SMT007 Magazine


Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 79 of 123

80 SMT Magazine • July 2016 by Matej Krajnc NATIONAL INSTRUMENTS Australia's first mobile phone call was made in a car on 9 August, 1981. It took a decade to reach the market, and it was sold for AUD $5,200. Then, it supported a single band, and it weighed and felt like a brick, for which it was fa- mously named. Fast forward three decades: The mobile phone industry has undergone multiple disruptions caused by game-changing technolo- gies, including the development of 4G network. The form and functionality of a mobile phone have also improved. The app ecosystems have grown, network speeds increased, and prices dipped. However, the disruptions have also intro- duced new challenges for suppliers of RF com- ponents to surmount. According to a recent Databeans analyst forecast, the cost of radio frequency integrated circuits (RFICs) for mobile devices has dropped by more than 40% since 2007. This is despite the rise of device complex- ity. Ten years ago, a single-function GSM power amplifier was the norm. Today, many RFICs are significantly more complex. They support mul- tiple radio standards and multiple bands with more advanced technologies such as dynamic power supplies, MIPI digital interfaces, and more. To maintain profitable margins against low- er retail prices, companies were in the past com- pelled to think of innovative ways to reduce the cost of semiconductor design and test. This eventually led to RFIC suppliers switching their focus on decreasing the cost of manufactur- ing test. Over the past decade, this intense fo- cus has produced a significant shift from using turnkey ATE solutions to building in-house and cost-optimized testers based on off-the-shelf instrumentation. This shift to a custom tester approach has been a large factor in the success of modular instrumentation platforms like PXI in manufacturing particularly because modular instruments have shown excellent value per performance. FEATURE

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of SMT007 Magazine - SMT-July2016