Thursday, November 17, 2011

Wireless Connectivity ICs to Surpass $8 Billion in 2011

ABI Research recently reported that the total market for standards-based wireless connectivity ICs is expected to exceed 3.5 billion units per annum in 2011. “Broadcom leads the market with Qualcomm, CSR, and Texas Instruments all snapping at its heels,” says Peter Cooney, practice director, semiconductors. The market will total more than $11 billion per annum by 2014.

Wireless connectivity technologies are well-established in many electronic device markets. Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and GPS are becoming ubiquitous in certain devices, such as smartphones, with attach rates approaching 100% in some cases. Rapid growth is forecast for newer technologies such as NFC and 802.15.4. Wireless connectivity technologies also continue to progress at a fast pace, with new developments such as Bluetooth v4.0 (with low energy being a key facet) and Wi-Fi moving to the 802.11ac standard and 802.11ad coming in the future. As attach rates increase, combinations of different wireless connectivity technologies have been developed to address the needs of customers. "Combo ICs" have become increasingly important, particularly in the smartphone, laptop, and media tablet markets (among others). Standalone ICs are not dead, however, and there are many compelling reasons that not all markets will to move to combo ICs.

RR-CONN chart

Mobile Emergency Alerts Should Save Lives

When wildfires, tornadoes, and other public-safety emergencies strike, MetroPCS customers will soon be able to receive government alerts on their mobile phones. The network operator is the latest to announce it will use the affordable, hosted Commercial Mobile Service Provider (CMSP) Gateway from Interop Technologies to deliver the Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS) alerts when they become available in 2012. Bluegrass Cellular of Kentucky announced earlier this month that it also will rely on the hosted Interop gateway to provide CMAS service.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Industry's First SMT GaN Module for CATV

I don't normally point out specific products but I like to highlight new technology or products first to the market. RFMD has introduced the industry’s first surface mount GaN power doubler module aimed at CATV networks. It uses a combination of GaN HEMT and GaAs pHEMT technologies and provides high output capability from 45-1003 MHz with excellent distortion performance.


  • 45 to 1003 MHz GaAs/GaN Power Doubler Module

  • 61dBmV Rated Power

  • High Current Mode: 450mA at 24VDC

  • Low Current Mode: 350mA at 24VDC

  • Min. Gain: 22.5dB at 1GHz

  • Saves ≈ 50% PCBA Area versus SOT115J (with external baluns) 182 mm² versus 362 mm²


  • CATV Optical nodes

  • CATV Line amplifiers

RFCM2680 Product Announcement from RFMD on Vimeo.

Microwave Journal will be covering this subject in depth in our April issue next year.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Military Month

I call the end of Oct through the beginning of Nov Military Month as we typically attend EuMW, MILCOM and AOC during this period along with our publication of the Oct Government/Military issue. At EuMW 2011, Microwave Journal coordinated a full day Defence/Security Forum in Manchester. The morning sessions concentrated on Security technologies such as through the wall radar, IED detection, etc. Strategy Analytics put on a lunch and learn session covering Defense Budgets and Trends followed by afternoon sessions covering the challenges of next generation radar and testing. It concluded with an executive forum with speakers from Defense agencies and OEMs. Our event page has video coverage and links to some of the presentation that were given.

Next came MILCOM last week in Baltimore which was well attended, and we met with more than 30 companies featuring new components, test systems and software to meet the needs of emerging communications systems. Our MILCOM 2011 show summary lists all the interesting products we found along with some quick facts about the show. We found some interesting new testing systems/techniques, high efficiency GaN amplifiers, tunable filters and more.

Now I am off to AOC 2011 in Washington DC. The Association of Old Crows Annual Convention focuses on EW so it will be interesting to see what new developments have taken place since last year. Digital RF Memory (DFRM) and very wideband detectors/systems have been the trend as enormous amounts of data are being collected, analyzed and in some cases re-broadcast (with some slight modifications).