Harlan Howe Jr.
Microwave Journal staff

The 2000 Wireless Workshop was held October 22 to 25 in Sedona, AZ. This was the 12th annual workshop, an event that has evolved into a technical forum and interactive discussion group for design and manufacturing engineers engaged in the creation of planar circuits for wireless applications. 70 people participated in this year's workshop, which focused on the technical and manufacturing problems associated with the dramatic increase in speed and bandwidth requirements for wireless communications and computer systems.

The workshop is co-sponsored by Rogers Corp. and Merix Corp. Once again the local arrangements, organization and coordination were done by Sharon Aspden of Rogers, who did a superb job as general chairman. The 2000 program chairman was David Light, Director of Research and Development at Tessera Inc. The steering committee consisted of Ed Francoski of IBM, Chris McKleroy of Endgate, Jim Clemans of Lucent Technologies, Olaf Nurmepuu of Motorola and Donn Harvey of Metawave. Together they created an outstanding program of papers and a great panel discussion. The workshop began with a reception Sunday evening, somewhat belatedly, however, due to very unusual weather that caused delays at the Phoenix airport.

The meeting started with two keynote addresses. The first, given by Doug Lockie of Endwave, was "The Growth of the LMDS/Point to Multipoint Market & Integrations with Fiberoptic Applications." Doug presented some remarkable new ideas which provoked a lot of discussion. The second keynote address was "High Speed Interconnect Challenges" by Billy Garrett of Rambus, who described some highly innovative backplane interconnect work being done at Rambus. Following the keynote addresses, Eric Bogatin of Bogatin Enterprises presented a tutorial paper called "Differential Impedance Finally Made Simple." This and another tutorial, "Solving Digital Capacity Constraints with Frequency: Why Designers are Increasingly Impacted by Microwave Effects in the Search for Bandwidth (With a Case Study Using HDTV)" by Dale Reed of Trompeter Electronics, which was presented the next day, were both very well received and provided some much needed basics. Additional papers on Monday morning were "Via Transitions in Wireless Packages" by Paul Garland of Kyocera America and "Electrical, Thermal & Reliability Performance of IBM's HyperBGA" by Kim Blackwell of IBM. The Monday afternoon session included four papers: "High Performance, High Reliability Wafer Level Packaging" by David Light of Tessera; "The Hidden Cost of Drilling RF/Wireless Printed Wiring Boards" by Mike McMaster of Merix; "Smart Antenna for Broadband Wireless Access" by Donn Harvey of Metawave; and "Milling Prototype Circuits for Wireless RF and Microwave Applications" by Wes Gifford of RF Design magazine.

The Tuesday morning session started with a Dale Reed tutorial followed by four more papers. Lori Avishan of Merix presented "Lasering Cavities in PCBs Using High Performance Dielectric Materials," "Asynchronous Gigabit Signaling for Digital Communications" was delivered by Jeff Cain of Cisco Systems and Joe Turek of Poly Circuits spoke on "A Method for Producing High Reliability Plated Through Holes in Multilayer PCBs Utilizing Ceramic Loaded PTFE Laminates." The session ended with a paper by chairman David Light entitled "Compliant, Chip Scale Stacked Die Packaging Technology." Following some early afternoon free time, the group reconvened for a lively panel discussion patterned after the TV show "Survivor." The group was divided into eight "tribes," with a different panelist representing each one. One panelist was voted off the panel after each round of questions. The voting was based on anything except technical excellence and resulted in a very interactive and truly entertaining session, notwithstanding the serious nature of the topics discussed. The panel discussion was followed by an awards banquet that included a hilarious video tape of the behind-the-scenes voting of the panel proceedings.

The sessions concluded Wednesday morning with a paper by Daniel Amy of Dupont entitled "High Frequency and Thermal Characteristics of Low Loss Materials." This was followed by "NCMS Embedded Decoupling Capacitance Program" by Doug Trobough of Merix, "Thermal and Thermo-mechanical Issues in Power Amplifier and Array Packages" by Mark Eblean of Kyocera-America and "Routing of Radio Channels in or on Printed Circuit Boards" by Eric Montgomery of Litton Interconnects. The final paper was "Implementation of High Frequency Multilayer Laminates in PWB Fabrication" by Markku Jamsa of Aspocomp Group Oyj.

As always, the meeting was very worthwhile for the attendees, who were able to gain insight and discussion time with their peers, which can only be achieved in a small workshop environment. Although the workshop proceedings are not generally available to individuals who did not attend, copies of an individual paper of interest may be obtained by request from Sharon Aspden, Rogers Corp., Microwave Materials Division, 100 S. Roosevelt Ave., Chandler, AZ 85226 (480) 961-8206. Persons interested in participating in future workshops should also contact Sharon. *