Today, Feb. 14th, has turned out to be a great day for me! I received an email early morning, which stated: PC’s Electronic Components Blog is featured on the list of 100 Top Resources for Electrical Engineers that we published on ElectricalEngineeringSchools.org, USA!
Wow! This happens to be my sixth world title in a row!! The picture of the award badge is given alongside!!!
I am so very happy that my blog on electronic components has bagged an award! I had started my career writing about electronic components for Asian Sources Media, now Global Sources, in Hong Kong.
Back in those days – 1994-1995, there used to be some presence of electronic components made by local manufacturers, especially in Naraina Industrial Area, New Delhi. I still remember, very clearly, doing the rounds of Naraina, along with my friend, Dolly! Back then, most of the components were made for colour TV sets, and a few makers had just started making components for cellular phones.
Today, there are big-sized, very large representatives of electronic components in India.
I recall one of my earlier stories was on DIP switches. There used to be slide and rocker types of DIP switches. I wonder whether they are still used today! Maybe, they are, in some electronic devices! I also recall there used to be some demand for TV antennae at that time, as well as for cell phone antennae! How time has flown by since!!
May I take this opportunity and offer sincere thanks to all of my readers, well wishers, friends and acquaintances I have made over the years for their continuous love and support! Without you, no award is ever possible! ;)
I’d like to conclude by taking the names of two gentlemen, who have spurred me on to write blogs on components, electronics and semiconductors, as well as telecom. They happen to be Alfred Cheng. country manager, Hong Kong, Global Sources, and Spenser Au, former publisher, CTG and now, CEO, Global Sources, Hong Kong, who made me work on the Telecom specs tables.
A word is also due for Raj Gopinath, my editor-in-chief at Asian Sources, and Daniel Tam, who replaced Spenser, back in 1999, as publisher of CTG. Special mention needs to be made of Claudius Chan, who I consider as a ‘guru’ of electronic components. Whatever I am today is largely due to my time spent at Global Sources! Thanks a lot, my dear friends!!
Alfred just sent me a mail saying: Hi Pradeep, How many more prizes would you like to win, my friend? I wish I could write as good as, maybe 50 percent as good as you do since we used to work together in the electronics industry. :) Thanks a lot, my friend!
Stoke Inc. is an established player in LTE security, commercial Wi-Fi and LTE enablement, and is already engaged research into small cell signaling issues. It will be displaying a range of solutions for the global telecom industry at the forthcoming Mobile World Congress 2013 in Barcelona, Spain.
Outlook for telecom in 2013
First, I asked Stoke about the outlook for the telecom industry in 2013. According to Dave Williams, CTO, Stoke, 2013 will be the year of LTE globally. Deployments will accelerate worldwide. It is significant that Europe, in particular, has woken up to LTE.
Next, large-scale infrastructure suppliers are experiencing shifts in demand. While operators in the Americas and Japan are high spenders, in Europe there are major vendors whose technology posture is while newer players have become rising stars
Further, Wi-Fi as an ongoing force in the industry – with subscribers accustomed to ‘leaving’ their cellular providers for Wi-Fi options, operator services such as international roaming and rate plans are losing their money-spinning potential. 3G data plan revenues are shrinking because of the superior appeal of Wi-Fi to subscribers. Operators must accommodate this reality in their LTE planning.
Williams added that a trend will be the polarization of the device landscape. The Android’s dream of many device manufacturers with one software interface has faded. We’re seeing a polarized landscape of Samsung/Google versus Apple. RIM is struggling and facing further potential challenges as many of its enterprise contracts approach end of life in 2013. Microsoft may emerge as a player in in the tablet area. Look for some M&A activity from unexpected areas. Also, small cells are seen as the answer to spectrum challenges, but the rollouts will be slow for the next two years as the technology matures.
Finally, driven primarily by the popularity of Apple and Samsung personal devices, BYOD – Bring Your Own Device – to work is a ground-up movement that has taken ID departments and security practitioners by surprise. This is likely to push regulatory measures – especially in the area of security – in the relatively near term. Access providers are under even more threat from the security perspective. It is not all bad, though. For savvy operators, there is the prospect of providing trusted, high quality and easy connections to a large proportion of the estimated 7 billion BYOD users worldwide.
It would be interesting to hear about what are Stoke’s plans for the MWC 2013. Williams said, “At MWC, look for Stoke to announce its new generation LTE mobile border access gateway, new LTE signaling capabilities in its Security eXchange and, on the Wi-Fi eXchange side, a new event access offering in conjunction with an ecosystem of partners.”
Stoke’s Wi-Fi exchange gateway solution
Elaborating on Stoke’s Wi-Fi exchange gateway solution, he said the Wi-Fi eXchange is a gateway application that automatically authenticates Wi-Fi attached subscribers and securely links them to their 3G or LTE cellular network services and/or to the Internet.
Wi-Fi eXchange enables the operators to maximize the benefits of service provider Wi-Fi while limiting traffic loads on the mobile core through dynamic, selective traffic steering. Wi-Fi eXchange is an important catalyst for operators seeking to transition from Wi-Fi as merely RAN congestion relief to Wi-Fi as a new service delivery medium.
On Jan. 23, Stoke announced the newly-available Wi-Fi eXchange gateway that is engaged in multiple commercial service trials uncovering new ways for telecommunications operators to incorporate Wi-Fi as a revenue-supporting service. In a single unit, Wi-Fi eXchange introduces a broad set of extremely flexible Wi-Fi management capabilities previously unavailable to mobile broadband carriers.
Wi-Fi Alliance has been instrumental in driving the evolution of Wi-Fi strategies, providing a forum for Wi-Fi operators, equipment providers and hardware manufacturers to develop industry-wide standards and programs which are critical to mass market adoption. The Passpoint certification program, launched in June 2012, has seen significant industry adoption so far.
Interesting, but not surprising! Wireless is now leading in the global semiconductor spends!! I was having a chat with a Frost & Sullivan executive this morning, and he mentioned telecom. Of course, that’s the key driver!!
According to IHS iSuppli, wireless has now displaced computers as the top semiconductor spending area for OEMs in 2011. And, this trend may continue in 2012, going by early indications. Noteworthy in the wireless march has been the tremendous success of Apple’s iPhone and iPad.
As per IHS iSuppli, the global spending by the world’s top OEMs on microchips for wireless products was $58.6 billion in 2011, up 14.5 percent from $51.2 billion in 2010. This has led to wireless leading computers as the world’s largest OEM semiconductor spending segment in 2011. Notably, tablets and mobile handsets have led the way!
With many more companies developing smartphones and tablets, this trend does not appear to buck any time soon. It is further expected that the wireless segment will continue to generate the highest growth over the next two years. Smartphones are definitely a part of this, as are tablets.
Back in late 2000, at the ITU World Telecom in Hong Kong, the first mobile phones with Internet browsing were being touted. As were 3G and Bluetooth! Those were the days when ‘WAP is CRAP’ made more headlines and bore the brunt of many ‘telecom jokes’. Why, in early 2002, I even wrote an article for Electronics Business Manufacturing Asia (EBN Asia), on Bluetooth, which was still trying to find its bearings. I can’t locate that article anymore, but some of the comments in that article are worth remembering. One comment was whether Bluetooth and WiFi could co-exist!
One magazine had said, “The future of Bluetooth wireless technology is becoming decidedly mixed as proponents and analysts continue to question not only how soon the short-range technology will take off, but also whether the technology is fundamentally sound.”
Thankfully, all of those days are behind us! Today, Bluetooth is firmly entrentched, as is WiFi. And, on the mobile phone!!
In 2003, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) unveiled a new ‘five-minute ready’ program created to challenge and guide Bluetooth product developers and manufacturers in the Asia Pacific region to deliver devices that give consumers a “five-minute out-of-the-box experience.” I had met up with Anders Edlund, marketing director for Bluetooth SIG in Singapore, and had a clear understanding of the technology. Today, I believe, the Bluetooth SIG is advancing standardization of active 3D glasses using Bluetooth!
Redpine Signals Inc. has entered the M2M (machine-to-machine) market with its first fully-featured Wi-Fi module. Let’s find out what the Wi-Fi module is all about, and specifically, M2M!
According to Redpine, the M2M market is different from the traditional mobile and PC Wi-Fi market – in the sense that it requires ‘self-contained’ hardware and software. Traditional Wi-Fi implementations from other leading vendors who sell into PCs and mobile phones don’t meet this requirement since PCs and Mobile phones are equipped with strong host processors that do a bulk of the Wi-Fi processing.
Redpine is a pioneer in this market and was the first to announce a 802.11n Wi-Fi module, which was self-contained. The ‘WiseConnect’ module builds upon its Connect-io-n product legacy and provides additional features like Wi-Fi Direct, enterprise security, SEP2.0 and embedded access point. Features supported and other capabilities include:
Self-contained: All hardware including antenna and crystal required for emissions certification (like FCC and IC) are integrated. All software required for Wi-Fi certification (like security supplicant) are included in the module. This makes the process of integrating the WiSeConnect module into an embedded system very easy.
Ultra-low power and high performance 802.11n: Single-stream 802.11n solution. Best-in-class transmit power of 18dBm and receiver sensitivity down to -98dBm, enabling excellent range. With shutdown power of less than 0.01mW, associated mode power of less than 3mW and active operational power of less than 30mW (UART 115K baud), the module enables ultra-low-power wireless battery operated applications.
Wi-Fi Direct: Wi-Fi Direct enables point to point link establishment without the necessity of connecting to an access point. With the prevalence of more and more smartphones and tablet PCs, it is desirable to directly interface the end-machines without going through the hassle of configuring and connecting to the AP (a.k.a bluetooth). Also, Wi-Fi Direct brings in a lot of power-save features that are desirable for the M2M sensor market.
SEP2.0: Integrating a high-energy home appliance or an in-home display or thermostat into the smart grid is made possible through the provision of SEP 2.0 communications in the WiSeConnect module.
Embedded AP: Provides an access-point functionality with limited number of stations (e.g., 8) for usage in embedded applications.
Host interfaces include SDIO, SPI, USB2.0 and Ethernet.
Commenting on the the future of Wi-Fi Direct, the Redpine spokesperson said that it is very bright. In addition, it is useful to note that all future Wi-Fi Alliance certifications like Wi-Fi Display have Wi-Fi Direct as a pre-requisite.
Finally, how is this solution going to benefit enterprises? He added that as an example, many hospitals have existing enterprise Wi-Fi networks used for intranet and Internet access. Wireless enablement of the medical devices has many advantages – for example it allows limited patient mobility while having all vitals streamed wirelessly to the monitors.
Secure streaming of data to and from a medical device to the servers and displays using enterprise security is enabled by embedding WiSeConnect modules into these devices. The advanced security features in WiSeConnect provides this and many other such benefits across multiple enterprises.
Here’s the best of electronics, solar/PV and telecom for the year 2011. Enjoy! ;)
M/H can truly deliver ‘real TV’ experience!
If analysts are to be believed, the videoconferencing and telepresence market will more than double to $5 billion in annual revenue over the next four years. In this context, Phoenix, US-based Telesphere has introduced the VideoConnect, a hosted video service that promises to enable any size business to implement videoconferencing quickly and cost-effectively by targeting its webcam-equipped PCs, room-based video systems, videophones, smartphones, tablets and softphones.
Telesphere VideoConnect expands the company’s already broad range of cloud-based business communication solutions, such as hosted voice, hosted call center and hosted call recording for businesses.
So, what exactly is Teleshphere Videoconnect and how does it make use of the cloud? According to Sanjay Srinivasan, CTO, the VideoConnect is a hosted video conferencing service that allows callers to join reservationless video conferences using a variety of end points, including video phones, tele-presence room systems, softphones with webcams on PC, and also targets the multitude of tablets and smartphones. It supports HD quality video.
“All of the bridging/conferencing intelligence resides in the cloud and the end users need not have and operate complicated video equipment on premises. Additionally, being in the cloud, it removes the complexities of having to deal with firewall and NAT traversal issues as it is based on industry standard IP protocols. Users join a video conference by dialing in to a bridge, and entering a passcode,” he added.
Naturally, that leads to what the hosted infrastructure involves. Srinivasan said: “The infrastructure involves amongst other things the bridging/conferencing systems and network session border controllers to allow seamless NAT/firewall traversal and bandwidth control/management to support a variety of network bandwidth availability situations.”
In call bridging, it says that up to 12 simultaneous legs can be enabled. Does this mean that up to 12 users can be on one call on Videoconnect? “Yes,” said Srinivasan. “Up to 12 users/legs can be on a call. Of course, if one of the legs is a conference room, that only counts as one leg independent of the number of people in the room, assuming that there is one camera in there.”
One-to-one calls are kept free, for now. Therefore, does it mean this is a free solution for most users? He said: “This means that two endpoints on our network are able to have a peer-to-peer video call at no charge. A good example of this might be a multi-site customer that has people having video calls with each other and if they use a video phone with good sized screen, they can use it for ad hoc conferencing as well.”
Now, what kind of pricing strategy has Videoconnect firmed up, if at all? “The pricing strategy will be made available in updates coming soon. However, the overall strategy used will be in line with the concept of hosted services in general enabling customers to leverage this capability with monthly fees,” concluded Srinivasan.
Available to select Telesphere customers immediately, the Telesphere VideoConnect features an intuitive user interface (UI) and hosted infrastructure that combine to create a nearly flat learning curve for employees.
San Diego, USA based Ethertronics Inc., enabling innovative antenna and RF solutions to deliver the best connected experience, has launched Ether 1.3.1, a phone adaptive antenna solution. Ready for integration with smartphones or other classes of phones, the Ether 1.3.1 can realize design benefits such as 50 percent reduction in antenna volume, yet maintain compliant performance.
According to Laurent Desclos, president and CEO, Ether 1.3.1 allows an antenna system to dynamically tune itself for optimum performance. Phone form factors are constantly changing throughout the design cycle.
“Current solutions, using passive antennas, require the antenna to be re-tuned with each change to the phone form factor, lengthening the time to market. Ether 1.3.1′s advanced active circuitry is able to adapt to changes in the form factor, reducing the need for lengthy antenna redesigns.”
In addition, Ether 1.3.1 can be designed to take up less volume than other antennas (up to a 50-percent reduction), providing more space for other components, and yet, still remain specification compliant.
Is this solution only suitable for smartphones then? Desclos said that Ether 1.3.1 is not limited to just smartphones. It can be integrated into all tiers of devices such as feature phones and tablets supporting 2G, 3G, and 4G mobile device designs. Ether 1.3.1 is said to be ready for commercial deployment. Several design references have been accomplished to date. Products from OEMs will be announced in the future.
It is said that Ether 1.3.1 allows more freedom in antenna structure design. Elaborating, Desclos said: “Ether 1.3.1 allows more freedom in antenna structure design in a few core areas: size, placement and ability to meet performance specifications. Through the use of active impedance matching techniques, smaller volume antennas can be achieved.”
This is especially important as phone form factors shrink, while more components are added to phones for increased functionality (cameras, GPS, etc.). Ether 1.3.1 can additionally be used to achieve compliance as the antenna system can be dynamically tuned for known challenge areas in specification compliance.
Finally, how can the Ether 1.3.1 solution be tuned for tougher challenges by toning down the antenna size?
Typically, when the antenna’s size is decreased, performance suffers since there is less volume area to cover the required bandwidth. The beauty of active impedance matching is that the technique allows for the antenna volume to be reduced by as much as 50 percent and still maintain compliant performance. As a result, active impedance matching allows for a wide range of designs, since the technique is applicable to a broad range of form factors.