Hear Ye, Hear Ye
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a manufacturer of RF and microwave filters, has published its December newsletter. In
it, Sam Benzacar writes his annual "RF and Microwave: The Year in Review." He addresses
the emerging technologies that are actually making 5G a reality in spite of the seemingly
insurmountable obstacles presented by the realities of physics. We've been there before
with other newfangled technologies; i.e., Bluetooth. Sam has a very quotable line regarding
the driverless vehicle craze, "And for laughs, there's always driverless vehicles, a
goal driven (it seems to me) by people who either don't drive or hate to." Maybe, just
maybe, he will be writing in his 2028 year-in-review about the unexpected success of
driverless vehicles. "The future" always manages to get here, even if a little late.
There are also a few news items relevant to Anatech Electronics' business (that would
be RF filters).
A Word from Sam Benzacar
RF and Microwave:
The Year in Review
By Sam Benzacar
For the last nine years in this column I've looked back on how the RF and microwave
industry fared in the previous 12 months. It's more than an exercise; it helps me (and
hopefully you as well) consider what the next year might bring. So, let's look back on
the year that was from the unique perspective of the microwave industry, and the obvious
first place to start is the fifth generation of cellular.
Two years ago, accomplishing all or even half of what had been promised for 5G seemed
to me unlikely at best and probably impossible in some cases. Taken at face value, operation
at 60 GHz, round-trip latency of 1 ms, download speeds of 1 Gb/s, and other goals seemed
to defy logic if not the laws of physics. But the more you learn about the truly massive
global efforts to make 5G a reality, the more plausible these goals become, perhaps not
all of them right away, but surely in the following years.
For example, operating at millimeter-wave frequencies of 28 GHz and above is an enormous
challenge, which is why few commercial applications have ever used this spectrum. In
fact, it's likely no one would be trying it today if not for the allure of virtually
unlimited bandwidth. Nevertheless, bandwidth is the core requirement for cellular to
grow in the decades to come and millimeter wavelengths, especially those above about
40 GHz, are basically vacant. So, there's no time like the present to take a deep breath
and dig in.
Last year, Nokia, Huawei, Samsung, and many others demonstrated that communication
at these wavelengths is indeed possible given the proper resources. The U.S. also took
a major leap forward this year in establishing the nationwide public safety broadband
system administered by FirstNet, as AT&T was awarded the contract to build it, and
states began opting in or in some cases out if they chose an alternative approach. It's
taken more than a decade to reach this point, and huge obstacles were surmounted along
the way, but the network or at least most of it will be built by the end of the decade.
It's also arguable that 2017 was the year that IoT became more than a grandiose plan
to connect everything connectable, primarily by wireless means. Like 5G, the promises
for IoT have been so all-encompassing that the acronym has earned a long-term place on
Gartner's "Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies" list. It's still there, and isn't likely
to disappear, because like 5G IoT has so much momentum and so many stakeholders that
failure isn't an option, at least in the long term. In the meantime, it's going to be
a rough ride.
And for laughs, there's always driverless vehicles, a goal driven (it seems to me)
by people who either don't drive or hate to. The technical challenges to make autonomous
vehicles possible are truly immense, and communication between vehicles and between vehicles
and external sensors is a hurdle that finally was addressed in a realistic fashion this
year. That is, the 1999 decision to use 5.9 GHz for this purpose (Dedicated Short-Range
Communications, or DSRC) is no longer the best solution.
The cellular industry is making its case for LTE and later 5G as the solution, as
they might be expected to, but it makes sense. These developments are just a few of those
with potential impact on the RF and microwave industry that occurred this year. Overall,
it was a good year for the industry, especially because 5G, IoT, FirstNet, and others
are new markets that are just emerging and will (or should) be new revenue sources for
So, on behalf of everyone at Anatech Electronics, enjoy the holiday season and the
coming new year!
Pet Face Recognition for Pets?
Microsoft recently showed off a new feature in Windows
10 IoT Core, the subset of Windows dedicated to smaller devices, that can recognize a
pet when it attempts to enter a "pet door" in a home. The system uses sensors and motors
to automate the process of identifying a pet, after which a motion sensor is triggered
that activates a webcam. Capturing a few frames of the animal, images are processed using
a classifier, granting rejecting an animal's access. The process takes a few seconds.
Microwave Energy, Missile Destroyer?
High-power microwave directed energy weapons are
back on the radar thanks to North Korea's expanding ballistic missile capabilities. With
enough radiated power, the story goes, it might be possible to defeat missiles on the
launch pad or just after launch not by blowing them up but by disabling their electronics
using massive amounts of RF power. An AIM-120 AMRAAM missile launched by an F-35 fighter
might be an option, as could whatever finally emerges from the Counter-Electronics High-Power
Advanced Microwave Project (CHAMP) program in development for years by Boeing and the
Air Force Research Laboratory. Details like power output are closely held.
Sprint Hits 140 Mb/s Using License Assisted Access
Sprint has demonstrated its ability to achieve up
to 140 Mb/s using Licensed Assisted Access (LAA) in a modest 5-MHz channel. The carrier
is offering a small cell from SpiderCloud for is 1.9-GHz spectrum with 2.5 GHz support
coming next year. The goal is to make LTE small cell deployment as easy as Wi-Fi. It
uses a "listen-before-talk" approach to prevent interference. The SpiderCloud system
employs self-organizing/self-optimizing network (SON) technology to adapt to changing
signal density conditions as well as an integrated W-Fi chipset to sniff the Wi-Fi environment.
LAA pairs licensed and unlicensed spectrum (potentially including the new 3.5 GHz CBRS
spectrum in the U.S.).
Check out Our Filter Products
Band Pass Filters
LC Band Pass Filters Cavity Bandstop/Notch Filter
About Anatech Electronics
Anatech Electronics, Inc. (AEI) specializes in the design and manufacture of standard
and custom RF and microwave filters and other passive components and subsystems employed
in commercial, industrial, and aerospace and applications. Products are available from
an operating frequency range of 10 kHz to 30 GHz and include cavity, ceramic, crystal,
LC, and surface acoustic wave (SAW), as well as power combiners/dividers, duplexers and
diplexers, directional couplers, terminations, attenuators, circulators, EMI filters,
and lightning arrestors. The company's custom products and capabilities are available
Anatech Electronics, Inc.
70 Outwater Lane
Garfield, NJ 07026
Posted December 18, 2017