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Round-up 2013: Best of semiconductors, electronics and solar

December 31, 2013 Comments off

Virtex UltraScale device.

Virtex UltraScale device.

Friends, here’s a review of 2013! There have been the usual hits and misses, globally, while in India, the electronics and semiconductor industries really need to do a lot more! Enjoy, and here’s wishing everyone a Very Happy and Prosperous 2014! Be safe and stay safe!!

DEC. 2013
What does it take to create Silicon Valley!

How’s global semicon industry performing in sub-20nm era?

Xilinx announces 20nm All Programmable UltraSCALE portfolio

Dr. Wally Rhines: Watch out for 14/16nm technologies in 2014!

Outlook 2014: Xilinx bets big on 28nm

NOV. 2013
Indian electronics scenario still dull: Leaptech

Connecting intelligence today for connected world: ARM

India poses huge opportunity for DLP: TI

SEMICON Europa 2013: Where does Europe stand in 450mm path?

OCT. 2013
Apple’s done it again, wth iPad Air!

IEF 2013: New markets and opportunities in sub-20nm era!

SEPT. 2013
ST intros STM32F4 series high-performance Cortex-M4 MCUs

Great, India’s having fabs! But, is the tech choice right?

G450C

G450C

Now, India to have two semicon fabs!

Higher levels of abstraction growth area for EDA

AUG. 2013
Moore’s Law could come to an end within next decade: POET

What’s happening with 450mm: G450C update and status

300mm is the new 200mm!

JULY 2013
Xilinx tapes-out first UltraScale ASIC-class programmable architecture

JUNE 2013
EC’s goal: Reach 20 percent share in chip manufacturing by 2020!
Read more…

Flip Chip: An established platform still in mutation!


Flip-Chip is a chip packaging technique in which the active area of the chip is ‘flipped over’ facing downward, instead of facing up and bonded to the package leads with wires from the outside edges of the chip.

Any surface area of the Flip-Chip can be used for interconnection, which is typically done through metal bumps. These bumps are soldered onto the package and underfilled with epoxy. The Flip-Chip allows for a large number of interconnects with shorter distances than wire, which greatly reduces inductance.

According to Lionel Cadix, market and technology analyst, Yole Developpement, France, metal bumps can be made of solder (tin, tin-lead or lead-free alloys), copper, gold and copper-tin or Au-tin alloys. The package substrates are epoxy-based (organic substrates), ceramic based, copper based (leadframe substrates), and silicon or glass based.

Source: Yole Developpement, France.

Source: Yole Developpement, France.

In the period 2010-2018, Flip-Chip will likely grow at a CAGR of 19 percent. In 2012, laptop and desktop PCs were the top end products using Flip-Chip. It represents 50 percent of the Flip-Chip market by end product with more than 6.2 million of wafer starts. PCs are followed by smart TV and LCD TVs (for LCD drivers), smartphones and high performance computers.

The Flip-Chip market in 2012 is around $20 billion, selling 20 billion units approximately in 12’’ equivalent wafers. Taiwan is so far the no. 1 producer. At least 50 percent of the Flip-Chips devices get into end products. By 2018, the Flip-Chip market should grow to a $35 billion market, selling 68 billion units.

Applications and market focus
Looking at the applications and market focus, Flip-Chip technology is already present in a wide range of application, from high volumes/consumer applications, to low volumes/high end applications. All these applications have their own requirements, specifications and challenges!

Some of these are military and aerospace, medical devices, automobiles, HPC, servers, networks, base stations, etc, in low volumes. It is present in set-top boxes, game stations, smart TVs/displays, desktops/laptops and smartphones/tablets in high volumes. Flip-chip applications are also in imaging, logic 2D SoCs, HB-LEDs, RF, power, analog and mixed-signal, stacked memories, and logic 3D-SiP/SoCs.

In computing applications, for instance, the Intel core i5 is the first MCM combining a 77mm2 CPU together with a 115mm2 GPU in a 37.5mm side package. Solder bumps with a pitch of 185μm are used for the slicon to substrate (1st) interconnect. This MCM configuration is suitable for office applications, with relatively low demanding processing powers. For mobile/wireless applications, there are opportunities for MEMS in smartphones/feature phones. Similarly, Flip-Chip is available for consumer applications.

For microbumping in interposers for FPGA there is a focus on Xilinx Virtex 7 HT. Last year, Xilinx announced a single-layer, multi-chip silicon interposer for its 28nm 7 series FPGAs. Key features include two million logic cells for a high level of computational performance, and high bandwidth, four slice processed in 28 nm, 25 x 31mm, 100 μm thick silicon interposer, 45 um pitch microbumps and 10 μm TSV, and 35 x 35 mm BGA with 180 μm pitch C4 bumps.

Even if the infrastructure had been ready for full 3D stacking, the 2.5D Interposer would still have been the right choice for FPGAs since the ‘10,000 routing connections’ would have used up valuable chip area, making the chip slices larger and more costly than they are now. Virtex 7 HT will consist of three FPGA slices and two 28 gbps SerDes chips on an Interposer capable of operating at 2.8 Tb/sec.

Read more…

Will global semicon industry see growth in 2013?

February 2, 2013 14 comments

How will the global semiconductor industry perform in 2013? After a contrasting spell of predictions for 2012, I see no change in 2013! So, what’s the answer to the million-dollar question posed as my headline? 🙂

Global electronics industry.

Global electronics industry.

After a disappointing and challenging 2012, global semiconductor executives believe that the worst is nearly behind them, and they are making investments to position their companies for a sustained, broad-based, multi-year recovery in 2013, as per a KPMG global semiconductor survey.

On Feb. 3, the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) announced that worldwide semiconductor sales for 2012 reached $291.6 billion, the industry’s third-highest yearly total, ever but a decrease of 2.7 percent from the record total of $299.5 billion set in 2011. Total sales for the year narrowly beat expectations from the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) organization’s industry forecast.

The World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) estimated that the global semiconductor market in 2012 will be $290 billion, down 3.2 percent from 2011, followed by a recovery of positive 4.5 percent growth to $303 billion in 2013.

The worldwide semiconductor revenue is projected to total $311 billion in 2013, a 4.5 percent increase from 2012 revenue, according to Gartner Inc. The worldwide semiconductor revenue totaled $298 billion in 2012, a 3 percent decline from 2011 revenue of $307 billion, according to preliminary results by Gartner.

The outlook for the global semiconductor industry in 2013 will likely be 7.9 percent, according to Future Horizons. It means, the industry will likely grow to $315.4 billion in 2013. The Cowan LRA foreasting model put out the following sales and year-on-year sales growth numbers for 2012 and 2013: $292.992 billion (-2.2 percent) and $309.244 billion (+5.5 percent), respectively.

Databeans expects 2013 will see a rebound, with the semiconductor industry growing by 7 percent from 2012 totals to reach $313.04 billion. IDC forecasted that the worldwide semiconductor revenues will grow 4.9 percent and reach $319 billion in 2013.

IHS iSuppli claimed that the semiconductor silicon revenue will close 2012 at $303 billion, down 2.3 percent from $310 billion in 2011. The projected decline comes in contrast to the 1.3 percent gain made last year.

IC Insights forecasted 6 percent IC unit growth for 2013 based on expectations of global GDP to rise to 3.2 percent. According to IC

Source: VLSI Research, USA.

Source: VLSI Research, USA.

Insights, in 2017, China is expected to represent 38 percent of the worldwide IC market, up from 23 percent, 10 years earlier in 2007. Does this mean the USA and Europe are loosing their sheen?

The global semiconductor industry may record only 1.5 percent growth In 2013, as per The Infornation Network. There is, however, the possibility for a snap-back in revenues for 2013, irrespective of macroeconomic factors, such as what occurred in 2010.

Over the next three years, industry analysts estimate the global industry will grow approximately 6 percent 2013-2016 CAGR, according to Somshubro Pal Choudhury, managing director, Analog Devices India Pvt. Ltd.

Late 2012, I was speaking with Dr. Wally Rhines, chairman and CEO, Mentor Graphics. He said: “After almost no growth in 2012, most of the analysts are expecting improvement in semiconductor market growth in the coming year. Currently, the analyst forecasts for the semiconductor industry in 2013 range from 4.2 percent on the low side to 16.6 percent on the high side, with most firms coming in between 6 percent and 10 percent. The average of forecasts among the major semiconductor analyst firms is approximately 8.2 percent.”

WSTS also anticipates the world market to grow 5.2 percent to $319 billion in 2014, with healthy mid single digit growth across most of geographical regions and semiconductor product categories, supported by the healthier economy of the world.

Lastly, Forbes said that 2013 will be a turning point for the global semiconductor market.
Read more…

Outlook for global telecom: 2013 year of LTE?

January 24, 2013 3 comments

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.

Round-up 2011: Best of electronics, solar/PV and telecom

December 30, 2011 1 comment

Here’s the best of electronics, solar/PV and telecom for the year 2011. Enjoy! 😉

ELECTRONICS
M/H can truly deliver ‘real TV’ experience!

Cisco’s borderless networks architecture help enterprises overcome security challenges

Symantec releases latest Intelligence Report!

Norton cybercrime report 2011: Exposing the true scale!

Cloud deployment trends in APAC: IDC

Very fitting finale to Harry Potter!

XConnect’s VIE set to make video calls as easy as voice calls!

Vision technology can add valuable capabilities to electronic products: Jeff Bier, EVA

Tablets likely to transform ICT industry landscape: Computex 2011

Embedded Vision Alliance (EVA) is born!

Kotura leads the way in silicon photonics!

Aftermath of Japanese earthquake: Implications for global electronics industry!

Disruptions to global electronics supply chain following Japan’s quake!

Japanese quake and tsunami — too devastating to watch on TV!

What’s with attack toolkits and malicious websites?

SOLAR/PV
Global solar PV industry likely to be 22 GW in 2012!

HCPV on way to utility market!

Solar PV industry recommended to stay optimistic; US govt. supports India’s clean energy initiative!

Solarcon India 2011 begins with record exhibitors

PV inverter — innovations and market trends

Solar installations: How long will boom last?

Lessons to learn from Solyndra debacle!

Solar power becoming increasingly affordable: Dr. Charlie Gay

What’s happening with Indian solar/PV industry?

TELECOM
LogMeIn resolving IT challenges due to enterprise mobility!

Microsoft launches developer program for Windows Phone

Lava Mobiles launches classy S12 smartphone!

Steve Jobs: Master of the game!

Telesphere Videoconnect: Videoconferencing in the cloud!

Ether 1.3.1 phone adaptive antenna solution integrates with smartphones!

Wavion offers gamer changer in Wi-Fi offloading

Celebrating the World IPv6 Day!

Renesas enhancing localization of products in India!

September 17, 2011 1 comment

Jeffrey Soh and Sunil Dhar, Renesas.

Jeffrey Soh and Sunil Dhar, Renesas.

Renesas Electronics was among the worst hit companies during the Japanese earthquake in March this year. To its credit, Renesas restarted production at its quake-hit factories by mid-June. For the record, Renesas’ Naka factory had been the worst-affected by the March 2011 earthquake. The Naka factory produces around 20 percent of MCUs and SoC solutions, and about 10 percent of analog and power devices.

According to Jeffrey Soh, director – South Asia & Pacific Business Unit, Renesas Electronics Singapore Pte. Ltd,  power shortages had been created by the earthquakes. “The Naka plant was the most affected. It has been housing 65nm and 90nm process technologies. We have had very good support from the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI),” he said.

On June 1, 2011, the Naka factory started production again. “We are now in full recovery. We still have to recover a lot of backlog,” noted Soh. From the earthquake to the recovery of the Naka plant, Renesas was able to start the production of automotive processors. The massive earthquake in Japan and the resulting tsunami in March saw Renesas strengthen its business continuity plan (BCP)  and re-inforce the risk management system. “We have now taken up BCP. The earthquake only accelerated the BCP,” said Soh.

So, what’s the outlook like for 2012? According to Jeffrey Soh, there are double challenges. First, there is the high Yen. However, the high Yen has forced Renesas to be even more competitive. “We expect that the Japanese government will also roll out a recovery plan,” Soh, noted.

Renesas’ situation in India
Elaborating on Renesas’ India plans, Jeffrey Soh said: “We plan to grow in India. We have spent the last five years cultivating the Indian localization. Here, we are developing all India based solutions.” Out of the 30 products that have been developed in India so far, Renesas has been able to help 16 companies up until now.

“We have built a company that works on the localization of products. We are soliciting a lot of Japanese support to enhance the Indian localization of products,” he added.

According to him, besides mobile communications, healthcare and medical electronics, automotive electronics and smart energy, Renesas is also looking at developing the power electronics segment in India.

Evolution of wireless market and emerging trends: Qualcomm

May 17, 2011 Comments off

Matt Grob, SVP, corporate R&D, Qualcomm.

Matt Grob, SVP, corporate R&D, Qualcomm.

At the ISA CXO Conclave, Matt Grob, SVP, corporate R&D, Qualcomm, said that the company is a world leader in next-generation mobile technologies. It is celebrating 25 years of driving the evolution of wireless communications. It is making wireless more personal, affordable and accessible to people everywhere. Qualcomm is also the world’s largest fabless semiconductor company, #1 in wireless, and #9 in semiconductors.

Qualcomm’s unique business model is to be a technology enabler for the entire mobile value chain. It has continued strategic R&D investments, totalling more than $15.4 billion in 2010.

Industry trends
The 2G to 3G migration is currently taking place, with over 3.1 billion 3G subscriptions likely in 2015.  As for the emerging region growth, China leads with 640 percent, followed by Latin America at 465 percent and India at 168 percent, respectively.

Qualcomm is also said to be enabling the mobile broadband in India with 3G and LTE. Besides growing the LTE TDD ecosystem in region, it is building partnerships for long-term strategy and establishing 3G/LTE as best technology path for operators. Qualcomm is also driving the device evolution and growing the market by creating more choices for operators and consumers. It is developing low-cost 3G handsets for emerging markets using 1+ GHz mobile processors and supporting multiple popular OS.

The smartphone industry momentum has ensured that the ecosystem is benefitting from and driving growth. There has been as much as >25 percent YoY data revenue growth from leading operators. OEMs have launched 100+ new smartphones in the first half of CY 2010. The total mobile apps downloads from developers is likely to move up from 7 billion in 2009 to 50 billion by 2012.

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