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A series of Microwave Application Seminars or “MicroApps” will enable IMS exhibitors to give a 20-min. technical seminar on the state-of-the-art in applications, processes, and products for the microwave industry. These talks will take place at the MicroApps Theater, which is an open stage located at booth 1246. It will provide the forum for interested attendees to stop by while perusing exhibitor booths. A schedule for the MicroApps Theater is provided on the IMS 2014 website. The talks will take place from early morning Tuesday to mid-afternoon Thursday.

Co-Located Conferences

Microwave Week is jam-packed with conferences and symposiums that cover every aspect of the microwave industry. The IEEE Radio Frequency Circuit Symposium, Automatic RF Techniques Group (ARFTG), IMS, and the Microwave Technology Conference (WAMICON) will all be co-located at the Tampa Convention Center. RFIC goes from June 1 to 3. It is followed by the IMS Conference from June 3 to 5. Wrapping up the week, ARFTG and WAMICON are simultaneously staged on June 6th.

The RFIC symposium focuses on the academic and industrial technical accomplishments of integrated RF circuits, devices, and systems. Applications featured at RFIC include high-speed data transceivers, millimeter-wave systems-on-a-chip (SoCs), and wireless mobile ICs. Kicking off the symposium on Sunday will be workshops, an evening of plenary talks/roundtables, and a late evening reception. The Monday and Tuesday sessions offer presentations of contributed papers and lunchtime panels. They end with an interactive forum. 

Microwave Week Makes A Splash In Tampa Bay, Fig. 3

After RFIC and IMS conclude, ARFTG and WAMICON launch to provide an enhanced focus for the microwave community. ARFTG is an in-depth technical organization geared toward the RF/microwave test and measurement community. The conference encourages peer interaction between experts in test and measurement technology, who can collaborate on the latest industry challenges. In recent years, the ARFTG conference has expanded its offerings as the industry’s interests have grown. It now encompasses computer-aided design (CAD), metrology measurement, connector repeatability, nonlinear measurements, multi-port network analysis, and many other cutting-edge aspects of the field. In addition, the conference features a microwave measurement conference, measurement short course, and a free service for S-parameter measurement comparisons among different laboratories.

In response to the advanced multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary R&D aspects of RF/microwave wireless technology, WAMICON 2014 promises to address the latest cross-discipline challenges. This year, emerging RF/microwave technologies and wireless communications will be the main focuses. Researchers working with emerging technologies in the fields of biomedical applications, wireless sensing, energy harvesting, wireless power transfer, terahertz technologies, nano-devices, and circuits are specifically encouraged to contribute. For its part, the wireless-communications portions will spotlight developers on the bleeding edge in cognitive radio, advanced data networks, ultrawideband, multiple input multiple output (MIMO), multicarrier approaches, spread spectrum, channel characterization/modeling, and software-defined radios.

Taking A Peak With Test And Measurement

At IMS, the main attractions outside of the conference are the cutting-edge technology products showcased on the exhibition floor. Almost 600 companies from all over the globe will be featuring their latest products at this year’s show, including test and measurement equipment, design/simulation software, components, devices, and semiconductor products to meet every demand in the field.

The test and measurement industry, for example, will welcome a wealth of new releases and testing capabilities from companies like Aeroflex, Agilent, Anritsu, National Instruments, and Rohde & Schwarz. The new TM500 LTE-A Test Mobile and E500 Capacity Test System from Aeroflex, for example, support the aggregation of three component carriers (3 CC). Carrier aggregation of 3 CC allows mobile network operators to achieve data rates to 450 Mbit/s on their LTE-A networks. “The TM500 Test Mobile is the first commercial infrastructure test platform to offer 3 CC,” says Shusina Ngwa, product manager at Aeroflex. “Offering this capability at such an early stage is crucial to enable network performance to be tested and validated ahead of the availability of end-user terminals and handsets.”

Microwave Week Makes A Splash In Tampa Bay, Fig. 4

Agilent Technologies is expected to be putting forth a lot of effort into rebranding its Electronic Measurement Group as Keysight Technologies. In terms of products, the firm is expanding its lower-profile product offerings by introducing the M9393A. This 27-GHz, PXIe vector signal analyzer delivers microwave measurement technology in a PXI form factor. It is suited to the manufacturing and design validation of transmitters and components for radar, military, satellite, and commercial wireless communications. Also on hand at the show will be Agilent’s’ FieldFox Handheld Analyzers, which have received an upgrade for radar installation and maintenance (I&M). As a result, the firm claims there is finally a viable alternative to expensive, lab-grade instruments that make time-consuming measurements.

To serve a wider audience, Anritsu is releasing a 70-kHz-to-145-GHz broadband vector network analyzer (VNA) system with a single-coax connection. Called the VectorStar ME7838D, it promises to give design engineers greater confidence when performing on-wafer device characterization at 70 GHz and beyond. By conducting a single sweep on a device over multiple RF, microwave, and millimeter-wave waveguide bands, it claims to enable engineers to more accurately characterize devices. As a result, engineers can create more accurate models and enjoy fewer design turns when devices are used in applications. Sample applications include 77-GHz car radar, E-band wireless communications, 94-GHz remote sensing and airport radar, and emerging applications beyond 110 GHz.

National Instruments will be showcasing capabilities ranging from power-amplifier (PA) design through test. A wide range of PA technologies will be demonstrated including envelope tracking and digital predistortion. The booth will feature solutions from AWR’s software environment as well as NI’s PXI measurement technology. Much of the attendee attention will likely go to the USRP RIO 2×2 MIMO software-defined radio (SDR), which will make its debut at the show. According to Farris Alhorr, SDR product manager at National Instruments, “Together, the NI LabVIEW software and NI USRP RIO compose an ideal platform for rapidly prototyping high-performance, multichannel wireless-communication systems like the 5G massive MIMO testbed being developed by Lund University in Sweden."

Attendees also should be sure to stop by the Rohde & Schwarz booth. It will be demonstrating how test and measurement instruments have evolved—from the world’s first vector network analyzer, which was introduced in 1950, to the new, at-this-point unannounced product launches slated for IMS. The firm also will offer demonstrations of group delay, envelope tracking, PA measurements, and other radar, satellite, and transmit-receive measurement setups.

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