Microwave Journal

2003 Penton Wireless Systems Design Show Guide

The 11th meeting of a conference and exhibition created for design engineering and engineering managers involved with fixed and portable wireless equipment features a new technical track devoted to IC-based reference designs.

January 1, 2003

Wireless communications markets have suffered from weak sales and an over-enthusiastic buildup of inventory during the last two years. But some segments of the market, notably in wireless local area networks (WLAN), are still robust, with signs that other market segments, such as Bluetooth and third-generation (3G) cellular systems, may be ready for accelerated growth. The technical advances behind these markets will be explained at the upcoming technical sessions of the Wireless Systems Design Conference & Expo, scheduled for February 24th to 27th, 2003, in the San Jose Convention Center (San Jose, CA). Visitors will also have the opportunity to see and touch hardware, software and test equipment while visiting the hundreds of exhibitors on the show floor.

Technical sessions begin Monday, February 24th, with five full-day workshops. Most of these workshops are returning from previous years’ shows by popular demand, including “Oscillators for Wireless Applications” by Randy Rhea of Eagleware; “Bluetooth Radio Design” by Ken Noblitt of Cambridge Silicon Radio; “Antennas & Propagation for Wireless Communications” by Steve Best, formerly of Cushcraft and now working as an engineering design consultant; and “Packaging for Wireless RF” by Sam Horowitz of Dupont. Added to the 2003 workshop lineup is “Power Management for Mobile Communications Devices” by Bill Krenik, who is wireless advanced architectures manager for the Wireless Terminals Business Unit of Texas Instruments. His workshop will examine the areas of critical technical development for battery-operated communications devices, covering various aspects of power management as related to handsets. He will explore the impact on power-management strategies as consumers demand additional functionality from their handheld devices, including games, color displays, high quality audio and multimedia.

The Wireless Systems Design Conference & Expo will return to the half-hour technical presentations of earlier Wireless Symposium & Exhibition conferences. The format encourages presenters to be comprehensive but concise, and provides attendees with a greater range of technical presentations from which to choose. The technical presentations begin on Tuesday, February 25th, and conclude at lunchtime on Thursday, February 27th. The technical presentations are organized by conference co-chairpersons Cheryl Ajluni, editor-in-chief of Wireless Systems Design magazine, and Jack Browne, publisher/editor of Microwaves & RF magazine. The technical presentations are organized according to the following topics, spread throughout the three days:

  • Bluetooth & Short Range Communications
  • Broadband/Fixed Wireless
  • Handset Design
  • Power Management
  • Reference Designs
  • RFICs for Handset Design
  • Software
  • Wireless Internet
  • Wireless LAN
  • Wireless Modeling/Test & Measurement
  • Wireless Networking

The addition to the lineup from previous shows is the Reference Design track. Reference designs, of course, are circuits usually developed by an integrated-circuit (IC) supplier and one of their customers. Such circuits are meant to closely approximate an actual application, such as a cellular handset or a WLAN hub. Who can benefit from studying a reference design? Basically, any wireless engineering designer tasked with developing higher level (board level and beyond) solutions can learn something from a reference design that can either be directly applied to a design problem, or modified for use with the same set of ICs or devices from other suppliers.

Although reference designs have long served as effective starting points for design engineers faced with creating an innovative product with a short time to market, they have often been treated as secondary technical contributions to the design literature. Each reference-design presentation will pack a great deal of information into a half hour. Each presentation will offer attendees a chance to travel through a design layout, examine a bill of materials for the additional components required, review test procedures for the reference design, and discuss details of the design with the presenter. A moderator will be present to discourage companies from turning these technical sessions into sales presentations.

The conference will feature a two-day series of technical presentations based on wireless-based reference designs, including intermediate-frequency (IF), RF and digital-signal-processing (DSP) architectures. As an example, Andy Parolin, product line manager for SiGe Semiconductor (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada), will address the importance of careful physical layouts when optimizing the performance of a reference design. Since the printed-circuit board of such a design effectively becomes another component, with resistance, inductance and capacitance values that can affect the overall circuit performance, optimization techniques must be practiced. Parolin will use Bluetooth and WLAN examples to demonstrate some proven optimization methods, with consideration given to component selection, the length and positioning of circuit traces, and methods for eliminating ground feedback.

Aditya Agarwal of Fujitsu Microelectronics America (Santa Clara, CA) will explore a reference design focused on wireless broadband metropolitan area networks, notably a design in support of interoperable systems such as IEEE 802.16a and ETSI-BRAN HIPERMAN. The presentation will show how the effective use of reference designs and conformance testing can enable more rapid adoption of standards-compliant devices for these wireless networks. The report will look in detail at the orthogonal frequency-division multiplex (OFDM) physical layer (PHY) solution that is common to both IEEE 802.16a and HIPERMAN, with details about a possible system-on-chip (SoC) implementation and the type of reference design needed to evaluate this solution.

Bernard Olivier of California Eastern Laboratories (Santa Clara, CA) will address reference designs for embedded Global Positioning System (GPS) applications, in partnership with customer eRide. The presentations will be based on the company’s low power, highly integrated GPS receiver IC and how this receiver can be incorporated into a variety of handheld and wireless applications.

The other technical tracks scheduled from Tuesday, February 25th through Thursday, February 27th will consist of more than 60 single (half-hour) and double (one-hour) presentations based on the previously listed topics. For example, in the session on WLANs, long-time Wireless Symposium presenter Carl Andren of Intersil Corp. will present “Zero IF Makes Dual-band WLAN Practical,” exploring how the zero-IF radio approach makes it practical to design radios supporting both the IEEE 802.11a and IEEE 802.11g standards. His colleague at Intersil Corp., Richard Abrams, will present “Troubleshooting Dual-band IEEE 802.11 Radios,” a guide for designers seeking to develop WLAN radios operating at both 2.45 and 5 GHz. Monica Bhatnager and Edward Brown of Agilent Technologies will present their report “A New Enhancement Model PHEMT Medium-power Amplifier for Wireless LAN” on a GaAs 5-to-6-GHz high performance amplifier that is ideal for drivers in PCMCIA cards. In the same session, Steve Saltzman of Intel Corp.’s Wireless LAN Operation will offer his presentation “Extending the Enterprise Beyond Four Walls: PANs, WANs and LANs,” while Dan Doles of WhreeNet Corp. will present “RTLS – Leveraging the WLAN for Increased ROI,” which will discuss how wireless real-time locating systems (RTLS) and wireless telemetry applications can leverage existing IEEE 802.11 networks to provide constant connectivity between physical assets and their owners.

In the session on Wireless Internet, Diane Ort of Edgewater Technology will explore “Web Services in a Wireless Environment,” highlighting how organizations can leverage Web services to communicate with wireless devices while providing consistent data, improved customer satisfaction, and expanded services and market reach. Gerald Bolden of Micron Technology’s Network and Communications Group will speak on “Memory Coalescing to Minimize Random Accesses for Fast Packet Processing,” addressing memory organization for optimization of high speed packet processing systems. Shridhar Krishnamurthy, a co-founder of Cyneta Networks, will speak on “Creating the Foundation for a Successful Mobile Data Experience,” while Stephen Hester of Aloha Networks will explain his company’s patented spread ALOHA multiple access (SAMA) technology for improving the return-channel efficiency of wireless networks.

In the session on Wireless Networking, Tim Cutler of Cirronet Inc. will present “Implementing Wireless Networks in Industrial Environments,” exploring the challenge of connecting non-TCP/IP devices to TCP/IP networks, and looking at how current and future wireless technologies, including ultrawideband (UWB) technology, might offer a solution for this problem. Ember Corp.’s vice president of engineering, Andy Wheeler, will offer “Network Architectural Considerations for Embedded Wireless Solutions In Industrial and Commercial Environments,” exploring differences between mesh, point-to-point and point-to-multipoint networks, how to overcome RF interference and line-of-sight problems, and benefits offered by wireless mesh networks compared to other wireless network solutions. Bruce Gray of Ethertronics will present “Optimizing Signal Strength in WLAN and Bluetooth Applications,” illustrating how advances in antenna technology can capture more available signal than conventional approaches.

Keynote Address

Tuesday, February 25th, will also feature a keynote address from Gadi Singer, vice president of the Wireless Communications and Computing Group, and general manager of the PCA Components Group of Intel Corp. Not only will Mr. Singer offer a high level view of future market prospects for wireless technology in commercial, consumer and enterprise areas, he promises to provide rare insight into Intel’s projected role in future wireless and portable markets. Mr. Singer has held a variety of technical and management positions within Intel. From 1993 to 1998, he served as the general manager of the Microprocessor Products Group’s Design Technology Division. He became co-general manager of the IA-64 Processor Division in 1998 and general manager of the Enterprise Processors Division in 2000. He was appointed vice president in January 1999, and most recently managed the entire product development of the company’s Itanium processor.

On the lighter side, The Wireless Developer Conference & Expo 2003 will be co-located for the first time with The Wireless Systems Design Conference & Expo in the San Jose Convention Center. This event is focused on the production and delivery of wireless interactive entertainment. It will offer studios, media and entertainment professionals an opportunity to interact directly with operators, manufacturers, and technology providers for next-generation wireless devices and platforms. The event will address all facets of wireless entertainment, from fundamental building blocks to final end-user delivery approaches. The event includes wireless gaming, next-generation device technologies, system design, digital rights management, branding, licensing, business models, media delivery and merchandising strategies.

For updates on technical presentations and exhibitor news, as well as information on attending the conference, please visit the Wireless Systems Design Conference & Expo Web site at www.wsdexpo.com.