events for component and test instrument manufacturers targeting specific end-markets (mobile and military communications, SATCOM, UAVs, etc.) and there are events designed to support the component and test instrument manufacturers themselves. January and February start off each year with examples of both, namely DesignCon and Mobile World Congress (MWC).

DesignCon takes place in Santa Clara in the heart of Silicon Valley and focuses on solutions for high-speed digital designers grappling with signal and power integrity challenges at the IC and PCB levels. Like the International Microwave Symposium (IMS) or European Microwave Week (EuMW), DesignCon is focused on the technology and techniques behind electronic component design, albeit high-speed digital rather than RF/microwave centric. The DesignCon technical program is also differentiated by its industry focus as opposed to the more research-driven society events. The result is a conference with an educational and professional development emphasis that is well-aligned with the goals of exhibiting component, test instrument and software vendors highlighting their latest solutions for the engineering challenges of today.

Hopping over to Barcelona, Spain later this month, MWC is the world’s largest event to focus on the vast eco-system supporting mobile communications including handheld devices, tablets, infrastructure and related communication ICs and test solutions. MWC is a massive event that draws global business leaders and technologists together in order to exchange the information that will ultimately guide multi-billion dollar decisions. RF integrated device and test instrument manufacturers will be among the RF/microwave companies presenting solutions to increase network capacity through the development and support of technologies such as voice over LTE (VoLTE), carrier aggregation, enhanced intercell interference coordination (eICIC), enhanced downlink MIMO, small cell and HetNet.

These two events are well timed to kick off the calendar year of trade shows as one sets the stage for discovering the latest in design tools and the other defines the next set of challenges for design engineers and system integrators.

The next stop in the global tour of technology is EDI CON 2014, which takes place April 8-10 in Beijing. The EDI CON technical program, which was announced at the end of January, features much of the technology that was unveiled in Santa Clara and Barcelona, this time debuting in China. For instance, the recent developments in evolutionary RF front end semiconductor technology, unveiled by integrated device manufacturers such as Peregrine Semiconductor at MWC will premier in front of a Chinese audience at EDI CON. Likewise, many advances in design tools (test equipment and software simulation) will be highlighted in the EDI CON technical program that was expanded to accommodate a strong showing of papers focused on RF/microwave, high speed digital, EMC/EMI and system-level design.  

This year’s crop of papers is a timely representation of the state of the industry in terms of systems being developed and the advances in technology that will support these systems. Radar, LTE-A, navigation satellite, 802.11 and MIMO were among the recurring system topics submitted mostly by industry, while GaN, CMOS, SOI and SIW were among the popular semiconductor technologies submitted for consideration. Overall, we added two specific modeling tracks (one for System-Level and the other for EMC/High-Speed Digital) and an additional twelve hours of presentations to the first day in order to accommodate the increase in paper submissions over 2013. In all, EDI CON will feature 86 technical papers, 30 workshops, 5 special panels, an Agilent education forum and a keynote session with speakers from industry, research institutes and local universities.

2014 marks our third year of publishing Microwave Journal China and the starting point in our effort to build a strong China-based microwave community with the collaboration of local and international companies, various technical societies and academics. As the excitement, uncertainty and energy of this new venture transforms into a steady and familiar business environment, we are pleased that Microwave Journal China and EDI CON have become instrumental in providing Chinese design engineers with access to information that advances their pursuit of microwave-based systems and helps market opportunities for those we collaborate with transition from speculative to real.