Interconnect Advances Fuel Technology Growth
By Orwill Hawkins, Vice President of Marketing, LadyBug Technologies

With increased frequencies, higher data rates, and lower noise levels, the microwave industry serves as a leader in technological capability. Demand for quality interconnects has increased right along with other higher-performance areas in the industry.


MMD March 2014
New Military Microwave Digest


E-Band Active X5 Multiplier
Model SFA-743843516-12SF-N1 is an E-band X5 active multiplier with center frequency at 79 GHz with minimum +/-5 GHz operational bandwidth. It converts 14.8 to 16.8 GHz/+5 dBm input signal to deliver 74 to 84 GHz frequency band with more than +16 dBm power.
Sage Millimeter

Hand-Flex™ Coaxial Cable
Covering DC to 12.5 GHz, this 8” coaxial cable, 141-8SMNB+, has a bulkhead Female Type-N connector at one end and SMA-Male at the other. Features include low loss, excellent return loss, hand formable, and an 8mm bend radius for tight installations.

Phase Trimmer Series
This new phase trimmer series is designed for RF applications where phase match between two cables is needed for proper system performance. Phase trimmers, offered from DC to 50 GHz, will give an accurate phase adjustment over a specified frequency range.
RLC Electronics

Planar Monolithics Industries
Model PTRAN-100M18G-SFB-3UVPX-MAH is a transceiver covering the frequency range of 100 MHz to 18 GHz. The transceiver fits into a 3U Open VPX form factor utilizing the high speed VITA 67 RF connector.
Planar Monolithics Industries

SMT High-Power Attenuators
Now available with full design support capabilities are three new SMT high-power attenuators from Anaren. These 30 to 50W devices are high-performance, high-power chip attenuators covering DC to 3.0 GHz and feature high return loss and small footprints.
Richardson RFPD

See all products in this issue

December 2013

By Guy Séné, President, Electronic Measurement Group
Agilent Technologies, Inc.

Q: Is there a particular emerging application or technology that intrigues you?

A: There are many exciting possibilities in wireless communication, energy, medical, automotive and aerospace and defense; all are markets in which Agilent’s electronic measurement business plays. These markets share both common and divergent test requirements, and each are feeling the impact of an increased level of integration, miniaturization and complexity. Added to this, increased market demand is driving rapid deployment requirements.

The implementation of electronic capabilities in just about anything imaginable these days is staggering, and with that comes the need for test to ensure consistent, predictable use throughout a product’s life. As an example, consider Agilent’s expertise in power management and test for battery usage/life. On the surface it appears rather simple. However, without sophisticated, yet easily deployed low-cost test solutions to identify maximum battery usage and minimize early failures, a product might not operate as expected in a wireless communication system, seriously impacting its market value and use.

Q: Are you experiencing any effects of the reduction in defense spending, or are you anticipating any impact on your business?

A: The reduction in defense spending definitely has implications for test and measurement manufacturers. Modernization of platform technologies, for example, may become more important, which tends to be test-equipment intensive. With regard to technology, customers will likely need faster measurement capabilities and better measurement performance. At Agilent we are already working to address these needs by allowing our customers to perform more measurements in less time. As an example, we developed a digitizer that provides a wideband, multi-channel, phase-coherent platform for cross-channel measurements of magnitude and phase. The system can be even scaled up to a total of 40 synchronous channels in 4U of rack space.

From a business perspective, test and measurement solutions such as this must satisfy customers’ increasing focus on reducing the total cost-of-test. By achieving this goal, all participants will benefit from a reassessment of old assumptions and a fresh look at new ways of doing things.

Q: Deployment of small cells and distributed antenna systems is increasing rapidly as wireless carriers attempt to provide “broadband wireless data everywhere.” If your company is involved in any portion of the “HetNet” market, please tell us how you feel this market will develop.

A: Enabling a “wireless data everywhere” environment will require frequency spectrum reuse and use of new frequency spectrum to increase capacity. To reuse frequencies, more cell sites are needed that rely on picocells and femtocells—both of which maximize frequency reuse at RF. For new frequency spectrum in the future, industry is looking to millimeter wave (mmWave) frequencies for the answer. Here again, more cells will be required since the signal cannot travel far. Interestingly, indoor cell sizes may be as small as a single room.

Whether talking about frequency spectrum reuse or use of new frequency spectrum, opportunities abound, particularly in the design and manufacturing of the necessary components, modules and integrated cells. Agilent is involved in the testing of the small cells and antenna systems across all these areas. 

Q: China has long been considered the greatest potential global market for many companies in the RF and microwave industry. Do you feel this is still true? Are there other emerging markets that you believe will be lucrative in the next few years?

A: From Agilent’s perspective, China continues to offer exciting market potential for the RF and microwave industry. While there has been a slowdown in growth, this is not unusual given the overall global economy. India, Russia and – at a smaller scale- Brazil are also expanding
What should not be overlooked in this discussion, however, are the existing market activities in more mature regions such as the United States and Europe. While their growth rates are slower, they still represent sizable marketing opportunities for RF and microwave.

Q: What do you believe will be the greatest challenge for the RF and microwave industry?

A: Agilent is seeing a greater demand for integration of RF, microwave and high-speed digital technologies inside devices. Plus, there is greater need for very rapid transformation of ideas into validated products. These trends require specific solutions that support very refined needs—essentially optimizing precise measurement requirements for customers’ needs.

And, they must be available for design and simulation through signal-scenario creation, signal analysis and EMI behavior. Additionally, the current and emerging RF and microwave workflow environment must deliver an extremely comprehensive way to simulate, measure and analyze systems, from their components, to development through deployment. What customers are looking for in test and measurement instrumentation is a powerful combination of excellent measurement accuracy with the perfect harmony of software and instrumentation integration, speed, stimulus, and measurements over long durations, scalability, and overall lower cost-of-test.

In the aerospace and defense industry, customers expect longevity when investing in RF and microwave test equipment, and this likely won’t change for the foreseeable future. The aerospace, military communications and satellite industry is also dealing with crowded, dynamic spectrum. Consequently, it’s paramount for RF performance to address multi-format, high-data-rate communications systems. Improved sensitivity is also required for improved range, as is wider bandwidths for higher resolution.

In wireless communications there is demand, driven by end-users, for always-on access. As an example, mobile devices need powerful processing, dependable connectivity and long battery life. More and more data throughput for wireless communication leads to use of wider bandwidths, more complex modulation schemes, complex multi-user or multiplexing schemes, increased capacity, and enhancement schemes. It also requires improvements in access methods such as space-time coding, carrier aggregation and beamforming. Clearly, this necessitates a tighter dependency between components and signal processing intellectual property, and new algorithms to compensate for nonlinearity while reducing power consumption.

As the number of components in microwave and radio frequency products increases, vendors will expect more from their component vendors—not just in terms of the ability to comply with the new and emerging standards, but also in terms of interoperability with the other components used to test these products.

I am very confident Agilent Technologies’ expertise in measurement and test will continue to enable innovations in RF and microwave. ♦


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