by Casey Krawiec, VP of Global Sales, StratEdge Corporation
MPD: How effective do you believe operation at millimeter wavelengths will be for meeting the challenges of 5G?
In the near term, not very. There are massive technical and economic challenges to bringing millimeter wavelengths to cell phones.
MPD: If you sell to the defense sector, what do you believe are the major challenges for RF and microwave technology in serving DoD’s needs?
Obsolescence of legacy components continues to be a challenge for the military. When demand for an item falls below a certain threshold, first tier suppliers often quit offering them, even if it is a custom part and they are the sole source. If a supplier offers a lifetime buy, the system’s lifetime often gets extended (example: B-52). However, when that lifetime buy of components runs out, the solution is a mad scramble to find another source to avoid an even more painful redesign. The good news is that this dire need creates an opportunity for smaller, more nimble companies.
MPD: What RF and microwave technologies will have the greatest impact in the next few years?
As a company that provides packages and assembly services for RF and microwave devices, we are seeing the introduction of a greater number of gallium nitride (GaN) devices and the integration of existing GaN designs into Ku-, K-, and Ka-band applications.
MPD: In addition to 5G and IoT, what commercial markets will be the most important for the industry in 2020?
I believe the activity involved with the numerous commercial satellite projects will be intense in 2020. There are a lot of microwave engineers and MMIC designers working on teams competing to be the first to deliver Internet content to the masses. We may not see thousands of satellites launched in 2020, but make no mistake, there will be activity. No one wants to be the next Iridium, which was one of the largest bankruptcies in U.S. history because it came online a few years too late.