EDI CON China 2016 takes the Gold
Fourth year sets records for attendance and exhibitors
EDI CON China 2016 set new records for attendance and sponsorship, with more than 3,100 unique attendees — including 1,855 delegates. The three day conference and exhibition took place April 19-21 in Beijing at the China National Convention Center (CNCC), located in the Olympic Village. Attendance grew by 35 percent, and the exhibition grew by 32 percent, making it the largest RF/microwave, EMC/EMI and high-speed digital design event in China.
Key new additions to the event this year included the co-location of the China Electrotechnical Society’s EMC China 2016 conference and the China Radar Industry Association conference, in partnership with the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) commercial sub-council. EMC China was held the first two days, with four parallel conference tracks, and the China Radar Conference was held the second and third days.
EDI CON China had five parallel tracks covering a broad array of high frequency and high speed design topics. EDI CON added a new track on RF silicon on insulator (SOI) technology, keynoted by GLOBALFOUNDRIES, and a 5G demonstration area on the exhibition floor. The 5G Forum was well attended again this year, keynoted by China Mobile and an industry panel featuring experts from Keysight, Rohde & Schwarz, National Instruments and Analog Devices.
The exhibition exceeded 100 companies and took up more than 1,500 square meters of floor space, including additions of EMC companies and organizations affiliated with the Chinese government under the CETC group, as part of the radar section. The exhibition had a good representation from the test and measurement industry. with companies such as Keysight, Rohde & Schwarz, National Instruments, Focus, Maury, Virginia Diodes, Pico, CETC41 and Copper Mountain. The semiconductor industry was well represented, with NXP, Peregrine, Ampleon, MACOM, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, TowerJazz, WIN Semiconductors, ERA/Ommic and Xiamen San'an ICs. Software/EDA firms exhibiting included Keysight, NI/AWR, Ansys, Comsol and CST. EMC leaders exhibiting were AR/Corad, MVG and Sanki.
Here's a summary of some of what we saw touring the exhibition. We've also posted videos by many of the exhibiting companies.
Test and Measurement
Keysight, the host sponsor, highlighted many products, including their 5G channel sounding reference solution, a combination of hardware, software and measurement expertise that provide the components needed to accelerate 5G sounding research. The reference solution enables researchers and design engineers to use, enhance or modify the test platform to meet specific application needs and includes features such as scalable channel count, the flexibility to transmit and measure in millimeter wave frequencies, wide transmit and analysis bandwidths and real-time data processing. Earlier this year, Keysight updated their entire line of X-Series signal analyzers with significantly enhanced capabilities for next-generation devices. Most notable is the multi-touch user interface that streamlines measurement setup and creates a solid foundation for new solutions. The flagship UXA offers frequency coverage to 50 GHz and integrated 1 GHz analysis bandwidth. At 1 GHz, the PXA offers benchmark phase noise performance of -136 dBc/Hz at 10 kHz offset, real-time bandwidth of 510 MHz and spurious-free dynamic range greater than 75 dBc over the full span.
Keysight recently announced two EM software solutions designed to help signal integrity (SI) and power integrity (PI) engineers improve high speed link performance in printed circuit board (PCB) designs. The solutions — SIPro and PIPro — will be available in the newest release of EEsof Advanced Design System (ADS) software. SIPro uses a new composite EM technology that delivers high-frequency accuracy, together with the speed and capacity required for densely routed PCB designs. Compared to the "gold standard" finite element method (FEM) simulations, SIPro demonstrates very good agreement at a fraction of computation time and memory consumption, even above 20 GHz. The PIPro solution is a collection of three PI-specific simulation engines for DC IR drop, AC power delivery network (PDN) impedance, and power plane resonances analysis.
Keysight also demonstrated other equipment and capabilities:
- complete solution for mixed signal IC testing through a partnership with Cascade,
- PAM4 demo using the 8196 arbitrary waveform generator (AWG),
- PXI vector network analyzer (VNA) up to to 32 ports, and
- device current waveform analyzer, able to measure down to the pA range and useful for IoT testing.
AR featured their MT06000A MultiStar™ multi-tone tester, which AR says can test RF radiated immunity faster than before. Multiple frequencies are tested simultaneously, reducing test time in proportion to the number of frequencies. The number of frequencies is limited by the signal generator's bandwidth (200 MHz) and the output power of the amplifier. The MT06000A contains all the instruments needed to perform radiated immunity testing to the IEC 61000-4-3 specification except for the amplifiers, antennas and directional couplers. AR demonstrated the system during a workshop at the conference.
Focus Microwaves was featuring integrated nonlinear measurement solutions that can help designers generate compact models from accurate linear pulsed S-parameters. Early last year, Focus added high power pulsed IV testing from Auriga Microwave and behavior modeling tools from Mesuro to their portfolio. The combination of Focus Microwaves with Auriga and Mesuro are providing complete solutions for design engineers. Most systems delivered by Focus are compatible with the widest range of available instrumentation, they offer wide bandwidth, passively and actively tune harmonics (both at the input and output), support wave-based receiver measurements and produce robust behavior models.
Maury Microwave and AMCAD Engineering partnered to provide a complete design flow, including the instrumentation and software to make measurements and extract, validate and refine compact and behavioral models — all within a single intuitive software platform. They offer IVCAD, a single suite which includes modules for
- synchronized pulsed IV and pulsed S-parameter measurements,
- compact transistor model extraction for III-V and MOS technologies,
- passive, active and hybrid-active fundamental and harmonic load-pull for model validation, refinement and design,
- multiple behavioral model extraction techniques, and
- stability analysis of microwave circuits.
IVCAD has advanced visualization and data analysis, full scripting and automation capabilities.
Maury has also expanded into precision lab equipment, with cables, connectors, couplers and multiplexers, providing key measurement accessories from a single source.
For the first time in China, Microwave Vision Group (MVG) showcased, its star product StarLab, which the company says is the "ultimate tool" for antenna pattern measurements in laboratories and production environments where space is limited, cost is critical and the flexibility of a portable system is required. StarLab uses an active switching unit to switch between near field passive and over-the-air (OTA) measurement instrumentation. For near field passive measurement, a vector network analyzer is used as the RF source and receiver. The control unit drives the two positioning monitors and the electronic scanning of the probe arrays. For OTA measurements, the tests are performed through the radio communication tester.
Mini-Circuits exhibited their full portfolio of products and, in collaboration with their distribution partner Mitron, featured a new line of test solutions. Combining hardware and software into a turn-key solution speeds development time, as customers only have to focus on product development — not test systems. These solutions are based on a building block approach, which allows many custom configurations to be delivered within two weeks. Systems can be configured as combinations of amplifiers, signal generators and signal routing and distribution. Applications include 3G and 4G base stations, satellite communications and RF burn-in systems.
National Instruments (NI) announced the first software defined radio for the millimeter wave spectrum. The new NI millimeter wave transceiver system is a full transceiver that can transmit and receive wide bandwidth signals with an unprecedented 2 GHz real-time bandwidth, covering the E-band spectrum from 71 to 76 GHz. The millimeter wave transceiver system includes new PXI Express modules that collectively function as a millimeter wave access point for a user device. Because of the flexibility, with the same system, users can prototype millimeter wave communication systems or perform channel measurements — necessary for wireless researchers to understand the characteristics of a new spectrum. NI also demonstrated LTE/802.11 co-existence and 5G massive MIMO.
Pickering Interfaces highlighted high performance switching modules with low insertion loss and high isolation. The company’s PXI microwave switch modules range from simple multiplexer and switch configurations to integrated matrices and large multiplexers. Most products are characterized for 50 Ω operation; however, some 75 Ω versions are supplied, either as standard or custom products. Remote versions occupy a single PXI slot, with the microwave switches mounted separately from the host chassis and connection to the module via a supplied control cable. Pickering offers single, double, triple, SP4T and SP6T configurations with frequency coverage to 65 GHz.
Pico Technology specializes in fast pulse generators with transition times down to 40 ps within its 12 and 20 GHz sampling oscilloscopes. The newly launched PicoSource PG900 USB-controlled pulse generators created particular interest. The products are suited to the characterization of microwave and gigabit devices, lines, networks and systems, for signals up to 10 GHz and 20 Gbps. These compact, high speed, low cost USB devices connect to a PC running Microsoft Windows and can be used in single-ended and differential pulsed measurement applications, such as time domain reflectometry (TDR), radar, semiconductor, gigabit interconnect and port testing. The generators are typically used to drive broad spectral content into a 50 Ω cable, connector, RF semiconductor or other device under test. The reflected or transmitted pulse can then be monitored and displayed by a broadband or sampling oscilloscope.
In a dedicated press conference and on the exhibition floor Rohde & Schwarz launched two new products onto the Chinese market. The R&S ESW EMI test receiver is designed for applications in manufacturers’ EMI labs and test houses. The instrument comes in three versions — frequency ranges from 2 Hz to 8 , 26 or 44 GHz — with an extremely fast FFT-based time domain scan (TD scan), which can be run with two CISPR detectors for parallel measurements. For diagnostics and troubleshooting, the instrument offers additional operating modes: sweep, scan, real-time spectrum analysis and IF analysis, each with a spectrogram function. The R&S ESW offers additional highpass filters, at 150 kHz and 2 MHz, and notch filters for the license free ISM bands around 2.4 and 5.8 GHz. The unit features easy touchscreen operation with an intuitive GUI and flat menu structure. The "multiview" function lets users see all measurements and modes at a glance. The instrument also incorporates a configurable auto test feature, which makes it possible to automate complex measurement processes.
The second introduction was the R&S SMW200A, which R&S says is the first vector signal generator that offers an internal modulation bandwidth of 2 GHz with a frequency range to 40 GHz, in a user-friendly, single-box solution. This new option can be integrated twice, which makes it possible with one instrument to generate two independent wideband signals up to 20 GHz with any type of modulation. The test setup capabilities of the R&S SMW200A support challenging applications in aerospace and defense and wireless communications, including advanced radar systems and emerging standards such as 5G and IEEE 802.11ad.
Electronic Design Automation
Computer Simulation Technology (CST) featured the 2016 version of the CST STUDIO SUITE® electromagnetic simulation tool, with new features that allow simulation to be used in new ways in the design process. The integral equation solver (I-solver) now includes characteristic mode analysis (CMA), a method for investigating the behavior of a radiating structure by calculating the current modes that it can support. Also, the new transient combine results feature provides a new level of integration, with the coupling of full wave 3D field solvers and circuit simulation. The new moving mesh technology allows an existing tetrahedral volume mesh to be adjusted — without changing its topology — to fit the new structure when parameters are changed. This saves time and reduces the noise associated with changes in mesh topology, allowing more accurate optimization of devices whose behavior is sensitive to small geometric changes, e.g., filters. CST has supported Linux in HPC cluster environments for many years, and CST STUDIO SUITE 2016 extends this support to the individual workstation.
NI AWR exhibited the NI AWR Design Environment™ software portfolio. NI AWR Design Environment includes system simulation (Visual System Simulator™), circuit simulation (Microwave Office and Analog Office) and electromagnetic analysis (AXIEM and Analyst™). Another element is AWR Connected™ modules that expand functionality through third-party tool collaboration.
While highlighting its capabilities in mobile broadband, broadcast and aerospace and defense, Ampleon focused on two technological collaborations: the first, the recently announced solid-state oven developed by Midea. The oven offers uniform heating, intelligent heating modes for different food types and sensing technology to monitor the cooking process. It is aimed at the portable oven market, measuring 260 x 270 x 344 mm and with a volume of 8 l. Ampleon also demonstrated a 270 W high output plasma light source (LEP) that was developed inc collaboration with Luma. It generates up to 23,000 lumens, offering full spectrum white light and a lifetime of 50,000 hours. Applications include horticulture and high bay/mast lighting for arenas and stadiums. Power transistors featured included the latest 0.5 µm GaN family and a 1,400 W rugged LDMOS power transistor (BLCU188XR) that is housed in an ACP-3 thermally optimized package. The package reduces thermal resistance by 30 percent.
In addition to providing the keynote presentation for the SOI track, GLOBALFOUNDRIES had a booth to discuss their process technologies and foundry services. The company offers two RF SOI processes (7RF and 7SW), designed to support mobile device and emerging IoT applications. For power amplifiers, GLOBALFOUNDRIES has four SiGe BiCMOS processes (5PAe, 5PAx, 1KW5PAe and 1K5PAx). Two of these (1KW5PAe and 1K5PAx) are tailored to integrate multiple functions, such as PAs, LNAs and switches. Two additional SiGe processes (8HP and 8XP) have been optimized for millimeter wave applications extending through E-Band.
Integrated Device Technology (IDT) has organically developed a multi-function RF portfolio, including amplifiers, voltage variable and digital step attenuators, switches, mixers and modulators/demodulators. Their products are found in many infrastructure applications, including base stations, microwave backhaul and cable television. In addition to featuring their portfolio in the exhibition, IDT presented a paper outlining RF design techniques for improving the dynamic range of base station receivers and transmitters.
MACOM exhibited an extended product portfolio demonstrating the latest updates on Gen4 GaN. Among the products was MACOM's newest broadband MMIC power amplifier (MAAP-011199), developed for high performance applications in imaging, sensors and communications. The multi-stage amplifier provides +24 dBm of saturated output power across 80 to 100 GHz. Gain is 12 dB, and the balanced architecture results in excellent input/output match to 50 Ω. Echo Cheng presented a well-attended workshop on high efficiency Doherty amplifiers for LTE, based on MACOM's GaN on Si process technology. He also participated as a panelist discussing GaN, a workshop that was sponsored by Richardson RFPD.
Among the products featured by NXP, the BGU7224 and the BGU7258 are fully integrated MMIC LNAs with a temperature-compensated bias network and integral bypass/shutdown. These features stabilize the DC operating point over temperature and enable operation in the presence of high input signals, while minimizing current consumption in bypass (standby) mode. The BGU7224 is for wireless receiver applications in the 2.4 to 2.5 GHz ISM band, while the BGU7258 operates in the 5 to 6 GHz ISM band.
The MMZ09332B is a broadband, high linearity, two stage InGaP HBT amplifier designed for femtocells or picocells for W-CDMA, TD-SCDMA, LTE or smart grid systems. For LTE and W-CDMA air interfaces, ACPR is -50 dBc at an output power of up to 23 dBm, from 130 to 1000 MHz. NXP GaN products included the A2G22S50, for 1.8 to 2.2 GHz FDD systems, and the A2G25H280, for 2.6 GHz TDD systems.
Peregrine Semiconductor announced two new monolithic phase and amplitude controllers (MPAC) at EDI CON. The ICs are designed to optimize the performance — efficiency and power — of the Doherty power amplifiers used in base stations, by tuning the phase and amplitude of the signals feeding the main and peaking amplifiers. The PE46130 and PE46140 MPAC ICs cover the 2.3 to 2.7 and 3.4 to 3.8 GHz wireless bands, respectively. They join the previously announced PE46120, which covers 1.8 to 2.2 GHz.
A new company to EDI CON China, Xiamen San'an Integrated Circuit is targeting microelectronic devices for wireless communication. Located in the Xiamen Torch High-Tech Industrial Development Zone, San'an IC is building new production lines for GaAs and GaN epitaxial wafers, as well as those for GaAs MMICs and high power GaN. Risk production started in October 2015 and once they reach volume production, San'an IC says they will be the first fab in mainland China to combine large scale R&D and manufacturing for compound semiconductors.
Components and Materials
Ingun showed a range of products, including RF probes to test RF sources and spring-loaded probes. They were highlighting the HFS-856 and HFS-837 probe series. The HFS-856 is a modular passive 50 Ω probe that retains the same mechanical geometry for each variant; however, the head section can be easily modified to cover a variety of miniature RF connectors. Currently, the series is available to mate with small print connectors, such as U.FL and switch connectors (e.g., MM8030, MM8430), and other popular miniature connectors, such as MMCX. The HFS-837 series is a smaller brother to the HFS-856, with an even smaller form factor and SMPM interface to connect very thin, lightweight and space saving cable assemblies. Depending on the configuration on the mating side of the probe, HFS-837 series probes can be used up to 18 GHz, with the same stringent specifications for return and insertion loss.
To support their growth in China and provide the same levels of support that U.S. customer receive, Pasternack has invested in expanding their China operation, including a dedicated website launched in 2015. At EDI CON, their team exhibited the full range of products: RF cables and connectors — including custom cable assemblies, adapters, power dividers, couplers, switches and amplifiers.
With so much discussion of using millimeter wave spectrum for 5G, Rogers used EDI CON to respond to customer interest and questions about material properties and PCB design considerations at these higher frequencies. Art Aguayo, a senior business development manager, presented a workshop to a standing-room-only crowd that addressed this, including aspects of foils and plating and how they affect RF performance. Thermal management was another area of customer interest, as system and board densities increase, which leads to higher thermal densities. This is particularly important as GaN devices become more prevalent in systems.
Among the products featured by Rosenberger, the main focus was multiport solutions, PCB connective solutions and coaxial calibration kits. The modular connector system fulfills the increasing requirement to measure the complete frequency range from DC to 50 GHz. The connector system features only one PCB contact for various female connector heads, connector heads that can easily be changed, different connector heads for different frequency ranges and cast center conductors.
Rosenberger also exhibited 1) high performance solderless PCB mount connectors that are designed to provide low return loss up to 110 GHz and can be used with single- and multi-layer PCBs and 20 RPC-N compact calibration kits for calibrating network analyzer ports. The MSO 3-in-1 mechanical calibration kits combine an open, short and load in a compact unit for complete MSO calibration of single port vector network analyzers. The MSOT 4-in-1 mechanical calibration kits combine an open, short, load and thru element in a compact unit for complete MSOT calibration of two-port (or more) vector network analyzers.
Richardson RFPD, a Gold sponsor, highlighted many of their suppliers, including Cinch, NewEdge, NXP and Radiall. Richardson RFPD sponsored the GaN panel, with experts from Ampleon, MACOM, NXP and NewEdge Signal Solutions. NewEdge was one of the most interesting companies we talked with. A spin-off from Nujira (the envelope tracking company purchased by Qualcomm), they are developing multi-band RF front-end solutions for next generation communications systems. Their capabilities include envelope tracking amplifiers and tunable filters.
After four years in Beijing, in 2017, EDI CON China will move to Shanghai for the first time. The conference and exhibition will rotate between the two cities each year, so will return to Beijing in 2018. EDI CON China 2017 will take place April 25-27 at the Shanghai Convention and Exhibition Center for International Sourcing. We hope to see you there.