Gary Lerude, MWJ Technical Editor
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Gary Lerude

Gary Lerude is the Technical Editor of Microwave Journal. Previously, he spent his career as a “midwife” aiding the growth of the compound semiconductor industry, from device to application, from defense to commercial. He spent 19 years at Texas Instruments, 11 years at MACOM and six years with TriQuint. Gary holds a bachelor’s in EE, a master’s in systems engineering and an engineers degree (ABD) in EE.

Weekly Report

For the week ending April 15

April 17, 2016

Here's the news from the past week that caught my attention:

Companies and Products

Broadcom introduced a dual-channel 5 GHz Wi-Fi access platform, which will increase data rates for venues with many simultaneous users.

To support growth, Custom MMIC moved their headquarters, tripling lab and office space.

At their annual developer conference, Facebook unveiled two infrastructure systems being developed by their Connectivity Labs: Terragraph is a 60 GHz multi-node wireless link intended to increase data capacity in dense urban environments. The design approach is based on the WiGig standard — using commercial, off-the-shelf WiGig components — and cloud processing to reduce the cost of the phased array radios, which would be spaced some 250 m apart throughout a city. Initial testing has achieved 2 x 1.05 Gbps per radio link, which equals 8.4 Gbps for a four sector node.

Terragraph four sector node (left) and prototype (right). Source: Facebook.
Terragraph four sector node (left) and prototype (right). Source: Facebook.

The goal of Facebook's Project ARIES (Antenna Radio Integration for Efficiency in Spectrum) is to increase the spectral efficiency of the base station (BTS) to over 100 bps/Hz. The design approach is a "massive MIMO" BTS with 96 antennas that can support 24 simultaneous data streams. An initial prototype has demonstrated 71 bps/Hz. Facebook's focus is using the BTS to cover rural areas that do not have broadband infrastructure. The company says 97 percent of the globe's population lives within 40 km of a major city, which would make deploying such systems feasible.

Project ARIES prototype antenna. Source: Facebook.
Project ARIES prototype antenna. Source: Facebook.

Huawei released annual results for 2015, reporting that revenue grew 37 percent to CNY395 billion ($60.8 billion). Their carrier (infrastructure) segment grew 21 percent, consumer (handsets) 73 percent.

The strange case of the suspicious "offer" to buy IDT. Was it just a ploy to game the stock price and make a quick profit?

Nokia and China Mobile ran a trial of C-RAN (cloud or centralized radio access network) at a stadium with 6,000 people. The trial demonstrated up to 62 percent higher upload speeds.

NXP released a 1.5 kW LDMOS transistor, which NXP says is the highest power solid-state device in any technology. The 50 V transistor operates to 500 MHz and is in an air cavity ceramic package.

Presto Engineering and Peraso Technologies have teamed to develop a high volume test system for Peraso's 60 GHz WiGig chipset. The companies' goal is to reduce test time by 40x.

Wolfspeed demonstrated that their GaN process technology meets NASA's reliability standards for satellite and space systems.

Markets and Technology

5G — FCC chairman Tom Wheeler outlined plans for U.S. leadership in 5G. The FCC is working on spectrum allocation and a new framework for backhaul.

ABI Research forecasts that 5G will deploy faster than 4G, reaching $247 billion in revenue by 2025. Achieving the data rates expected from 5G will require wide deployment of small cells; ABI projects 8.5 million will be fielded by 2020.

Broadband — After halting FiOS expansion in 2010, Verizon announced it will deploy fiber throughout Boston, investing $300 million to build a city-wide network.

To supplement FTTH, Google Fiber is exploring wireless options to connect the last mile, according to Craig Barratt, CEO of Google's access business.

IoT — Verizon released a report surveying the state of the Internet of Things. Their conclusion: the IoT is already mainstream.

To wit, as the baseball season begins, you might just see IoT at the ballpark.

Automotive — Wi-Fi connected, self-driving trucks platooned across Europe to show the feasibility of the technology. Now the challenge is to navigate the governmental bureaucracies.

Defense — The U.S. Navy approved EMD (engineering and manufacturing development) for the Next Generation Jammer (NGJ). NGJ is an external pod that will replace the AN/ALQ-99 tactical jamming system on the EA-18G Growler. Raytheon is the prime contractor.

Despite program delays, the U.S. Air Force expects the F-35 to achieve initial operational capability (IOC) during the second half of 2016.

China — China's March exports grew 11.5 percent year-over-year, the first increase since last June. The Lunar New Year affected the results, which dampened some of the optimism surrounding the gain.

The Final Frontier — Another stunning scene: SpaceX lands their Falcon 9 first stage on a floating barge in the Atlantic, demonstrating it can be done. Stand by for Mars.


If you see news that you would like covered in this weekly summary, please email me at glerude@mwjournal.com. If it's more convenient to receive these weekly updates via email, send me your email address.

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