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5G: Don’t Hold Your Breath
Samsung says is has demonstrated “5G” wireless operating at 28 GHz, generating gigabit-per-second data rates over a 2 km span. However, the devil is in the details: they used 64 antenna elements, which might be the world’s most “massively MIMO” system. Millimeter wavelengths have huge advantages in bandwidth but huge disadvantages in propagation characteristics. There’s also no standards body working on a 28 GHz solution as no country has a wireless allocation there. The demonstration was nonetheless an interesting example of what the future may bring. At gigabit speeds, wireless would after all be able to compete with wired solutions like Fiber to the Home, satellite, and traditional cable.
Vendors Face Off in Radio Competition The Army says it is committed to “full and open competition” as it begins the selection process for companies that will build (or continue to build) its JTRS (Joint Tactical Radio System) handheld digital radios. General Dynamics and Rockwell Collins are the incumbents but others like Harris are also formidable competitors. The Army’s final contracting arrangement is not yet firm, but if one winner emerges it might have five years without competition.
Group Says Wide Guard Bands Not Necessary
A group of broadcasters, wireless carriers, and manufacturers has warned the FCC that guard bands wider than 12 MHz provide offer no benefit and would decrease the amount of licensed spectrum available for auction. The group says the best guard band size is 10 to 12 MHz above TV channel 37 and takes into consideration the required “duplex gap” between wireless transmit and receive channels required for a Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) band plan. The group says “there is no sound engineering justification for the extremely large (18 MHz to 28 MHz) gaps proposed by some people…” As for the guard band between mobile downlink and TV, the group says no more than 10 MHz of separation is needed to avoid blocking the mobile receiver or causing interference to TV broadcast services.
DAS Forum Now HetNet Forum
In an effort to remove the continuing confusion about how to define itself in the evolving world of distributed antenna system (DAS,) Wi-Fi, and small cells, the DAS Forum has decided that the most inclusive name for its organization is the Heterogeneous Network (HetNet) Forum. As the PCIA noted: “HetNet Forum members are using every tool in their toolbox to deliver wireless broadband to consumers everywhere—indoors and outdoors, urban and rural.”
IMS: A Time for Reflection
By Sam Benzacar
As a good portion of the RF and microwave industry gets ready to make its annual trek to IMS, it’s a great time to take stock of where we are since last year’s show – other than older and wiser of course. The big topic right now in wireless is the almost certain upsurge in small cell deployment (including backhaul) in all of its variants thanks to the need to ensure high data rates “everywhere”. This has been predicted for years but is now actually happening and the potential for the industry is immense.
And no we don’t have a defense budget so there’s no way to predict exactly what programs will be killed, pushed out, or reduced in scope. As usual, when all of this shakes out there will be winners and losers depending on what programs each company is serving. Regardless, defense procurement is not going to disappear and RF and microwave hardware remains one of the key drivers for communications, radar, EW, avionics, ballistic missile defense…and a lot more.
As a filter manufacturer, I see plenty of opportunities for several reasons. First, interference is getting worse, not better, a trend that will certainly continue as guard bands shrink and new services (and new types of equipment) appear. In the case of distributed antenna systems (including small cells, Wi-Fi hot spots, et al) interference is a potentially enormous issue – and filters as always are a big part of the answer. Filter manufacturers will be pressed to deliver higher levels of rejection, lower levels of PIM, and greater overall performance than ever before.
Fortunately, Anatech Electronics is up to the challenge. We’re increasingly called on to create bandpass filters, duplexers, and multi-function products such as multiband multiplexers that approach the limit of what physics will allow. It’s not easy, but with more than two decades of experience in filter design and manufacturing, we’re delivering.
So if you’re going to IMS 2013 in Seattle and would like to share your needs with us, we’ll be there to accommodate you. Just stop by Booth 2710, send us an e-mail to set up an appointment (firstname.lastname@example.org), or just give us a call at (973) 772-4242.
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