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5G Is Coming, 5G is Coming!

5G Is Coming, 5G is Coming!

by Casey Krawiec, Vice President of Global Sales, StratEdge Corporation

Where have we heard that before?  I don’t mean the warnings shouted from horseback in 1775. I think back to the 1990s when the Internet was in its infancy. Technologists, especially those with a vested interest in the technology required to support the Internet, claimed the Internet was going to be the “next big thing.” The introduction and implementation of the Internet would cause a paradigm shift and create its own ecosystem. Its presence would be ubiquitous. They went on ad nauseam about how the Internet was going to revolutionize the world.

Then what happened? They were right. When Internet adoption hit critical mass, the infrastructure build-out was HUGE. It was the next big thing and then some. The Internet, combined with cellular communication adoption by consumers, fueled the biggest technology boom since railroads. Fiber optic cables, satellite constellations, and transmit/receive modules on your head were going to enable Internet connectivity everywhere.

Let’s jump ahead to today. How long have we been hearing about the introduction of 5G and how big it’s going to be? It seems like for quite a while. I’m not always an optimist, but history suggests the introduction of 5G will be nothing short of amazing. When price points are met, technology standards finalized and agreed upon, and investment capital accumulated, the introduction and adoption of 5G will rise exponentially. When combined with the Internet of Things, we’ll have another technology explosion.  

Sometime in the near future (if I knew exactly when, I’d be a stock trader, not a sales guy), the market for microwave and RF devices will get really hot. Applications operating at 5GHz and beyond will increase, and along with them, you’ll see an increased usage of power GaN devices. Using GaN for these higher frequencies will enable the higher data rates of 5G. 

Companies like StratEdge, which has focused on packaging and assembly of high frequency devices since it was founded in 1993, will be well poised to support the surge. In preparation, StratEdge has moved into a new facility in Santee, CA, near San Diego and expanded its assembly services by installing sophisticated precision equipment in a Class 1000 cleanroom. StratEdge has developed new substrates and perfected its proprietary eutectic die attach technology to get the best possible power output for a GaN device that will result in lower junction temperatures and increased device reliability. Packaging and assembly play a significant role in heat dissipation and achieving maximum device performance.

So, maybe this time the satellite constellations will get launched and you too will get to wear a transmit/receive module on your head. Let’s just hope we’ve learned our lesson and the boom isn’t followed by a bust. I do hope we’ve learned how to curb our irrational exuberance.