Testing Aerospace

For nearly a decade, Coilcraft Critical Products & Services (CPS) has designed and built critical-grade components for use in military, aerospace, medical and other harsh-environment applications where durability and reliability are of paramount importance. To meet these demands, Coilcraft CPS tests components to extremes, far exceeding performance ratings of standard commercial parts. All components are manufactured, tested and certified by Coilcraft CPS without third-party alterations or testing, ensuring complete and documented control of all processes.

With hundreds of space missions under its belt, Coilcraft CPS is well positioned for all its clients’ aerospace applications. Leading aerospace companies rely on the company’s proven space-grade RF and power magnetic featuring:

  • Custom termination plating including Sn/Pb and gold
  • Extended temperature ranges (-55°C to +300°C)
  • Vibration testing to 80 g / shock testing to 1,000 g
  • Low outgassing to NASA specifications
  • ESCC qualified (Level 2) components
  • QPL applied

Coilcraft CPS also offers comprehensive product testing and validation services in accordance with established industry standards, as well as custom screening to cients’ electrical and physical specifications.

Visit Coilcraft at Space Tech Expo Europe 2017 in stand E92

Courtesy of www.spacetechexpo.eu


Smiths Interconnect Launches Brand Transition To Simplify Customer Access to Technologies and Solutions.

Smiths Interconnect, a division of Smiths Group plc, today announces it is unifying its technology brands of EMC Technology, Hypertac, IDI, Lorch, Millitech, RF Labs, Sabritec, TECOM, and TRAK under the single brand identity of ‘Smiths Interconnect’.

This brand transition supports a recent strategic reorganisation focused on creating a more agile structure that can better anticipate and respond to customers’ evolving needs.

Individually, the technology brands represent state-of-the-art solutions across the connectors, microwave components and microwave subsystems markets. Providing a strong umbrella brand that supports the breadth of these products and technologies will make Smiths Interconnect a more comprehensive solutions provider, improving the customer experience by streamlining access and interactions across multiple applications.

“Over time, interactions among our brands have increased across many of our markets,” said Roland Carter, President of Smiths Interconnect. “Aligning all this activity under the Smiths Interconnect name will make us a more streamlined partner, enhancing our customers’ access to the combined strength of our products, expertise and application knowledge.”

The individual technology brands will continue to be visible in association with the Smiths Interconnect brand during the transition period. Customers and other stakeholders are encouraged to visit www.smithsinterconnect.com/faq for more information.

About Smiths Interconnect

Smiths Interconnect is a leading provider of technically differentiated electronic components, subsystems, microwave and radio frequency products that connect, protect and control critical applications in the commercial aviation, defense, space, medical, rail, semiconductor test, wireless telecommunications, and industrial markets. Smiths Interconnect is synonymous with exceptional performance whenever a technologically advanced, high quality solution is required to ensure reliability and safety.

Smiths Interconnect is part of Smiths Group, a global leader in applying advanced technologies for markets in threat and contraband detection, energy, medical devices, communications and engineered components.  Smiths Group employs approximately 22,000 people in more than 50 countries.



Qorvo is your smart RF partner in building tomorrow’s connected world.

Every day Qorvo helps customers build a better world. We love partnering on the toughest RF problems. Think of us as your Smartner™ — your smart RF partner. We have all the RF smarts and solutions in one company, to solve any connectivity challenge customers bring. Often our technologists anticipate them before you even ask.

There’s no one like Qorvo. Decades of experience. The industry’s broadest array of technologies and products. Scale and speed to deliver complete solutions. Across unlimited markets: mobile devices, network infrastructure, defense and IoT. As RF complexity increases, our differentiation, our passion, will serve you well.

SMARTNER is a claimed trademark of Qorvo, Inc.


Qorvo is the Smartner™ choice for all things RF.

Peregrine Semiconductor, A Murata Company, Acquires Arctic Sand Technologies

Arctic Sand’s Disruptive Power Conversion Technology, Coupled with Peregrine’s Semiconductor Expertise, Will Accelerate Murata’s Vision to Revolutionize Power Electronics

SAN DIEGO – March 20, 2017 – Peregrine Semiconductor Corp., a Murata company and the founder of RF SOI (silicon on insulator), today announces the acquisition of Arctic Sand Technologies. An MIT spin-off, Arctic Sand designs and manufactures low-power semiconductors for use in DC-DC power conversion applications. This strategic acquisition will accelerate Murata’s vision to revolutionize power electronics with the world’s smallest, most efficient power solutions.

“Arctic Sand is the epitome of an innovative startup,” says Jim Cable, chairman and CTO of Peregrine Semiconductor and global R&D director at Murata Manufacturing. “With this acquisition, Peregrine and Murata gain Arctic Sand’s disruptive technology, strong IP portfolio and world-class team. With a vision to revolutionize the power electronics industry, we’re building the power integrated circuit (IC) ‘dream team’. We will now leverage Peregrine’s semiconductor expertise to accelerate the adoption of Arctic Sand’s technology and their ability to ship in volume. With this acquisition, we’re one step closer to dramatically smaller, lighter, faster and more efficient power solutions.”

Through this acquisition, Arctic Sand’s low-power semiconductors will be added to Murata’s existing product lineup in order to enhance and expand its power module business in not just the telecommunications market, but also the data communications and industrial electrical markets. Furthermore, Murata will be able to accelerate Arctic Sand’s existing business targeting applications in mobile computing, smartphones and LCD display panels. Arctic Sand will continue to develop high efficiency power conversion ICs and now has the added benefit of Peregrine’s SOI semiconductor expertise and Murata’s industry-leading inductors, capacitors and packaging.

“Bringing together Arctic Sand’s low-power semiconductor technologies and Murata’s technologies will allow us to lead the way in providing products that satisfy the needs of customers in growing markets where there is demand for small footprints, low profiles and power savings,” says Norio Nakajima, executive vice president, Communication & Sensor Business Unit/Energy Business Unit, Murata Manufacturing Co., Ltd.

Arctic Sand’s technology delivers industry-leading power conversion efficiency so that platforms for a variety of applications can be made thinner. In certain applications, Arctic Sand’s technology reduces the space occupied by power components by 50 percent, reduces the height of component by 3x, reduces losses in power management by up to one half and increases platform run time by more than one hour. Combining this technology with Murata’s modular technologies will make it possible to provide solutions with high integration and excellent conversion efficiency in a wide range of low-power fields. Demand for these technologies is expected to grow even further as electrical and electronic components become smaller and thinner.

Peregrine, a subsidiary of Murata, originally identified Arctic Sand’s technology as a key component for successful development of disruptive power management solutions. Peregrine became a Murata company in Dec. 2014 and has since added a power electronics design team with focused efforts on fast switching active devices and innovative circuit design. With design centers in London and San Diego, Peregrine’s power IC team will integrate and collaborate with Arctic Sand’s teams in Boston and Silicon Valley.

“This highly synergistic acquisition will enable Arctic Sand’s disruptive technology to gain widespread market traction,” says Gary Davison, CEO of Arctic Sand Technologies, “With the added strengths of Murata and Peregrine, we can bring game-changing innovation to a power electronics market that desperately needs it.”

For more information on Arctic Sand’s disruptive technology, visit Arctic Sand at APEC booth #432.

For Arctic Sand sales information, please contact the sales team at Peregrine Semiconductor (sales@psemi.com)


Arctic Sand was founded to bring game-changing power conversion semiconductors to market, based on technology born at MIT. Company headquarters is now in Burlington MA, with product design centers in Burlington, MA and Santa Clara, CA, and with sales / customer support offices in Silicon Valley and Taiwan. For more information, visit Arctic Sand’s website at www.arcticsand.com.


Peregrine Semiconductor Corporation, a Murata company, is the founder of RF silicon on insulator (SOI) and is a leading fabless provider of high-performance, integrated RF solutions. Since 1988 Peregrine and its founding team have been perfecting UltraCMOS® technology—a patented, advanced form of SOI—to deliver the performance edge needed to solve the RF market’s biggest challenges, such as linearity. By delivering best-in-class performance and monolithic integration, Peregrine’s product portfolio is the trusted choice for market leaders in automotive, broadband, industrial, Internet of Things, mobile devices, smartphones, space, test-and-measurement equipment and wireless infrastructure. A Murata company since December 2014, Peregrine holds more than 300 issued and pending patents and has shipped over 3.5 billion UltraCMOS units. For more information, visit www.psemi.com.


Murata Manufacturing Co., Ltd. is a worldwide leader in the design, manufacture and sale of ceramic-based passive electronic components & solutions, communication modules and power supply modules. Murata is committed to the development of advanced electronic materials and leading edge, multi-functional, high-density modules. The company has employees and manufacturing facilities throughout the world. For more information, visit Murata’s website at www.murata.com.


The Peregrine Semiconductor name, logo, and UltraCMOS are registered trademarks of Peregrine Semiconductor Corporation in the U.S.A., and other countries. All other trademarks mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.

APEC 2017 brings in new products from Knowles Capacitors

APEC 2017 will see Knowles Capacitors exhibiting a range of new and updated products from its Syfer, Novacap and DLI brands. Visitors to booth 739 will have the chance to see range extensions in AEC-Q200 qualified products, new thin film technology and high reliability capacitors.

Syfer branded AEC-Q200 approved ranges offer a voltage rating of up to 3kV, meeting the requirements of modern automotive applications including EV and HEV. Three such products are 250V ac Safety Certified Capacitors; High Temperature X8R Capacitors (up to 150OC) and Surface Mount EMI Feedthrough Filters.  All are available with their award winning FlexiCap™ flexible termination to reduce the risk of mechanical cracking.

There will also be a number of Hi-Rel caps on show including specialty feed-through capacitors, high voltage capacitors assemblies and vertical mount capacitors. Syfer and Novacap branded Hi-Rel products are designed for optimum reliability and find uses with various demanding applications including Space, Military and Civil aviation, Industrial, Rail and Medical.

From DLI, a particular highlight will be the PX range, a high-reliability solution for DC blocking in a wide variety of applications – semiconductor data communications, receiver optical subassemblies, trans-impedance amplifiers and test equipment. The new PX Series compliments DLI’s performance leading OptiCap® broadband devices, which provides DC blocking performance from 16 KHz to 40 GHz, but in a more low profile. The PX series provides a surface mount, low cost, solution that exhibits ultra-broadband performance, extremely low insertion loss, low frequency stability and excellent return loss across the wide bandwidth.


Nordic Semiconductor nRF52840 supports the Bluetooth5 features Long Range, High throughput and Advertising Extensision


Advanced multi-protocol SoC supporting Bluetooth 5/ANT/ 802.15.4/ 2.4GHz proprietary

The nRF52840 is an advanced multi-protocol SoC ideally suited for ultra low-power wireless applications. The nRF52840 SoC is built around a 32-bit ARM® Cortex™-M4F CPU with 1MB flash and 256kB RAM on chip. The embedded 2.4GHz transceiver supports Bluetooth® low energy (Bluetooth 5), 802.15.4, ANT and proprietary 2.4GHz protocols. It is on-air compatible with existing nRF52 Series, nRF51 Series, and nRF24 Series products from Nordic Semiconductor.
Bluetooth 5

The nRF52840 has hardware support on-chip for Bluetooth 5. This includes long range, high throughput and advertising extensions. It supports all Bluetooth low energy physical layer bit rates and modulation schemes.

Bluetooth 5 long range supported
Bluetooth 5 high throughput supported
Bluetooth 5 advertising extension supported

Processing power

The nRF52840 incorporates a powerful Cortex-M4F processor running at 64 MHz enabling the most demanding applications with complex arithmetic requirements to be realized in a single chip solution. This CPU configuration supports DSP instructions, HW accelerated Floating Point Unit (FPU) calculations, single-cycle multiply and accumulate, and hardware divide for energy-efficient processing complex operations.

Multiprotocol radio

The 2.4GHz radio supports multiple protocols including Bluetooth low energy, ANT, 802.15.4 and 2.4GHz proprietary. It supports Bluetooth low energy 2Mbs and 1Mbs and Bluetooth 5 long range (500kbs and 125kbs). The radio supports high resolution RSSI measurement and automated functions to reduce CPU load, including EasyDMA for direct memory access for packet data and assembly. Nordic provides protocol stacks for Bluetooth low energy. ANT protocol stacks are available from ANT.

Memory to expand

The nRF52840 has extensive on-chip memory in both flash (1MB) and RAM (256kB) offering powerful possibilities for today’s advanced wireless applications.

Power Efficiency

The nRF52840 SoC employs power and resource management to maximize application energy efficiency and battery life. The supply range between 1.7V and 5.5V supports primary and secondary cell battery technologies and direct USB supply without the need for external regulators. All peripherals have independent and automated clock and power management to ensure they are powered down when not required for task operation to keep power consumption to a minimum without the application having to implement and test complex power management schemes.The nRF52840 has a comprehensive system of automated and adaptive power management features. These features are built into all aspects of device operation from power supply switching, to peripheral bus/EasyDMA memory management, and automated shut down of all but the absolute essential peripherals required to perform a task.

ARM® TrustZone® Cryptocell-310

ARM Cryptocell-310 is a powerful on-chip cryptographic co-processor providing cryptographic functions and services to speed up operations significantly, save CPU processing time and reduce energy consumption. It incorporates a true random number generator (TRNG) and support for a wide range of asymmetric, symmetric and hashing cryptographic services for secure applications.

On-chip NFC tag

NFC™-A tag support is included on chip. NFC Type 2 and Type 4 tag emulation protocol stacks are provided by Nordic opening up a range of new applications, like NFC payment, and improved user experience for existing BLE applications with Out-of-Band (OOB) pairing. OOB pairing using NFC simplifies the process of authenticated pairing between two Bluetooth devices by exchanging authentication information over an NFC link.

USB 2.0

The nRF52840 has on-chip USB 2.0 (Full speed) support and on-chip VBUS regulation allowing for direct connection to USB hosts for data transfer and direct USB power for hosted applications.

Package options

The nRF52840 is available in 7x7mm 73pin AQFN package with 48 available GPIO.


The Nordic protocol stacks are known as SoftDevices. The nRF52840 is supported by the S140 SoftDevice. The S140 SoftDevice is a Bluetooth 5 pre-qualified Bluetooth low energy protocol stack.

More information on the nRF52840 can be found on our Infocenter


  • Advanced Single chip 2.4 GHz multi-protocol SoC
  • 32-bit ARM Cortex-M4F Processor
  • 1.7v to 5.5v operation
  • 1MB flash + 256kB RAM
  • Bluetooth 5 support for long range and high throughput
  • 802.15.4 radio support
  • On-chip NFC
  • PPI –Programmable Peripheral Interconnect
  • Automated power management system with automatic power management of each peripheral
  • Configurable I/O mapping for analog and digital I/O
  • 48 x GPIO
  • 1 x QSPI
  • 4 x Master/Slave SPI
  • 2 x Two-wire interface (I²C)
  • I²S interface
  • 2 x UART
  • 4 x PWM
  • USB 2.0 controller
  • ARM TrustZone CryptoCell-310 Cryptographic and security module
  • AES 128-bit ECB/CCM/AAR hardware accelerator
  • Digital microphone interface (PDM)
  • Quadrature decoder
  • 12-bit ADC
  • Low power comparator
  • On-chip 50Ω balun
  • On-air compatible with nRF52, nRF51 and nRF24 Series


  • Advanced high performance wearables
  • Wearables for secure payments
  • Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality systems
  • Smart Home sensor networks
  • Smart city sensor networks
  • High performance HID controllers
  • Internet of Things (IoT) sensor networks
  • Smart door locks
  • Smart lighting networks
  • Connected white goods


Product Brief Description
nRF52840 Preview DK Development Kit for nRF52840 SoC
nRF52832 Multiprotocol Bluetooth low energy/ANT/2.4GHz SoC
Power Profiler Kit Current measurement tool for embedded development
nRF5 SDK Software Development Kit for nRF51 and nRF52 Series
nRF5 SDK for Thread Software Development Kit for the Thread solutions on the nRF52840
S140 Bluetooth 5 protocol stack for nRF52840


u-blox NINA-W1 – the most secure Wi‑Fi IoT modules for industrial markets

The u-blox NINA-W1 series of stand-alone Wi-Fi modules offers exceptional security features, making them particularly valuable in demanding applications that require secure wireless connectivity. NINA-W1’s secure Wi-Fi connectivity can:
• connect video cameras to alarm centers,
• gather information for improved healthcare monitoring,
• increase flexibility through point-of-sale device mobility,
• make industrial connected tools and equipment more efficient,
• offer new possibilities for smart appliances,
• and transmit collected vehicle status information to a fleet operations center.

The NINA-W1 series is tamper-proof because it communicates only via original u-blox software and offers end-to-end Wi-Fi security. The NINA-W1 stand-alone module series is all about high security, low power consumption, small footprint, antenna options, and global certification. NINA-W1 offers the most secure Wi-Fi modules for industrial markets. www.u-blox.com/nina-w1

Bluetooth bus ticketing trial in Britain

By Pär Håkansson March 22, 2017

Bus passengers in a town in northern England are testing a mobile ticketing system that uses Bluetooth beacons and a smartphone app instead of buying a ticket.

Mobile ticketing on buses around the world is nothing new, but most solutions still require the user to buy a ticket. In cities where regular bus passengers already use a mobile app to pay and/or store their tickets, it’s a small step forward to automate the system with Bluetooth beacons.

The 662Pay pilot has begun on the Keighley Bus Company Shuttle service between the towns of Keighley and Bradford, and runs until 26 March. To encourage use of the service, volunteers receiving a 50% discount on their travel throughout the trial period.

Bluetooth beacons on public transport

Users will have their journeys recorded by the beacons before the system charges them for the best value ticket at the end of the period. For instance, if a user takes four journeys during the week, the system will automatically charge them for a weekly pass if that is cheaper than four individual journeys. This is similar to how the Oyster card system works on London Transport.

> Read more: Why doesn’t my smartphone prompt me to buy a ticket at the station?

Smartphones within range of the beacon will receive a signal that tracks when the user boards the bus and how far they travel. Beacons are an interesting example of IoT technology that does not nag the user for interaction. They do most of the magic in the background, requiring the user just to tap the “ride” button on an app and show this to the driver for authentication.

Towards a fully-automated system

If successfully implemented, the Bluetooth bus ticketing system is another step forward towards a seamless automated system. In an ideal model, passengers would just board the bus with no action required from them. But such a model would require a conductor on board to check that everyone on the bus was using the system. Otherwise, what’s to stop a passenger simply disabling Bluetooth or turning their phone off before they board the bus?

The beacon requires an app to store authenticatication and payment settings for the passenger. An additional physical-web capable beacon (Eddystone beacon) could also benefit those who are not using the app, by making timetable and other location-aware information available to them in a browser.

Such a system should be cheaper than continuing to develop real-time information monitors seen in many cities, and could bring real-time information to many rural areas for the first time.

Read more: What’s next for personal location based services


Peregrine Semiconductor Introduces SP6T, SP8T and SP12T High Performance RF Switches with Extended Temperature Range

Peregrine’s New UltraCMOS® High-throw Count RF Switches Deliver Industry-leading Performance Across a Wide Temperature Range of -55 to +125 Degrees Celsius

SAN DIEGO – Mar. 7, 2017 – Peregrine Semiconductor Corp., founder of RF SOI (silicon on insulator) and pioneer of advanced RF solutions, announces the UltraCMOS® PE426462, PE426482 and PE426412 high-throw count, high performance RF switches. Optimized for applications that demand extreme temperature support, these SP6T, SP8T and SP12T switches deliver industry-leading performance across a wide temperature range of -55 to +125 degrees Celsius. With high isolation, low insertion loss and a fast RF TRISE/ TFALL time, these absorptive switches boast the high performance specifications necessary to utilize the full potential of a high-throw count design.

Peregrine Semiconductor introduces SP6T, SP8T and SP12T high performance RF switches with an extended temperature range.

Peregrine Semiconductor introduces SP6T, SP8T and SP12T high performance RF switches with an extended temperature range.

“Markets such as radar and harsh industrial have stringent performance requirements, where each component must operate flawlessly in extreme temperature environments,” says Kinana Hussain, director of marketing at Peregrine Semiconductor. “The PE426462, PE426482 and PE426412 high-throw count RF switches are an ideal solution for these designs that require high reliability, flexibility and top performance. Once again, Peregrine’s UltraCMOS technology has taken performance to the next level.”

In RF switching, the number of selectable paths corresponds to the throw count of the switch. For example, a SP12T switch, like the PE426412, may have up to 12 selectable paths, allowing the design to easily cycle through different sets of functions and multi-function designs. The PE426462, PE426482 and PE426412 switches also feature a logic selection (LS) pin, which provides maximum control logic flexibility.

Features, Packaging, Price and Availability

The PE426462 (SP6T), PE426482 (SP8T) and PE426412 (SP12T) RF switches support an extended temperature range from -55 to +125 degrees Celsius. Each absorptive high-throw count switch has a fast switching time of approximately 200 nanoseconds and a fast RF TRISE/ TFALL time of 100 nanoseconds. Covering a broad frequency spectrum from 10 MHz to 8 GHz, the switches have high isolation, low insertion loss and high linearity across the entire frequency range.

The PE426462 and PE426482 are offered in a 24-lead 4 x 4 mm QFN package, while the PE426412 is available in a 32-lead 5 x 5 mm QFN package. Samples and evaluation kits are available now. Volume-production parts will be available at the end of March.

In addition to these three high-throw count switches, Peregrine today introduces high-throw count, high performance switches for the wireless infrastructure market and test & measurement applications.

The following table displays isolation, insertion loss, linearity, switching time and RF TRISE/ TFALL time at +25 degrees Celsius.


Peregrine Semiconductor Corporation, a Murata company, is the founder of RF silicon on insulator (SOI) and is a leading fabless provider of high-performance, integrated RF solutions. Since 1988 Peregrine and its founding team have been perfecting UltraCMOS® technology—a patented, advanced form of SOI—to deliver the performance edge needed to solve the RF market’s biggest challenges, such as linearity. By delivering best-in-class performance and monolithic integration, Peregrine’s product portfolio is the trusted choice for market leaders in automotive, broadband, industrial, Internet of Things, mobile devices, smartphones, space, test-and-measurement equipment and wireless infrastructure. A Murata company since December 2014, Peregrine holds more than 300 issued and pending patents and has shipped over 3.5 billion UltraCMOS units. For more information, visit http://www.psemi.com.


The Peregrine Semiconductor name, logo, and UltraCMOS are registered trademarks of Peregrine Semiconductor Corporation in the U.S.A., and other countries.  All other trademarks mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.

Antennas for millimeter wave solutions

“Anything is possible!

Around the world, people are gaining the power to create new communities, engage across boundaries, make the world more inclusive, and change the way we do business. Transformation is happening everywhere and in every culture, country, and industry”, extract from www.ericsson.com February 2nd, 2017.

End-user behavior and technology development interacts, iterates and increase the speed of innovation on a daily basis. This can be seen in every corner of society ranging from the dense metropolitan areas with “smart city” ambitions to the outskirt of rural areas, where a connected home or a connected village can be the difference between starvation and prosperity. This rapid development continuously puts new requirements on products and solutions and fuels innovation on a daily basis.

Bandwidth and speed are parameters of great interest when end-users consume “gigabits by the hour”. Traditionally, fiber based connections and optical technology has been seen as the only real future proof solution to support the never-ending appetite for capacity. Recently though, we have seen proof points that the fiber based approach does not solve this challenge since considerations around cost and speed of rollout needs to be taken into account to get a viable business case for the operator and the end-user.

It is not long ago we could read about Google Fiber, stating that they will use wireless technology as a strategic component when building a broadband network and providing broadband services to their customers. Recently in Sweden, we also saw a letter to the editor in the biggest financial newspaper [1], where it was highlighted that if the Government shall be successful in their aggressive plans to provide “broadband to the Swedish people”, they need to subsidize not only the fiber rollout, but also the wireless alternatives, i.e. it should be seen as a network wide approach and not only focused on the wireline parts of a network. To some extent, this is old news, but still very interesting when being active in the wireless arena.

This blog is focusing on millimeter wave RF technology and its position on the market and this time I want to highlight one important part of a millimeter wave solution; the antenna.

The antenna is a considerable part of the solution, both from a performance and a cost perspective. The antenna is the key component to address interference and distance. Depending on the antenna design, you can have a wider or more narrow antenna beam that can help you prevent interference and disturbance from other radio sources. You can also design an antenna to provide more or less antenna gain, where a higher gain will help you to reach further. Since the antenna concentrate the emitted energy into the antenna beam, the narrower the beam, the higher gain the antenna can offer.

Since this is “polluting” the open space with radio waves, normally the regulatory bodies have standardized how antennas can be use in various frequency bands. In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) put certain requirements on e.g. antenna gain or Effective Isotropic Radiated Power (EIRP). The EIRP is defined as the output power from a radio plus the antenna gain for a specific antenna. Traditionally, the minimum antenna gain has guaranteed a narrower antenna beam, which reduces interference outside the wanted antenna direction. Since the V-band (60 GHz) is subject to higher free atmospheric loss, the risk of interference is less and therefore the regulations have been changed in the US to allow for lower gain antennas and higher output power. The FCC V-band regulations now allow to have an EIRP of +40 dBm and it is up to the supplier to design with a high gain and low output power or a lower antenna gain and high output power. This type of less stringent regulations allow for other type of antennas, for example with lower gain and transceivers with higher output power, which for example could be WiGig based solutions, that fits the new paradigm much better.

Parabolic antennas
Traditionally the most common antenna technology has been the parabolic antennas for point to point connections. The parabolic antenna is widely used in various use cases ranging from huge satellite communication antennas with a dish diameter of several meters to the point to point radio link communication use case, where the dish diameter is typically 0.2 to 0.6m depending on frequency. The typical antenna gain is between 30 and 46 dBi. Since the traditional point-to-point communication is sending on one frequency and receiving on another simultaneously (FDD mode), there is a need to separate the received signal from the transmitted signal to avoid interference. This is done by using a diplexer between the antenna and the radio transceiver. These diplexers add both cost and complexity, since they often require tuning during production.

Lens antennas
Lens antennas use the mechanical shape of a plastic lens that is fed by a waveguide or planar (PCB) antenna element. It combines low cost, mechanical robustness, flexibility and good electrical performance also for millimeter wave frequencies. This technology can be combined with e.g. a patch antenna technology to improve the performance in terms of directivity and antenna gain. The typical lens antenna for point-to-point links offer a gain between 30 and 45 dBi. Lens antennas can also offer some steer ability if used with electrical beam steering.

Slot antennas
This antenna type often consists of a flat metal surface or even lower cost plastics with one or many holes or slots cut out. These slots are fed with the millimeter wave signal and radiate the electromagnetic wave. The antenna radiation pattern is determined by the shape, size and number of slots. The main advantage of this type of antenna is its size, the relatively simple design, flatness and lower cost in production compared to parabolic antennas.

GAP™ antennas
GAP™ antennas is a type of slot antenna but based on the gap waveguide technology [2], to offer an antenna that combines low cost with good performance and the possibility to integrate both diplexer functionality and beamforming support in its mechanical structure. According to Gapwaves, the first generation of antennas will be available with gain ranging from 26 to 43 dBi at E-band. This type of antenna is a cost competitive alternative to the more common parabolic antennas. Future versions of GAP™ antennas will also enable integration of active electronics into the antenna structure. This will open up the possibility for electrical beam steering and beam forming by using multiple send and receive channels. During Mobile World Congress, Sivers IMA used GAP™ antennas from Gapwaves in our live demo setup.

Patch antennas
An even less costly antenna type is the patch antenna. This is often made of PCB or ceramic low cost substrate, which allow for very low cost and very small form factor. The disadvantage is that it is not typically the type of antenna you use to get a very high gain, e.g. the typical antenna gain ranges from 10-27 dBi depending on antenna size. For example, a 24 dBi antenna for V-band is quite small, only 5×7 cm with less than 5 mm thickness, using 16Tx and 16Rx patches with 5 elements for each path. Recent FCC requirements, gives the possibility to use low gain antennas. This makes it easy to combine low cost, low gain patch antennas with the advantage of electronic beam forming. Typically, these antennas are used when transmitter and receiver are using the same frequency to send and receive during different time slots (TDD), which is the case for solutions like WiGig. Sivers IMA is developing beam forming patch antennas together with Uppsala University, within a project co-funded by Vinnova. It is also worth noticing that patch antennas with beam steering and beam forming will be a very important part in future 5G millimeter wave access solutions.

The antenna is a critical component in all point-to-point or point-to-multi point links, which significantly impacts link budgets and the robustness of the communication system. It is therefore a crucial component to address to achieve better performance, greater functionality and lower cost for a complete link solution.

The regulatory framework allows for the combination of a transceiver with relatively high output power together with a low cost, high performing antenna with relatively low gain and beam forming functionality. This is valid for key markets on the 60 GHz V-band, whereas regulatory discussions are ongoing to make relevant adjustments also for the E-band.

Since the antenna in various use cases will be a vital part in our customer’s implementation, it is necessary to focus and drive innovation also in the antenna space. Our ongoing antenna development together with Uppsala University is an absolute proof point to this, whereas it is also important to monitor the development of emerging technologies with a particular focus on antenna gain in combination with beam forming capabilities. Antenna technology will be critical success factors in both V- and E-band applications as well as for WiGig and 5G use cases.

Anders Storm
Sivers IMA

[1] http://www.di.se/opinion/debatt-tradlost-billigare-och-lika-bra-som-nedgravt/

[2]  http://www.gapwaves.com/