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Anatech Electronics, a manufacturer of RF and microwave filters, has published its June newsletter. As always, it includes both company news and some tidbits about relevant industry happenings. In it, Sam Benzacar discusses, among other topics, the ever-increasing occurrence of RF interference in the Internet of Things (IoT) device population. Both long-occupied and new areas of the electromagnetic spectrum are experiencing a rise in noise floors, necessitating challenging filter designs. Anatech's business is to make certain that system and circuit designers have capable filters available to assure successful implementation. Sam also reports on pirate radio operators and efforts to create radar maps of the world's road systems for use in self-driving cars.
A Word from Sam Benzacar
IoT Interference: It's A Given
By Sam Benzacar
IoT is no longer coming, it's arrived, and with it the potential for interference. No effort is being spared to keep it in check, but as a manufacturer of RF and microwave filters for nearly 27 years, we learned long ago that interference is always a possibility, no matter how hard you try to kill it. Connectivity is a core element of IoT and the concept itself is so broad, transmission protocols so numerous, and its operating frequencies so few, that interference seems inevitable.
Consider short-range connectivity. There are many protocols and standards vying for prominence and they are technically different and mostly incompatible. While one or two will gain the greatest acceptance, some others will probably survive the competition. This means there will be multiple solutions often operating near each other in frequency, creating a situation ripe for interference.
Beyond local connectivity are the solutions for sending the aggregated data from sensors to Internet, of which there are basically two: cellular networks using NB-IoT and Low-Power Wireless Area Network (LPWAN) solutions like Sigfox, LoRaWAN, and Ingenu. Wireless carriers have been dealing with interference for decades but been they continue to find interference a problem, and the LPWAN providers add new signals into the mix.
Last but potentially more onerous are autonomous vehicles that are likely to appear sooner than analysts projected. To gain situational awareness, every vehicle will be equipped with a communication solution, the incumbent being Dedicated Short-Range Communications (DSRC) conceived in the 1990s and made an IEEE standard (802.11p) in 2009. It provides 75 MHz of dedicated spectrum around 5.9 GHz. It's the most likely to be used in the U.S. but the cellular industry is attempting to cash in, offering to use its networks for the same purpose. They may not succeed for now as American auto industry have spent billions of dollars on DSRC and have no interest in making a change.
Collectively, the signals generated by IoT devices will make the airwaves even more congested, creating dense single environments concentrated in a few regions of the spectrum. Unfortunately, operators typically don't know if, how much, and where interference will appear until the networks are deployed. Nor can they know whether harmonics and spurious signals from their own as well as other services will affect operation.
When IoT interference rears its head, the solution will be provided by RF and microwave filters, which remain the most viable tools for mitigating interference in deployed systems. They've saved countless base stations, radars, and assorted other systems faced with errant signals from being degraded or rendered useless. Now they'll be called on to deliver the same benefits to a new family of systems facing a very old menace.
If you're designing IoT systems or experiencing interference when deploying them in the field, reach out to Anatech Electronics. Our RF and microwave filters have solved complex interference problems in every type of system, and we can help solve yours as well. So, please call us at (973) 772-4242 or by email at email@example.com.
Ham Accused of Operating Pirate Radio Station
The FCC has sent amateur radio operator Lyle Hilden, KD6LUL, of Vista, CA, a notice of violation alleging he operated a pirate station at 93.7 MHz in the FM band. According to the FCC, after agents monitored the apparent unlicensed signal and used direction-finding they "positively located" its source as Hilden's residence. Agents inspected Hilden's station and stated in their notice to him that that he (obviously) isn't licensed to be an FM broadcaster. The FCC told Hilden to fully explain any violations and provide relevant facts and circumstances.
Chinese Smartphones Edge up in Sales
More than 380 million smartphones were sold worldwide in the first quarter of 2017, up 9.1% compared to last year, according to Gartner Inc., and Chinese brands Huawei, Oppo, and Vivo collectively captured nearly 24 percent of the market—up from 17% in the same period last year. Samsung remained number one with nearly 21% market share but declined 3% year-over-year while second-place Apple lost 1% to about 14 percent.
Some IoT Initiatives Failing: Cisco Report
A survey of 1,845 people conducted by Cisco found that almost two-thirds of IoT initiatives stall at the proof-of-concept stage and one-third of completed projects fail. The greatest barriers to success cited were time to completion, quality of data, lack of internal expertise, IoT integration, and budget overruns. On the bright side, 64% indicated what they learned in the process helped to accelerate their company's IoT investment, and 61% said they have only begun to discover what IoT can do for their businesses. The top three cited benefits were improved customer satisfaction, operational efficiencies, and improved product quality.
Creating a "Radar Road Signature"
Bosch and TomTom are creating high-resolution localized maps that incorporate a "radar road signature" to help position cars in their surroundings to less than 1 in. The system will supplement video data formerly used for this purpose but unlike cameras it can operate in bad weather. The vehicle will help update maps as the radar will function all the time rather than only when detecting a dangerous situation. The system gathers localization information for situational awareness, planning to help predict the upcoming course of the vehicle, and real-time information about construction work, parking spaces, and traffic congestion.
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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 at www.anatechelectronics.com.
Anatech Electronics, Inc.
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Garfield, NJ 07026
Posted June 22, 2017