Tracking A Changing Industry

Dec. 11, 2007
Research and development continues to be driven largely by wireless communications.

For many, the hustle and bustle of the holidays coincide with some enjoyable days at home as they take those last vacation days. Taking such time makes people prioritize what work needs to get done before the holidays and what new projects await their return. Here at Microwaves & RF, December is a time to reflect on the most significant happenings in the microwave industry over the past 12 months. To recognize some of this year's key innovations, for example, we have again put forward our list of Top Products (p. 89). Now also is a good time to look at the trends that will impact the industry in the New Year.

Research and development continues to be driven largely by wireless communications. In the test and measurement arena, for example, new equipment is consistently being developed for emerging wireless standards. To keep up with these constantly evolving standards, modern test equipment is often rooted in software-defined-radio (SDR) technology. Although the telecommunications standards remained strong - and began to show signs of moving toward the fourth generation (4G) - WiMAX also made a name for itself this year with network rollouts and demonstrations.

On the home front, ultrawideband (UWB) technology is on the verge of delivering video and other high-data-rate multimedia between devices in the home. WiFi and Bluetooth continue to successfully hold their respective niches with new applications emerging in audio for Bluetooth and voice-over-WiFi for IEEE 802.11n. Wireless technologies also are making more and more inroads into the medical sector.

Defense spending currently remains strong in the traditional areas, such as radar and battlefield communications, as well as homeland security. Due to the vulnerability of communications equipment in today's unpredictable battle zones, emphasis is on extremely rugged, super-portable equipment with SDR waveform flexibility and secure encryption schemes. In the area of homeland security, missile defense has become a very hot area.

The microwave industry depends heavily upon its component suppliers. Today, that segment continues to churn out impressive innovations. Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are packing more components and features into smaller packages. Software also is playing an increasingly important role in design and development.

Behind these trends and advances are the creativity and dedication of many hard-working microwave engineers. This is your magazine and we hope you feel that we have recognized your efforts. This holiday season, try to take a little breather before starting work on next year's top products and innovations. Happy holidays to you and your loved ones from the staff of Microwaves & RF!

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