Wireless design activity has never been at a higher level, at least according to engineers working on wireless-local-area-network (WLAN) and Bluetooth product solutions. While cellular design activity is now starting to accelerate, due to the gradual emergence and build-out of third-generation (3G) cellular systems, the explosive potential growth for wireless networks and Bluetooth is the result of over-hyped, slow-to-develop markets that are only now coming to fruition. The technical advances behind these markets will be explained at the upcoming technical sessions of the Wireless Systems Design Conference & Expo, scheduled for February 24-27, 2003 in the San Jose Convention Center (San Jose, CA). Visitors will also have the opportunity to see and touch hardware, software, and test equipment while visiting the hundreds of exhibitors on the Wireless Systems Design Conference & Expo show floor.

The technical sessions for The Wireless Systems Design Conference & Expo begin on Monday, February 24th, with five full-day workshops. Manufacturers' exhibits open the following day. The five workshops include "Oscillators for Wireless Applications" by Randy Rhea of Eagleware; "Bluetooth Radio Design" by Ken Noblitt of Cambridge Silicon Radio; "Antennas & Propagation for Wireless Communications" by consultant Steve Best; "Packaging for Wireless RF" by Sam Horowitz of Dupont; and, new to the 2003 conference, "Power Management for Mobile-Communications Devices" by Bill Krenik who is Wireless Advanced Architectures Manager for the Wireless Terminals Business Unit of Texas Instruments. This latest addition to the conference will examine different approaches for minimizing power consumption in wireless handsets, notably as customers demand more functions, such as display screens and gaming, from their handheld devices.

Technical sessions will commence on Tuesday, February 25th, and conclude on Thursday, February 27th. These will consist of largely one-half-hour sessions, grouped into track categories that include Bluetooth & Short-Range Communications, Broadband/Fixed Wireless, Handset Design, Power Management, Reference Designs, RF ICs for Wireless Design, Software, Wireless Internet, Wireless LAN, Wireless Modeling/Test & Measurement, and Wireless Networking. Technical presentations are organized by Conference Co-Chairpersons Cheryl Ajluni, Editor-In-Chief of Wireless Systems Design magazine, and Jack Browne, Publisher/Editor of Microwaves & RF magazine.

While many of the technical tracks may appear familiar to repeat attendees of the conference, the Reference Design track is new. Reference designs are circuits developed by integrated-circuit (IC) manufacturers, usually developed in conjunction with a customer. They provide a "starting point" for other designs, and a useful way for engineers to see how a chip or chip set is used in an example application. In some cases, the reference design may actually be the heart of an application, minus some critical intellectual property, such as software. Each reference design presentation will offer attendees a chance to scrutinize a schematic diagram and design layout, and hear about troubleshooting and measurement techniques from one of the reference-design's creators. Presentations confirmed so far for the Reference Design track include designs for WLANs, cellular telephones, and embedded Global Positioning System (GPS) circuitry. For example, Aditya Agarwal of Fujitsu Microelectronics America (Santa Clara, CA) will explore a reference design focused on wireless broadband metropolitan area networks, notably a design in support of interoperable systems such as IEEE 802.16a and ETSI-BRAN HIPERMAN. The report will look in detail at the OFDM physical layer (PHY) solution that is common to both IEEE 802.16a and HIPERMAN, with details about a possible system-on-chip (SoC) implementation and the type of reference design needed to evaluate this solution. Bernard Olivier of California Eastern Laboratories (Santa Clara, CA) will address reference designs for embedded GPS applications, in partnership with customer eRide.

A sampling of other technical presentations include several discussions on WLANs, including Carl Andren of Intersil Corp. who will present a report on zero-IF architectures for dual-band WLAN radios and Richard Abrams of Intersil who will offer a troubleshooting guide for designers of dual-band WLAN radios. Steve Saltzman of Intel Corp.'s Wireless LAN Operation will discuss enterprise applications for WANs and WLANs, while Monica Bhatnager and Edward Brown of Agilent Technologies will detail an enhancement-mode PHEMT amplifier for WLANs.

In the session on Wireless Internet, Diane Ort of Edgewater Technology will explore how organizations can leverage web services to communicate with wireless devices while providing consistent data, improved customer satisfaction, and expanded services and market reach. Gerald Bolden of Micron Technology's Network and Communications Group will address memory organization for optimization of high-speed packet processing systems. And Shridhar Krishnamurthy, a co-founder of Cyneta Networks, will cover the requirements for successful mobile-data systems. In addition, Stephen Hester of Aloha Networks will explain his company's patented Spread ALOHA Multiple Access (SAMA) technology for improving the return-channel efficiency of wireless networks.

In the session on Wireless Networking, Tim Cutler of Cirronet, Inc. will explore the challenge of connecting non-TCP/IP devices to TCP/IP networks, and look at how current and future wireless technologies, including ultrawideband (UWB) technology, might offer a solution for this problem. Ember Corp.'s Vice-President of Engineering, Andy Wheeler, will detail differences between mesh, point-to-point, and point-to-multipoint networks, how to overcome RF interference and line-of-sight problems, and benefits offered by wireless mesh networks compared to other wireless network solutions. Bruce Gray of Ethertronics will illustrate how advances in antenna technology can capture more available signal than conventional approaches.

Tuesday, February 25th, will also feature a Keynote address from Gadi Singer, Vice President of the Wireless Communications and Computing Group, and General Manager of the PCA Components Group of Intel Corp. From 1993 to August 1998, Mr. Singer served as the general manager of the Microprocessor Products Group's Design Technology Division. He became co-General Manager of the IA-64 Processor Division in 1998 and General Manager of the Enterprise Processors Division in 2000. He was appointed Vice-President in January 1999, and most recently managed the entire product development of the company's Itanium processor. Mr. Singer will provide insights into future market prospects for wireless technology in commercial, consumer, and enterprise areas, as well as a rare inside look at Intel's plans for wireless and portable markets.

The WirelessDeveloper Conference & Expo 2003 will be co-located for the first time with The Wireless Systems Design Conference & Expo in the San Jose Convention Center. The event will address all facets of wireless entertainment, from fundamental building blocks to final end-user delivery approaches. It will offer studios, media, and entertainment professionals an opportunity to interact directly with operators, manufacturers, and technology providers for next-generation wireless devices and platforms. The event includes wireless gaming, next-generation device technologies, system design, digital rights management, branding, licensing, business models, media delivery, and merchandising strategies. For more information on The Wireless Systems Design Conference & Expo, visit the website at www.wsdexpo.com for updates on technical presentations and exhibitor news, as well as information on attending the conference.