Get a Knowledge Refresh with New Books on Backhaul, IoT/M2M, and LTE-A/5G

July 6, 2016
As old fashioned as they may seem, books are still one of the more in-depth ways to educate yourselves on engineering topics.
Like most engineers and technical professionals, you probably keep your professional knowledge up-to-date and learn new subjects by doing internet searches, raiding the manufacturers’ literature, digging into websites, taking webinars, and reading magazines like this one. But don’t forget books. As old fashioned as they may seem, books are still one of the more in-depth ways to educate yourselves.

Many of you, me included, gave up on books a while back simply because publishers just could not keep up with the rapid technology changes. By the time a publisher got the book printed, it was often technologically dated. That is an inherent problem, as it does take time to write a good comprehensive book and bring it to market. However, I will say that some publishers are doing a much better job of bringing the latest technology coverage to you in a timely way. In other words, books are definitely a consideration these days. I track new book announcements and recently came across some that I recommend for your consideration.


Where on earth do you go to learn about backhaul—especially microwave/millimeter wave backhaul? Take a look at Artech House’s new book "Electronics for Microwave Backhaul" by authors Vittorio Camarchia, Roberto Quaglia, and Marco Pirola. Today, it is estimated that over 50% of cellular and other backhaul is microwave. Fiber is the other major backhaul medium. With the forthcoming rollout of small LTE-A and millimeter-wave 5G cells, microwave backhaul is going to become even more dominant. This new book is a great introduction if you are just getting on board or wanting to fill in the gaps in your knowledge.

The book has seven chapters. Chapter 1 is an intro to the subject. It provides some definitions and background as well as an overview of basic transport networks that are key to backhaul. Chapter 2 discusses the evolution of microwave backhaul. The pros and cons of wired vs. wireless are covered. Microwave backhaul has been around for almost a century, with most techniques developed during the days of telephone backhaul links. The analog-to-digital transition is discussed and trends are illustrated.

Chapter 3 details the various architectures of backhaul units including indoor, outdoor, and split mount types. Chapter 4 on modems gets into the gory details of modulation and demodulation, especially QAM. Related topics like FEC, distortion, and phase noise are included.

Chapter 5 is a long, comprehensive chapter on receivers. Topics include architecture and available solid-state technology options. All of the major receiver sections are covered, such as LNAs, mixers, oscillators, and ADCs. Chapter 6 gives the same treatment to transmitters. It provides good coverage on architecture, up and down conversion, VCOs, and direct conversion versions. The chapter has good coverage of power amplifiers, including GaN devices, and the latest in linearization techniques. The book wraps up with a chapter on relevant antennas such as parabolics and other antennas for millimeter-wave units.


Much has been written about the Internet of Things (IoT) and its ancestor machine-to-machine (M2M) communications in the past year or so. And yet, I had not seen a book on the subject until recently. I suspect that publishers are anxious to publish on this subject, but with the rapid changes going on, any book can be quickly dated. I recently learned of a book on this topic from publisher Elsevier called "From Machine-to-Machine to the Internet off Things: Introduction to a New Age of Intelligence." The book was written by multiple authors and published under Elsevier’s Academic Press imprint.

This book outlines the background and overall vision for the IoT and M2M communications and services. It shows how IoT evolved from M2M, with key technologies and standards then described. Coverage includes everything from the physical instrumentation of devices to the cloud infrastructures used to collect data. Extensive coverage is provided on the many wireless and related standards. A main contribution is the inclusion of real-world service use cases that provide the knowledge needed to successfully develop and implement M2M and IoT technologies. Implementation examples include the smart grid, smart buildings, smart cities, and industrial automation.

An important feature of the book shows how to derive information and knowledge from data collected and how to integrate it into enterprise processes. After all, that’s the whole objective of IoT and M2M, albeit one that’s easier said than done. Other key topics include system architectures and an overview of the various regulatory requirements. The book wraps up with a look at the future vision for M2M and IoT technologies, including prospective changes in relevant standards. Here is a brief chapter outline to give you a better idea of the content.

Chapter 1            Introduction

Chapter 2            M2M to IoT – The Vision

Chapter 3            M2M to IoT – A Market Perspective

Chapter 4            M2M to IoT – An Architectural Overview

Chapter 5            M2M and IoT Technology Fundamentals

Chapter 6            IoT Architecture – State of the Art

Chapter 7            Architecture Reference Model

Chapter 8            IoT Reference Architecture

Chapter 9            IoT Use Cases

Chapter 10          Asset Management

Chapter 11          Industrial Automation

Chapter 12          The Smart Grid

Chapter 13          Commercial building Automation

Chapter 14          Smart Cities

Chapter 15          Participatory Sensing


Oh, yes: Elsevier has another new book in the works called "4G, LTE-Advanced Pro and the Road to 5G." I haven’t seen it yet, but it is expected to be available in August. The book is a 3rd edition and is said to provide up-to-date coverage of all the latest LTE standards, such as Releases 12 and 13 from the 3GPP. Two new chapters give a view of what the 5G standards will look like.

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About the Author

Lou Frenzel | Technical Contributing Editor

Lou Frenzel is the Communications Technology Editor for Electronic Design Magazine where he writes articles, columns, blogs, technology reports, and online material on the wireless, communications and networking sectors. Lou has been with the magazine since 2005 and is also editor for Mobile Dev & Design online magazine.

Formerly, Lou was professor and department head at Austin Community College where he taught electronics for 5 years and occasionally teaches an Adjunct Professor. Lou has 25+ years experience in the electronics industry. He held VP positions at Heathkit and McGraw Hill. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston and a master’s degree from the University of Maryland. He is author of 20 books on computer and electronic subjects.

Lou Frenzel was born in Galveston, Texas and currently lives with his wife Joan in Austin, Texas. He is a long-time amateur radio operator (W5LEF).

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