David Vye, MWJ Editor
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David Vye is responsible for Microwave Journal's editorial content, article review and special industry reporting. Prior to joining the Journal, Mr. Vye was a product-marketing manager with Ansoft Corporation, responsible for high frequency circuit/system design tools and technical marketing communications. He previously worked for Raytheon Research Division and Advanced Device Center as a Sr. Design Engineer, responsible for PHEMT, HBT and MESFET characterization and modeling as well as MMIC design and test. David also worked at M/A-COM's Advanced Semiconductor Operations developing automated test systems and active device modeling methods for GaAs FETs. He is a 1984 graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, with a concentration in microwave engineering.

Boston –Austin – Pittsburgh – Home

August 3, 2012

It will be a busy second week of August as the IEEE Electromagnetic Compatibility Society host their annual EMC Symposium in Pittsburgh from August  5-10 and National Instruments kicks off their annual NI WEEK, which runs from Monday, August 6th through the 9th. Both events will highlight the importance of simulation software and test instruments in the design of high frequency electronics.

IEEE EMC Symposium

EMC/EMI and RF/ Microwave technologies are like close cousins, sharing a common link to the finicky nature of electromagnetics and their impact/relationship with physical design. While EMC engineers may be focused on suppressing radiation, RF guys need to harness electromagnetic waves to carry the information of our communication and RADAR systems.  Since we are dealing with the same general physics (albeit at different frequencies in general), it is not surprising that many companies developing products for RF/microwave design would offer similar products tailored for EMC/EMI design.  Test providers such as AR RF/Microwave Instrumentation, ETS-Lindgren, Teseq,  Aeroflex,  EMPower RF, Agilent, Rohde &Schwarz are familiar exhibitors at both IMS and IEEE EMC. The same is true for software vendors such as ANSYS and CST. And so, Microwave Journal has attended this show on an annual basis for many years to share their expertise with our readers.

This year, we are pleased to a further commitment to covering this important topic. On August 3rd, the Journal announced that we will be partnering with Interference Technology, the leading publication focused on the EMC/EMI community, to expand the focus of the Electronic Design Innovation Conference (EDI CON), which is being organized by the Journal in Beijing (March 12-14, 2013). EDI CON will now include specific technical papers, workshops, panels and exhibitors addressing EMC/EMI, alongside experts discussing RF, Microwave and high-speed digital design issues.

Conference attendees will experience high quality, peer reviewed papers presented in either oral 30 minute presentations or as Poster Papers (allowing the author and attendee time to discuss the paper in more detail). The Technical Paper Sessions are aligned according to technical topic areas associated with the IEEE EMC Society Technical Committees:

EMC Management is concerned with the successful leadership, supervision and guidance of EMC related activities.

EMC Measurements is concerned with the measurement and instrumentation requirements in EMC standards and procedures and how they are interpreted. (Hosting a session on  Antennas).

EMI Control is concerned with design, analysis, and modeling techniques useful in suppressing interference or eliminating it at its source. Bonding, grounding, shielding, and filtering are within the jurisdiction of this committee. These activities span efforts at the system, subsystem, and unit levels.

High Power Electromagnetics is concerned with the effects and protection methods for electronic equipment and systems for all types of high power electromagnetic environments including electromagnetic pulse (EMP), intentional EMI environments (e.g. high power microwaves and ultrawideband). Interactions with aircraft and other mobile systems are included.

Spectrum Managementis concerned with frequency coordination, management procedures for efficient spectrum use, band occupancy and congestion, federal regulations and their adequacy.

Computational Electromagnetics is concerned with broad aspects of Applied Computational Electromagnetic techniques which can be used to model electromagnetic interaction phenomena in circuits, devices, and systems. Session hosted by this committee include Numerical Investigation ofReverb Chambers, Practical Application of Numerical Modeling and Advances in Modeling Techniques

Signal Integrity Committee is concerned with the design, analysis, simulation, modeling and measurement techniques useful in maintaining the quality of electrical signals. These activities encompass all aspects of signal integrity from the integrated circuit level to the system level. Sessions organized by this committee include Channel Characterization and Modeling for High-Speed Signaling, Modeling of Interconnects and Signal Integrity



NI with their flagship software product LabView, a system design platform and development environment based on a visual programming languageand extensive line modular test hardware, has played a key role in providing design solutions to many diverse industries. In 2010, the company sold products to more than 30,000 companies in 91 countries with revenues of $860 million, which somewhat explains how NI can attract over 3,000 engineers and researchers to Austin in the middle of August. While the company initial cut its teeth with a product philosophy based on the winning formula of virtual instrumentation (data acquisition and display, aka test and measurement), NI recognized an opportunity to extend this philosophy beyond test solutions.

For some time NI has had its eye on offering products and solutions that address the earliest phases of the design cycle, allowing a more systematic approach to design and linking pre-prototyping information (the results of simulation) with existing downstream test verification information. Additionally, NI founder and visionary James Truchard (Dr.T to his employees) and his top executives have watched the RF, wireless industry with great interest. Recognizing an opportunity to build on the company’s core strengths and address the need to bring an NI systematic approach to RF design, the company made a strategic move to develop solutions specifically targeting high frequency design. In addition, NI acquired Phase Matrix and AWR in 2011 to bolster the frequency and accuracy range of their RF, microwave hardware and their penetration into simulation software, respectively.

NI Week is billed as a Worldwide Graphical System Design Conference and Exhibition. The Keynote talks which take place on Tuesday morning have all the feel of a star studded event. The anticipation of whats new along with the pre-event light show and rock music pouring out from a world class sound system is enough to get the 3,000 attendees in the standing room only main conference hall energized for a thrilling 90 minutes of major announcements, amazing demos and exciting visions of future capabilities. The NI Week keynotes have a feel that could be compared to Steve Jobs presenting to the Apple faithful at Mac World. The virtual instruments behind NI’s products has empowered many people with the ability to find creative solutions to their engineering problems and at NI Week, the users’ appreciation and devotion are clearly on display.

The RF and Wireless Summit takes place Tuesday & Wednesday, August 7 & 8. Attendees will hear from industry experts as they explain the latest trends, emerging technologies, and test techniques at the RF and Wireless Test Summit. Technologies discussed will include RF-RIO, FPGA signal processing, MIMO, advanced network analysis, microwave system simulation, and microwave frequency synthesis

RF Technical Focus Sessions include:

LabVIEW FPGA for RF Test and Measurement Applications
Many RF applications require significant processing, which is traditionally accomplished with microprocessors. By adding user-programmable FPGAs into these systems, you can dramatically reduce test times and increase overall measurement performance. At this session, see a demonstratration of novel RF test techniques implemented in LabVIEW FPGA.

The Art of Amplifier Modeling and Design Optimization With an Active Load-Pull System

Nonlinear device instrumentation is largely based on evolved vector network analyzers that are extended by a load-pull system and directly address the need for rapid and accurate data. The resulting measurements do not capture the entire nonlinear response of a device and require in simulators "an interpretation" through a nonlinear model, which often introduces differences between actual and simulated circuit performance. Learn about the new opportunities emerging from instruments capable of measuring current and voltage waveforms as well as the shaping of these waveforms through harmonic source- and load-pull systems.

A PXI-Based Test System Implementation for Radio Base Station Unit Testing

Today's base station production must overcome the challenges of test time, floor space, and total system cost. Discover how Gefle Testteknik met these challenges with the smaller size, parallel processing, and system-calibration features of PXI.

Proving the Efficiencies of a Wireless Two-Way Relay System

Relaying is opening new possibilities for improving spectral efficiency in wireless networks. Hear how Texas A&M University researchers used NI FlexRIO and LabVIEW to create a real-time prototype of a two-way relay system with analog network coding. Also explore how to meet the challenges of implementing channel estimation, synchronization, and TDD operation in real time with LabVIEW FPGA.

Cleaning Up Dirty RF: Rapid Prototyping With NI USRP and LabVIEW

Learn how the NI USRP™ software defined radio and LabVIEW was used to develop and test improved methods for digitally correcting analog RF impairments using digital signal processing techniques. Also see how to migrate .m file simulations into LabVIEW using a graphical system design approach to address nonlinear amplifier impairments and validate algorithms with real-world RF signals.

Software Defined Radio Experts Panel

Flexible software defined radio (SDR) solutions have emerged as the platform of choice for rapidly prototyping wireless communications systems. During this panel session, hear some of the world's leading SDR experts discuss the future challenges of prototyping RF and communications systems as bandwidths, wireless demands, and complexity grow at an exponential rate.

Simulating Complex DSP Algorithms to Test Real-Time Broadband Data

Discover how Averna used NI FlexRIO and NI RF tools to simulate real-world conditions and verify the design of consumer broadband equipment. Explore the digital signal processing (DSP) techniques used as well as how to develop the algorithm for the FPGA, verify the accuracy on the host, and provide signal impairments while meeting low-latency requirements.

AWR and NI: Enabling Microwave Education and Biomedical Research Through Integrated Solutions

Explore a Texas Tech microwave engineering course for which students designed, laid out, and simulated their circuits in the industry-standard microwave design tool, AWR Design Environment; created a test bench in NI LabVIEW; and took measurements with PXI RF instruments. Learn how these tools were applied to a tumor tracking radar system for lung cancer radiotherapy.

Coexistence Testing for Wireless Medical Devices

RF wireless technologies are increasingly used in medical devices, especially for products in the license-free RF spectrum, including the industrial, scientific, and medical bands. Understanding RF spectrum sharing (wireless coexistence) is important in designing and verifying a medical device. At this session, explore wireless coexistence test for wireless-based medical devices using NI tools.

BER, EVM, and Digital Modulation Testing for Test and Product Engineers

System-level testing is growing more popular and stands to overtake parametric testing as the standard in high-volume production test. At this session, explore several over-the-air system-level tests such as bit error rate (BER) and error vector magnitude (EVM) that are used in a high-volume manufacturing environment.

RF Power Amp Testing With NI Products

The importance of optimized test time, capital cost control, and a standardized test methodology cannot be overemphasized in semiconductor testing. Learn how this is particularly true in testing power amplifiers for mobile devices that support multiple modulation standards.

Beyond S-Parameters: In Search of a Behavioral Model for Nonlinear Components

For passive or active components used in their linear mode of operation, S-parameters can be regarded as a measurement-based small-signal behavioral model of the device under test (DUT) However, there is not a uniform approach for dealing with nonlinear RF and microwave systems This session describes this challenge, the NMDG "S-functions" measurement-based behavioral model, and how this model can be used to accurately predict harmonic and modulation behavior of cascaded, nonlinear components.