by Ryan Pratt, Founder, CEO, Guerrilla RF
MPD: As RF/microwave system complexities grow across many industries (from smart cars to smart cities), what are the biggest challenges RF component vendors and system integrators should expect to face in the coming year?
The biggest challenge for RF component makers will be attracting and retaining the talent needed to accelerate new product development. Considering the extremely tight job market, companies need to be willing to alter policies in a more worker-friendly direction to execute on growth plans. Guerrilla RF has offered benefits such as unlimited PTO, flexible work capability, and $0 employee insurance premiums for medical insurance since we started, so we have a real advantage here.
Of course, supply chain constraints are likely to continue to be an issue for RF component makers, too. I hope things ease up here soon, but it could be mid-year before things get anywhere close to normal. We’re also watching downstream supply chain issues, not just the upstream issues that many in the semiconductor industry have seen.
MPD: The commercial and defense satellite market is booming. Is your company reaping any revenue from this, or do you expect to?
Guerrilla RF has a number of satellite-related opportunities that are moving to production within the coming year. Most are related to ground-based LEO (Low Earth Orbit) satellite tracking applications, but we even have a device that’s designed into an interplanetary probe. We’re excited about these growing applications since they fall directly into our wheelhouse of creating high performance RF components for L-, S- and C-band applications.
MPD: The federal government has been pushing for rural broadband coverage for many years, yet not much has happened. What do you think it will take to actually make this happen?
An organized program with adequate funding could make this happen fairly quickly. A subsidized hardware rollout to enable connections would make broadband service to everyone commercially viable for the first time. I’m hopeful the recently passed infrastructure bill, which included about $65B in funding for broadband, will have a meaningful impact on this issue.
Given the current state of technology, it seems extremely realistic to roll out some kind of high-speed wireless Internet to every household in the country. Between cellular, fiber, P2P, and even satellite LEO technologies, capabilities and costs have improved to a point where 100 percent coverage is economically feasible. A hybrid approach, where different technologies are mixed and matched based on the unique geographical situation, is the best way to go and I’m hopeful this toolbox approach will be implemented successfully.