The Wireless Systems 2004 Conference and Exhibition is right around the corner. From March 8 through 10, it will be held at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, Calif. This year, the show will testify to the robust nature of the wireless industry. It promises to give attendees a glimpse into the next year—a year that many analysts believe will be both positive and financially successful. Leading this charge is a series of 11 in-depth technical tracks that are populated with over 60 papers. From WLAN, broadband networks, 3G, and components, the track topics range to low-power design, power management, mobile and wireless, handset design, security, and software. Two workshops complement this technical offering. At the same time, they allow attendees to gain accreditation from Portland State University's Systems Engineering Department. The workshops are "Risk Analysis and Reduction for Hardware/Software Systems Development" and "Reconfigurable Systems: Introduction to Adaptive Computing."
Setting the overall tone of the Wireless Systems 2004 event is a keynote from Dr. Henry Samueli, Broadcom's Chairman, Chief Technology Officer, and Co-Founder (FIG. 1). His speech is scheduled to take place Monday, March 8 from 3:00 to 3:45. It will focus on the business and technological trends that are encouraging the emergence of total wireless connectivity. As Dr. Samueli will explain, "The wireless world is no longer confined to just cell phones and laptops. The level of integration, cost, and power reduction in semiconductor technology has now made it possible for even the most inexpensive devices to have a wireless connection."
Adding fuel to this discussion is a keynote panel that's scheduled for Wednesday, March 10, from 11:00 to 12:00. "Where Is the Wireless Industry Going?" will look at which areas hold the most promise for guiding this industry toward a prosperous future. Among others, the panel participants will include Robert Poor, CTO and Co-Founder, Ember Corp.; Norm Korey, Vice President and General Manager, Wireless E-Business, Americas, IBM Global Services; Juha Rapeli, former Chief Scientist, Nokia, and Professor of Mobile Telecommunications Technology, University of Oulu, Finland; and Scott Smyser, Senior Analyst, Frequency Control, RF and Wireless, iSuppli.
For another round of debate, check out the panel titled, "Using PoE to Empower the Proliferation of Wireless Devices." It's scheduled for Tuesday, March 9, from 11:00 to 12:00. This panel will attempt to shine light on the emerging IEEE 802.3af, Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) standard. It will bring together leading industry vendors to discuss the benefits and requirements of the PoE specification: David Dwelley, Design Manager, Power over Ethernet Products, Linear Technology Corp.; Steve Shalita, Senior Manager, WW Product Marketing, Cisco Systems; Madhu Rayabhari, Marketing Director, Power Management Products, Fairchild Analog Products; and Adolfo Garcia, Product Marketing Manager, Micrel, Inc. Among the other panel participants are Paul Greenland, Director of Product Marketing, Power Management Group, National Semiconductor; Thong Huynh, Senior Corporate Applications Engineer, Maxim Integrated Products; and David Schie, Vice President of Broadband and Telecom, Supertex.
Of course, Wireless Systems 2004 wouldn't be complete without the annual Wireless Systems Design Industry Awards. Each year, the editors of Wireless Systems Design join forces with readers and the Wireless Systems Advisory Board (www.wsdexpo.com/advisory.htm) to nominate and select the people, technology, and products deemed most worthy of praise. This year, awards are being presented to the following:
Industry Leader: Irwin Mark Jacobs, Founder, Qualcomm (www.qualcomm.com)
Irwin Jacobs is the founder, Chairman, and CEO of Qualcomm, Inc. (FIG. 2). He has led the company through its international activities in digital wireless telephony, mobile satellite communications, and Internet software. Jacobs has been and continues to be a luminary in the evolution of the wireless industry.
Editor's Choice: Low-Bandwidth and Spread-Spectrum PLL Analog Hard Macros, True Circuits (www.truecircuits.com)
These PLLs allow wireless engineers to automatically and precisely dial in on both bandwidth and spectrum. They feature low jitter and special circuitry, dubbed the LockNow! Technology, which enables very fast locking without adding frequency overshoot.
Reader's Choice: SureFyre WLAN Chip Set, IceFyre (www.icefyre.com)
The SureFyre chip set for 802.11a WLAN comprises the ICE5125 low-power, fully featured CMOS 802.11 MAC IC; the ICE5351 CMOS baseband RFIC; and the ICE5352 high-efficiency GaAs Class-F PA/Chireix combiner. The solution offers up to 50% better power consumption than traditional systems running at 1.5 W and higher. It also promises a 2X output-power improvement.
Best Design Tool: Cascade, CriticalBlue (www.criticalblue.com)
Using existing application software, the Cascade toolset synthesizes a new hardware coprocessor. In turn, this coprocessor accelerates specific selectable software tasks. The resulting coprocessor software can be offloaded from the host processor, freeing up execution time and boosting system performance.
Best End Product Co-Winners: Centrino, Intel (www.intel.com) and 3G CDMA Service/Access Card, Verizon (www.verizon.com)
The Centrino mobile chip set was introduced in March with strictly 802.11b capability. By working with Microsoft's XP operating system, it can detect 802.11 networks automatically. This product resulted in a significant boost to the use of WLAN in enterprises and horizontal, rather than just vertical, markets. The technology also provided an enhanced wireless-computing experience. Now, Intel offers a low-cost Centrino option as well as an 802.11g version. The latter product, Pro/Wireless 2200BG, features dual 802.11b and 802.11g wireless-network access.
Verizon Wireless is currently deploying CDMA2000 1xEV-DO services nationwide. The 3G high-speed-data network, marketed under the name BroadbandAccess, is backward compatible to Verizon Wireless' existing NationalAccess network. That network is based on 1xRTT technology. The nationwide deployment of BroadbandAccess comes on the heels of Verizon Wireless' successful commercial deployments in San Diego and Washington, D.C. in 2003. These deployments marked the first time that CDMA2000 1xEV-DO access was made available in any major metropolitan area in the U.S.
Best Component/Technology/Material Co-Winners: Aero 1+, Silicon Laboratories (www.silabs.com) and CellularRam, Micron Technology (www.micron.com), Infineon Technologies AG (www.infineon.com), and Cypress Semiconductor (www.cypress.com)
Silicon Laboratories' Aero I+ single-package transceiver is designed for multiband GSM/GPRS cellular handsets and wireless data modems. This device touts several benefits including a fully integrated, digitally controlled crystal oscillator (DCXO). This DCXO eliminates expensive and bulky VC-TCXO modules. The Aero I+ also promises a 75% area reduction and flaunts a small footprint (8-x-8-mm package).
Cypress, Infineon, and Micron teamed up to develop high-performance, drop-in-replacement CellularRAM chips for 2.5G and 3G wireless networks. CellularRAM is a family of PSRAM products. It is backward compatible with six-transistor and early-generation asynchronous or page PSRAMs. It offers many new features like burst READ modes. The chips also provide an evolutionary path to pseudo-SRAMs.
Most Influential Player: 54g Transceiver Technology, Broadcom (www.broadcom.com)
Broadcom has shipped over 11 million of its 54g IEEE 802.11g WLAN chip sets. The widespread acceptance of 54g has been crucial in helping the market shift to the 802.11g standard. By some estimates, Broadcom now owns 78% of the U.S. retail market for products based on that standard. 54g technology can be found in a variety of retail products and embedded in notebook PCs from Apple, Dell, eMachines, Fujitsu, Gateway, and HP/Compaq.
As an added benefit to the attendees of Wireless Systems 2004, the show will be co-located with the Military Electronics Show (MES) West. Today, there's intense interest in both military and defense-related topics and applications. This combined show offering should make it easier for wireless engineers to keep abreast of pertinent trends. MES is dedicated to the designer of electronic components, subsystems, software, and test equipment. It brings together designers of software and hardware that primarily serve military contractors and subcontractors.
In addition to a bustling exhibit floor, the technical conference will provide presentations on technologies and design approaches that interest subcontractors as well as designers at "lower-tier" companies, which sell to contractors. Examples of specific topics include telemetry transmitter modules, selecting high-performance circuit and shielding materials for military systems, and the role of artificial intelligence in designing military systems.
Through a keynote, MES West will more closely align itself with the Wireless Systems 2004 event. The speech will be delivered by Ron Reedy, Founder, Vice President, and Chief Technical Officer of Peregrine Semiconductor Corp. His presentation, "Managing Mil/Space and Commercial Business in RFICs," will discuss the commonalities and synergies between the military/space markets. Such synergies can be exploited to the benefit of both suppliers and customers. Often, military and space customers are early adopters of new concepts or technologies. They provide suppliers with NRE support and long-range insight into future trends. Conversely, commercial customers drive high-volume benefits. They can ensure the long-term stability of supply to military/space customers, who are faced with a declining supplier base. Mr. Reedy's presentation will discuss how these two apparently distinct markets can be viewed simultaneously. This keynote address is scheduled for Tuesday, March 9, from 3:00 to 3:45.
For more information on Wireless Systems 2004 or MES West, go to www.wsdexpo.com. Join in the fun by participating in the first annual Wireless Design Wars. This event will be held Tuesday, March 9. To participate, you have to pit your skills against those of your fellow engineers. You'll have an opportunity to build a radio, tune it to hear a special message that's broadcast during the show, and follow the clues to a secret location somewhere on the exhibit floor. The first individual or team to find the secret spot or come up with the most clever design solution will be awarded a prize. With a variety of prize categories, every participant has an opportunity to walk away a winner.