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Design007-May2018

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12 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I MAY 2018 Down at sub-six gigahertz, there's not so much of a dramatic change in the electrical requirements of the materials, but one of the things that is happening is, perhaps not neces- sarily in the very first iterations, but certainly in newer designs that we see coming out on the horizon, there's a lot more integration between the antennas and the power components and the transceivers, and going forward even more integration with the high-speed digital parts. So, you see much more complex multilayer printed circuit boards, and a lot more integration. You see these modular stacks starting to look a bit more like high- speed digital boards. And so, the manufacturability of the PCB becomes more critical, and the ability to make much more complex multilayer PCBs becomes more critical than it was from 2, 3 and 4G. I think that's how I would sum it up. Shaughnessy: Ben, why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself, then just give us a few thoughts on 5G. Ben Jordan: Sure. My background is more digi- tal than anything. I was an FPGA programmer before getting into the EDA space. For me, RF has always been this scary black box thing. And I know that 5G is going to affect many people, especially at the PCB design level. That's because those people don't necessarily have any knowledge or experience with doing RF PCB design or RF system-level design. But the whole point of moving to 5G is to enable many thousands of additional devices to join the network, where the whole push for this from my point of view is so the Internet of Things could go to its next stage of evolu- tion. There are going to be many thousands of devices needing reasonable bandwidth, a lot of them are going to be thirsty, and a lot of devices will have very, very small bits of infor- mation. So, if you read up on 5G, you read that there could be many hundreds of thousands of simultaneous connections from sensor arrays, or it will be used as a sensor network. Maybe the flagship consumer will still be mobile phones, but the same networks in our homes, in our streets, in our cities, are going to be 4G or 3G, will be completely saturated if all those different IoT sensors and services that we're dreaming up were to have to use those older technologies. That's really what's driv- ing this and what's pushing bandwidth to be increased to accommodate this. What do you do to increase band- width? You make much more complex modulation schemes, and you also must increase carrier frequency. So now with 5G we're going to be seeing in the millime- ter wave, bandwidths up to 60 gigahertz, for example. What does that mean for PCB designers and people like me who don't know a lot about RF? It's kind of scary, if you think about it. I think, to a large extent, we have been rely- ing on our chip manufacturers, companies like NXP or Broadcom and Qualcomm, to come up with the goods in a very easy-to-consume sort of package, so that a lot of those materials and a lot of the RF signal pathways are contained on a chip, and the antennas are there. One of the good things about high frequency carriers is the sizes of the antennas can shrink. One of the other things about 5G is its ability to go peer to peer. Then various nodes on the net- work will be able to quickly negotiate direct links and communicate peer to peer and not require a base station all the time. Some of those bottlenecks will disappear and it will become more of a true mesh. And in doing so, we can have lower power requirements because there's less signal strength required in many instances. So that can help with the hun- dreds or thousands of sensor arrays or other smart devices. In terms of PCB design, reduc- John Hendricks

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