mmWave design has traditionally been a boutique technology used in satellite and defense applications. Lately that’s changing. It turns out the complex, high frequency capabilities of mmWave technology are a key enabler for the 5G wireless networks being deployed today. I discussed some of this backstory in a recent post about a new member of the Silicon Catalyst incubator. The design challenges associated with mmWave are substantial. Optimizing the RF signal path is a requirement of course. Dealing with advanced phased-array processing is also a requirement, as is multiple simultaneous beams to deliver low latency with decreasing size, weight, power and cost. That’s why a recent article on Samtec’s website caught my eye. Read on to learn how Samtec teams with Otava and Avnet to tame mmWave design.
There’s a lot of good information on Samtec’s website about mmWave support across multiple applications. There is also an informative webinar coming with Otava, Avnet and Samtec to discuss their collaboration. There are links coming. First, let’s examine the players, the application and the challenges.
Most SemiWiki readers should be familiar with Samtec by now. They provide connectors, cable assemblies and active optical modules across a broad range of applications and performance levels. If you want an introduction to the company, you can find it here. Otava is focused on end-to-end development of technologies used by advanced 5G commercial and DoD applications. Avnet is a leading global technology distributor and solutions provider. The company can support a product at each stage of its lifecycle, from idea to design and from prototype to production.
This is a very interesting collaboration in my view. It is a step above the typical ecosystem work we hear about. The breadth of applications and support offered by these three companies speaks to the daunting requirements for building effective mmWave systems. The beamforming part of the system design is a particularly dauting aspect. Beamforming uses multiple antennas to control the direction of a wavefront by weighting the magnitude and phase of individual antenna signals in an array of multiple antennas. Getting all this right is quite a challenge. Components, interconnect and algorithms all need to work in tight harmony to get the desired result. This kind of technology is what unlocks the high bandwidth and low latency of 5G and its performance is mission critical to many applications, including those found in autonomous driving systems.
The presenters for the webinar include Matt Burns, technical market manager at Samtec. SemiWiki readers should be familiar with Matt. You can hear a podcast with Matt discussing signal integrity challenges here. From Otava, Steve Fireman, senior VP of engineering is presenting. Steve is a co-founder of Otava and has experience designing state-of-the-art RFICs, ICs, module packaging and PCBs related to microwave and millimeter wave phased array systems at Lockheed Martin. Presenting for Avnet is Luc Langlois, director of products and emerging technology at Avnet. Luc has held a variety of roles at Avnet for 15 years and has a broad background in digital signal processing.
The webinar will cover bleeding edge beamformer technology and precision RF interconnect. New evaluation and development platforms that shorten development cycles will also be discussed. If you’re doing any type of 5G development, you should attend this webinar. The webinar was held on March 10, 2021 at 11AM Eastern Standard Time. The good news is that a replay is available. Check it out to see how Samtec teams with Otava and Avnet to tame mmWave design. You can access the webinar replay here. You can also get a broad view of all the 5G network application solutions available from Samtec here.
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