Recent industry news worth noting:
Companies and Products
Mercury Systems received a $24.4 million follow-on order to build integrated RF/digital subsystems for an unidentified EW program.
National Instruments (NI) is opening an industrial IoT lab to foster industry collaboration and ensure interoperability across applications. The lab will be located at NI's headquarters in Austin.
Pasternack added six USB-controlled synthesizers to their portfolio. The synthesizers cover various bands from 25 MHz to 27 GHz, with phase noise as low as −108 dBc/Hz at 100 MHz offset from the carrier.
Qorvo introduced seven Wi-Fi front-end modules (FEM), designed to increase data rate and maximum range with minimal power consumption. Five of the new FEMs cover the 5 GHz band; two operate at 2.4 GHz.
Herbert Merz was appointed president and CEO of Radio Frequency Systems (RFS). Previously, he was CEO of Coriant, which started life as NSN's optical networks segment.
Filter start-up Resonant announced that president George Holmes has added CEO to his title. Terry Lingren, now the former CEO, is retiring.
Rohde & Schwarz introduced an over-the-air power measurement system for emerging multi-Gbps systems operating at millimeter wave, specifically 27.5 to 75 GHz.
ZTE's CEO told company staff that the firm has “encountered its biggest crisis in its 31 year history” and plans 3,000 job cuts. Martyn Warwick of Telecom TV analyzed this news, wondering whether ZTE's move reflects concerns over potential sanctions from the Trump administration.
Markets and Technology
Semiconductors — President Obama’s science and technology council (PCAST) released a report on maintaining U.S. leadership in semiconductors.
Only by continuing to innovate at the cutting edge will the United States be able to mitigate the threat posed by Chinese industrial policy and strengthen the U.S. economy. Thus, the report recommends a three pillar strategy to (i) help catalyze transformative semiconductor innovation over the next decade, (ii) push back against Chinese industrial policy, and (iii) improve the business environment for U.S.-based semiconductor producers.
Mobile — If you missed coverage of this year's Consumer Electronics Show, you can get a sense of it from these four videos produced by Mobile World Live.
The FCC issued a report judging “zero-rated” video streaming services offered by AT&T and Verizon as violating net neutrality. This is a good case study, given operator moves to become content providers.
Vodafone Romania and Huawei demonstrated 1.35 Gbps data rates with 4.5G technology: 4x4 MIMO, combined FDD and TDD, five carrier aggregation (CA) and 256-QAM modulation.
Will 4.5G raise the bar for the data rates that 5G needs to deliver? According to Iain Morris at Light Reading, “unless 5G delivers a substantial improvement over 4.5G in a commercial setting, operators may be in little rush to launch it.”
Nonetheless, Stephen Mollenkopf, Qualcomm's CEO, remains bullish about 5G, comparing it's impact to electricity and the automobile. Virtual reality (VR), self-driving cars and the IoT will be the killer apps.
That may be the case, yet the Wireless Broadband Alliance argues that 5G will need unlicensed technologies such as Wi-Fi and LPWAN to succeed.
Granted a six-month license from ARCEP, France’s telecommunications regulatory agency, Leti will evaluate a block-filtered OFDM waveform on a 3.5 GHz, 40 MHz TDD band. The waveform is a candidate for 5G. Leti says the modulation addresses shortcomings with LTE waveforms and is backward compatible with LTE receivers.
Are you hooked on your smartphone or tablet? In an article in The New York Times, Nancy Colier, a licensed clinical social worker, is quoted as saying, “The only difference between digital addiction and other addictions is that this is a socially condoned behavior.”
Broadband — The FCC invited comments on allocating spectrum for large, non-GEO satellite services in various bands from 17.8 to 29.5 GHz.
… to promote more flexible use of the spectrum, we propose to reinstate certain secondary FSS use in the 17.8-20.2 GHz band and to allow new FSS operations in the 19.3-19.4 GHz, 19.6-19.7 GHz, and 29.3-29.5 GHz bands.
Initial comments must be submitted to the FCC by February 27.
Autonomous Vehicles — At the Detroit auto show, Waymo (formerly Google’s self-driving car project) unveiled a self-driving Chrysler Pacifica fitted with Waymo technology. According to the company, building all sensors in-house cuts their costs by 90 percent.
Defense — Retired Gen. James Mattis will likely be the next U.S. Secretary of Defense. He testified at a Senate hearing last week and addressed various topics that suggest his core philosophies. Read this summary by Defense News.
Few of us likely realize or appreciate Winston Churchill's contribution to the post-war peace and prosperity that we have enjoyed the past 70 years. The War College podcast recently interviewed Lord Alan Watson, who shared this fascinating history.