Contribution by Earl Lum, EJL Wireless Research
Analysis is based on observations, media/analyst events, and 1-on-1 interviews conducted during the event.
Microwave Highlights from Not-So-Sunny San Diego
We just attended the IMS (International Microwave Symposium) 2023 event in not so sunny San Diego, CA this past week. Attendance according to conference officials was over 9,000 people in comparison with approximately 6,000 people in Denver, CO last year. The increase can be partially attributed to the increased international attendance from Asian exhibitors and attendees in this post-COVID-19 world.
First off, unscheduled meetings, seeing old friends, and seeing what products were announced made it a long week but worth the time investment. Secondly, thanks to the staff and friends at Microwave Journal for their annual customer appreciation party which is a must attend social event every year and to Analog Devices for their editorial dinner to kick off the week’s social calendar.
We met with 30+ exhibitors over the 3-day event. There is never enough time. My top “official/public” products from the event (that I can share) were:
- Fortify and Rogers Corporation for the 3D printer system and raw materials, respectively, to enable 3D printable dielectric antenna lens.
- Analog Devices for their game changing Apollo MxFE 20+Gsps SW Defined Direct RF Sampling Processing platform that will further enable digital beamforming architectures.
- Yuetsu Seiki Co. Ltd. for their 145GHz 0.8mm coaxial connector/cables.
- NXP for their new topside cooling technology and new solutions for massive MIMO RF power amplifier modules.
We give honorable mentions to the following companies:
- Anten’it/Antenon Antenna Technologies for their Lego-like prototyping kits for antenna and microwave designs.
- Comotech Corporation for their W Band and D Band point to point radio systems.
- pSemi for their new 3.5GHz dual LNA/switch and phase shifter products.
- MaXentric Technologies for handing out mechanical pencils for us engineers and not ink pens.
Earl’s Key Takes from IMS 2023
We continued to see many companies focused on components and semiconductor solutions for the 5G mmWave market segment which remains challenged in the best-case scenarios, even more now that all of the mobile operators in South Korea have returned their mmWave spectrum licenses back to the government.
My question regarding this mmWave soul searching is – if not South Korea, is the United States market the Obi-Wan Kenobi (only hope) for 5G mmWave? Mobile 5G mmWave appears to be dead. Long live FWA 5G mmWave!
In my opinion, other applications in mmWave such as Ku- and Ka-Band satcom and defense/aerospace continue to remain strong for prospecting and demand.
5G Massive MIMO
The new semis solutions from pSemi and Guerilla RF coupled with the topside cooling products announcement from NXP continue to confirm the higher RF output power and wider bandwidth requirements of future architectures for 5G massive MIMO radio solutions.
When asked about support for about the upcoming 5.5G NR Advanced U6/L7 GHz frequency band, the majority of the responses from vendors were no. We anticipate that there will be some scrambling for those companies that haven’t yet started their product roadmaps.
The co-existence of GaN/Si for lower power applications along with GaN/SiC for high power applications continues to stay pretty much in their respective lanes. We will continue to monitor the players in this space and look forward to new innovations to be announced publicly.
Finally, my conversations with vendors resulted in a not so surprising neutral/tepid view on design opportunities and near term revenues for the OpenRAN market.
Finally, but not least, a special thanks to all of the companies who were gracious with their time and feedback. If we inadvertently left your name off this list and met with your company, my sincerest apologies.
We note one company that was obviously missing in the exhibit hall. This was SKYWORKS SOLUTIONS. We don’t have the specifics on why but hop to see them next year in Washington D.C.
- Advanced Test Equipment Rentals
- ASB, Inc.
- Benchmark Electronics
- Component Distributors Inc.
- Doosan Corporation
- Finwave Semiconductor
- Gallium Semiconductor
- Guangdong DAPU Telecom Technology Co. Ltd.
- Guerilla RF
- Horizon House
- Johanson Technology
- iCana Ltd.
- Integra Technologies
- Menlo Micro
- Microcom Sales
- Quantum Z
- Sumitomo Electric Device Innovation
- Winsource Electronics
If you would like to have a briefing with Earl to inquire about EJL Wireless Research’s unpublished research and findings from IMS 2023, contact him at email@example.com.
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Disclaimer: This document is for information and illustrative purposes only. This information is not intended, nor should it be regarded in anyway, as investment advice or as a recommendation regarding any particular security or course of action to individuals or investors of publicly traded securities within the United States or other countries.