International Report

Research Cluster Comes Together in Finland

Micronova, the new microelectronics and nanotechnology centre for Finland, has been inaugurated in Espoo. A joint project of the Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT) and the Helsinki University of Technology (HUT) the centre houses three research areas of VTT Information Technology, units of various HUT departments and five client companies providing facilities for a total of approximately 320 people.

This nationally unique and internationally competitive research cluster will focus on microelectronics and nanotechnology research and innovative activities based in the field. It is by far the largest national research centre in the area of microelectronics, solid logic technology and sensor technology. The specially designed clean room facilities that are required in research are the largest and most highly rated in Scandinavia, and among the five largest in Europe.

The rapid development of microelectronics has, for a long time, maintained the growth rate of the electronics industry at double that of industry as a whole. The aim for smaller, faster, cheaper and less energy consuming equipment increases the significance of research in this area. Therefore, a key feature of the centre is that it offers improved connections between basic research and applied industrial research and product development. It functions as a microelectronics business park for companies that require a high quality product development environment, offering the use of Micronova's facilities, research equipment and expertise.

Although a national facility, the centre also has potential on the global market and units located in the centre have a broad international co-operation network.

Anritsu Gets Moving on 3G Mobile Availability

During the Global Certification Forum (GCF) meeting held in London in March, Anritsu Corp. set the pace by becoming the first company to obtain approval for 3GPP RF Test Cases as defined in the 3GPP Terminal Conformance Specification. In addition, the company received GCF approval for an industry leading 13 3GPP Protocol Conformance Test Cases utilizing the TTCN developed by the 3GPP Terminals working group, TSG T1.

"The importance of obtaining GCF approvals on both RF and Protocol test cases is crucial for the 3G industry," stated Paul Hunter, European managing director with Anritsu Ltd. Explaining further to Microwave Journal he commented: "The significance is that for the first time people can clearly see major progress being made towards having conformance platforms ready for 3G mobiles this year, which has been the target the industry has been working towards. Before this latest GCF meeting, there were just a very small number of test cases available and there was concern that the availability of conformance platforms for 3G mobiles would delay the launch of 3G networks.

"However, now it can be seen that the log jam has been breached and the test cases should now start to roll off the assembly line in some volume. We are confident of getting the first package of test cases completed by the May time frame and the full depth of high priority test cases completed by the end of 2003."

Hunter also commented that, on the protocol side, good progress was being made on the official ETSI developed test cases and commented, "It is good news for the industry. We could not afford for 3G to end up as the disaster that the GPRS launch was. It has cost billions of pounds for people to buy licenses and build networks and they need to have consistent, high quality implementation. Customers aren't willing to live with problems with 3G. They are used to GSM, which works reliably and at a high quality and will accept nothing less for 3G."

China Finds Its Range Thanks to Astrium and EurasSpace

Clearly hitting the commercial target, the European space company Astrium and its subsidiary, EurasSpace - Gesellschaft für Raumfahrttechnik mbH (Munich) - has signed a contract with the Chinese Academy of Space Technology (CAST) to deliver the world's largest antenna measuring range to China. The system, worth approximately 12 M, is to start operation by the end of 2005 and will enable measurement of the largest and most demanding antennas of modern telecommunication satellites in a frequency range from 1 to 100 GHz.

In addition to the delivery of the reflector system, the contract also covers the absorbing panelling of the measuring chamber walls, the multi-axis turntable system for the positioning of the test object, as well as the microwave measuring instruments and the respective control software.

The antenna measuring range simulates the geostationary satellites' distance of 36,000 km from Earth in a 30 m long measuring chamber. Two high precision reflector mirrors convert the electromagnetic radiation field of a satellite antenna so that it conforms to the radiation of an antenna from the geostationary orbit. The spectacular feature of this particular range is the unprecedented system size with reflector dimensions of up to 12 m in width and 10 m in height. The reflectors will consist of three to four steel segments each weighing 30 tonnes and be precision-milled with a surface accuracy of less than 35 thousandths of a millimetre over the complete reflector surface.

BAE Systems Keeps British Forces in Touch

For today's military good communication is vital and the reason why BAE Systems C4ISR has completed an urgent requirement from the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) to refurbish communications containers previously used by British Forces in theatres such as the Balkans and Sierra Leone.

The facilities include PABX telephone equipment, communications multiplexers, line-of-sight microwave equipment, aerials and towers. The containers are fitted with climate control, uninterruptible power supplies and shock-mounted equipment racks to accommodate the communications equipment.

Featuring a wide range of commercially sourced communications equipment hosted in standard shipping containers, the installations were originally supplied within the MoD's - Commercialisation of Balkans Communications - project to provide voice and data facilities. This was successfully completed in the late 1990s.

Managing director of the Christchurch-based division, Paul Laity, commented "These container based systems support network enabled capability by providing reliable voice and data communications, featuring links back to the UK, with minimal manning, maintenance and repair requirements."

LGP Telecom and Allgon Merger Creates a Major Player

Giving the two companies the opportunity to enter a different league, LGP Telecom Holding AB and Allgon AB have merged, creating a big hitter in mobile telecom equipment with a strong presence in Europe, North America and Asia. The combined Group will have an annual turnover pro forma of approximately SEK 2.5 B and more than 1400 employees in 13 countries.

The two companies complement each other, in Sweden as well as internationally, with regard to products, client base and geographical coverage. The merger enables the new Group to offer a more complete product range to the new combined client base and obtain a strong position in many product categories, such as base station antennas, repeaters and tower mounted amplifiers. In addition, through a combination of various products, clients can be offered integrated solutions.