by Dan Monopoli, GM Test & Measurement – Wireless Telecom Group
MPD: The defense market for RF and microwave components through subsystems appears to be more lucrative than in recent years, especially in the area of electronic warfare. If your company sells into the defense market, what are your thoughts about how it will perform in 2017?
Our products from both Boonton and Noisecom are well aligned with emerging test and measurement needs in the areas of radar, electronic warfare, electronic countermeasures and avionics and we expect to see continued growth in this specific segment of the defense market as electronic warfare and countermeasure techniques continue to evolve to new levels of sophistication. We have seen a variety of innovations and new technology developments in this space, as well as new funding becoming available to system designers and integrators. As the level of sophistication continues to increase, we expect to see new opportunities to enable and equip engineers and technicians in this field with the latest test and measurement equipment and techniques.
Boonton RF power meters and Real-Time power sensors are well positioned for capturing, quantifying and analyzing the wideband signals and radar pulses with the fastest rise times associated with today’s electronic warfare systems. The high speed measurement and throughput capabilities with Boonton’s Real-Time Power ProcessingTM technology provide system designers with the confidence they need that the entire signal is being accurately captured and analyzed. Noisecom noise sources serve multiple purposes in the electronic warfare ecosystem. First, they can be used in the design and development of these systems, ensuring they are robust and resilient to interfering signals. Second, the same noise sources can be deployed in countermeasure systems for jamming of enemy radar and communication systems.
MPD: The fifth generation of cellular is rapidly approaching and the immense scope of 5G seems almost certain to present significant opportunities for the RF and microwave industry. What is your perspective on this issue?
This is absolutely an important part of the future for Boonton and Noisecom as we see great opportunities and needs for advanced test and measurement with the move to 5G. Any time demand for more data and faster data rates are present there will be a significant need for innovation and new technology. The opportunities for us are to continue to develop test solutions for these shifting demands on data and the wide variety of new devices expected to communicate on 5G networks worldwide. As we move from having a 4G network consisting mostly of mobile phones to a 5G network with new types of devices and overlap with IoT devices, there will be new and emerging test and compliance requirements that Boonton and Noisecom will be a part of.
MPD: The Internet of Things (IoT) might better be called the Wireless Internet of Things, as without RF and microwave technology, little could be accomplished. If your company is selling into this market, please provide your perspective on IoT and its prospects for the RF and microwave industry.
The Internet of Things has certainly generated a lot of buzz in publications and advertisements, but it is truly starting to become a part of everyday life. We continue to engage with existing and potential new customers who want to talk about using our products in their emerging applications as it relates to IoT. The world of wireless communications has long belonged to large companies with connections to infrastructure and traditional telecom; with the arrival and potential explosion of IoT there have been a number of new companies that we come in contact with defining smaller niches and market sub-segments within the larger IoT environment. We have seen interesting developments and innovation in medical, health monitoring, home security, connected home, connected car and of course, mobile devices. We feel the IoT is here to stay and with our expertise in test and measurement solutions for a variety of wireless and RF signals such as WiFi, LTE, Bluetooth®, RFID, and NFC, Boonton and Noisecom are well positioned to enable further IoT innovation.
MPD: In your opinion, what are the RF and microwave technologies to watch in 2017?
The Internet of Things, the Smart Home and the Connected Car all continue to be very interesting and trendy topics in and around the world of wireless, RF and microwave technologies. Our customers are starting to design for these applications more and more and we are finding new companies popping up to develop new HW, SW and products to address new needs and capabilities. These markets, which very recently only existed in academic presentations and conference papers, are becoming real world applications of wireless communication chipsets, amplifiers, radios and products. It is an exciting time for wireless communications for both traditional players in these spaces and new startup companies getting their toes in the water for the first time.