Not "Connected" Enough: Here Comes LTE Direct
LTE Direct, developed by Qualcomm, is one of the new features emerging within the standard that lets your
smartphone communicate with others nearby without going through the carrier's network. It can automatically
discover nearby people, businesses, and other places, has a range of about 1500 ft., and uses little power so
reduced battery life isn't likely to be an issue. Facebook and Yahoo love it as it offers yet another way to
connect us with other people as well as businesses that could of course can be used to promote themselves to
someone within reach.
Apple and partner retailers like Macy's have already dabbled in this with the Bluetooth-based iBeacon and
Yahoo is building apps to create virtual tour guides. Tell the Yahoo app how much time you've got and it will
suggest a route that takes you past "points of interest." LTE Direct-capable devices are likely emerge late
Gallium nitride has achieved in less than a decade the status of DoD's Manufacturing Readiness Level 8 (MRL
8), one level lower than ready for full production. One of the big remaining issues is dissipating all the heat
that GaN's high power density delivers along with RF power. The most promising candidate is replacing silicon
carbide (SiC) substrates with industrial diamond, which sounds like fantasy but has already demonstrated its
ability in a DARPA program, tripling thermal performance over SiC. Diamond has the highest thermal conductivity
of any material on Earth, so making this technology producible could strip away the barriers to achieving GaN's
full potential. Watch this space.
RF Worse for Kids Than Adults?
A report from the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research suggests that we should limit
children's exposure to RF energy because they absorb it more easily than adults. Some of their other conclusions
are that fetuses absorb it even more readily so pregnant women should avoid exposing their fetus to microwave
radiation, adolescent girls and women should not place cellphones in their bras, current exposure limits are
inadequate and should be revised, and toys that are wireless enabled should be monitored more closely or possibly
banned. Of course, few people will pay any attention to these findings as they haven't heeded previous warnings,
RF energy is essentially unavoidable, and no one seems to be keeling over from exposure to it.
Microwaveable food packaging: $14 billion by 2020?
Believe it or not, the microwave packaging industry– that is, the containers in which microwavable foods
are housed--will reach $14 billion in sales by 2020, according to a report from Global Industry Analysts. The
report predicts that microwave packaging solutions will in the future use sensors, fuzzy logic, digital displays,
and automatic features to improve the "microwave cooking experience". They will be built to intelligently communicate
to the consumer when to stir, uncover, add salt, etc.
Want a Stellar Job? Try Seattle
X, the commercial launch company founded by Paypal founder and Tesla Motors owner Elon Musk, is looking for
people with experience in avionics and hardware design as well as antenna engineers, a microwave engineer, and
a system network architect, all to be based in Seattle. In fact, Seattle is becoming a boom town for space-qualified
engineering talent, thanks to Boeing (which is actually moving 1,000 people to facilities in North Carolina),
Amazon's founder Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's Stratolaunch Systems, Planetary
Resources, Aerojet Rocketdyne, and others.
Interference and the New Year
Well here we are in 2015, which like last year promises to be a year of change within the microwave industry.
There will be new services emanating from LTE, movement in First Net's challenge to build out an LTE-based nationwide
public safety broadband network, more hand-wringing over the shrinking defense budget, and lots more. While
I'm not clairvoyant, I'm safe in projecting that one thing won't change, and that's interference. Or at least
there won't be any less of it.
The reason is pretty simple: Wireless services are crammed closer together as well as alongside other services,
new frequencies above about 2.3 GHz are being more fully utilized for wireless services, the so-called Internet
of Things will begin to connect every available person, place, or thing to the Internet usually without wires
-- and this is just the short list.
of this connectivity is wonderful but it's not "free" as interference has to be addressed, ideally as early
as possible in the design stage but all-too-typically afterward. No matter how many smart antennas, beamforming
networks, and signal processing tools are applied to the problem, RF interference will find a way to spoil the
As I've said times in this column, RF and microwave filters are the universal solution for solving interference
problems in the design process when they can be predicted and compensated for, or in existing systems when they
suddenly appear as a new service, base station, or other emitter goes "live" that wasn't there before.
Anatech Electronics has been helping designers create interference-free products and commercial and military
engineers and technicians solve issues in deployed systems for nearly 25 years. So at the first mention of interference,
call us first because we've based our reputation on helping people keep interference in check.
Check out some of our general product lines!
LC Band Pass Filters
AEI lumped-element (LC) band pass ﬁlters range in frequency from 10 kHz to 2500 MHz, and are based on LC
tank circuits consisting of parallel or series inductors and capacitors. They are relatively small and are optimized
to achieve peak performance within a given set of speciﬁcations and mechanical requirements.
Low Pass Filters
Anatech Electronics lumped element (LC) low pass ﬁlters exhibit high performance resulting in low insertion
loss and high selectivity. Standard designs have a 0.05-dB Chebyshev response, Butterworth, elliptic, minimum
delay response types. Anatech Electronics RF low pass ﬁlters range in length from 0.5 in. to more than 15 in,
or more depending on the operating frequency, power handling, insertion loss, and other electrical requirements.