IMS 2022 was close to back to normal with about 6500 total attendees and 450 exhibiting companies in Denver – a great sight to see. The mood was very energetic, and everyone was very happy to see each other since it was close to two years since many had been together. As 5G and SATCOM continue to be areas of growth, it is good to see some new emerging markets like 6G, quantum and hypersonics gaining momentum.
5G mmWave rollouts have not taken off as fast as expected but now seem to be rolling out at a greater pace. Companies I saw leading 5G mmWave market were:
- Anokiwave – on their 4th generation of products and think they have the most flexible and robust chip set.
- Sivers/Mixcomm – have the broadest portfolio of products covering all licensed and unlicensed mmWave bands
- Analog Devices – only company offering the full signal chain mmWave platform
- Qorvo – using GaN front ends for maximum output power and efficiency
The most interesting things I saw were a transparent antenna-on-display solution and the emergence of RF Glass. KREEMO and Sivers Semiconductors announced that they have successfully demonstrated data communication between transparent antenna-on-display devices based on SUMMIT2629, a 28 GHz beamforming chip, and stackable patch antenna devices with 360-degree beam coverage. The SUMMIT 2629 is a RFSOI eight-channel RF beamforming IC for 28 GHz and extends link range and reduces power consumption while optimizing antenna array complexity. KREEMO has the first transparent antenna-on-display technology that implements mmWave antennas on displays and stackable patch antenna technology that provides 360-degree coverage. The products jointly developed and supplied by KREEMO and Sivers Semiconductors are the transparent antenna-on-display module, the 1x4 stackable patch antenna module with a 360-degree beam coverage, a 4x4 AiP module (scheduled in 4Q), a 4 x 4 stackable patch antenna module with a 360-degree coverage (scheduled in '23 2Q) and the antenna development kit 360° (ADK360°). This is a very interesting technology and development.
There were at least two exhibitors designing and supplying high performance RF Glass circuits. 3DGS and ED2 both offer this process with 3D Glass ready for production on 8-inch wafers. 3DGS leverages the properties of a patented APEX® glass-ceramic material with excellent electrical performance and ultra-low transmission loss at high frequencies ranging from 1 to 200 GHz. Using traditional semiconductor processes, 3DGS produces high-precision, high volume-scale components that meet the needs of consumer, commercial and mil/aero system designers. The process supports passive components including antennas, baluns, filters, inductors, capacitors and couplers, etc., and can use air in passive component design for very high performance.
ED2’s has designed a C-band bandpass filter that is a high performance, low cost, BGA-type surface mount component. The filter typically has a <3 dB insertion loss over a 334 MHz bandwidth. The filter’s excellent rejection makes it a perfect roofing filter in complement to SAW/BAW applications. Filter was specifically designed for cellular C-band applications. This small size filter has minimal variation in performance and is also highly repeatable from filter to filter. The filter is a RoHS-compliant industry-standard device.
In addition, Keysight was featuring a 6G demonstration with Nokia Bell Lab's D-band radio-on-glass transceiver with an active phased array antenna module which highlights Keysight's 6G testbed's ability to enable wide-bandwidth measurements and explore ultra-high data throughput scenarios.
The exhibition featured several new activities including a 9-hole miniature golf course, systems pavilion, networking lounge booths, shoeshine station and professional photo booth. Overall, it was a very good event with many new additions to the week making it a fun event.