Test to RF Standards Webinar

I was asked to be the kick-off speaker for EDN’s “Test to RF Standards” Webinar. I was joined by Jean Dassonville of Agilent Technologies, who sponsored the broadcast. It can ow be viewed “on demand”, by following the link here.

The summary of the topics covered are below:

LTE-A, 802.11ac and Wi-Gig are all pushing the envelope of how to test the components and devices that make up the latest communications systems. What’s required in the toolbox to successfully perform RF testing today? Join us on a webinar to explore what you need to know about RF testing in order to satisfy the latest standards. Whether you are new to RF test or experienced in this area, this webinar is for you.

Bring your questions and join us to hear/learn about:

  • Role of RF test across the lifecycle
  • Changing role for RF test in light of new standards
  • How modular standards like PXI and AXIe are changing how test is done
  • New test challenges that RF standards present, and the new techniques needed to test them
  • Measurement/application examples
By Larry DJ

A Beautiful Mind Explains Our Industry

In this guest blog for EE Times I write about game theory, Nash Equilibriums, and how this affects our industry. 

Remember the movie A Beautiful Mind? Directed by Ron Howard, it starred Russell Crowe, who played a brilliant but schizophrenic mathematician, John Forbes Nash, Jr. Though at heart a mathematician, Forbes received the Nobel prize in Economic Sciences in 1994. There is no Nobel prize for mathematics.

This post gives the reader some basic concepts about game theory. We review the prisoner’s dilemma and stag/hare hunting “games”, before moving to the real games: competitive industries such as video tape and discs.  Finally, we see that even the 2-party system in the US is a Nash Equilibrium, driven by the specific rules of the competition. However, you’ll have to read the comments to see what specific rules create this peculiar equilibrium. 

Game theory explains a lot about our industry, including the innovator’s dilemma. Take 10 minutes and get acquainted here


By Larry DJ

RF measurements: the modular tipping point

Malcolm Gladwell, in his book Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, describes the tipping point as “ the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point”.  My latest blog post connects Gladwell’s concepts with the test industry.

Open modular standards, such as VXI, PXI, or AXIe, represent approximately 15 percent of the automation market.  That market is defined anywhere a computer is connected to a set of instruments, but excludes the semiconductor test market (for now, but watch out!).  However, look at the history.  Driven by PXI this past decade, modular systems have outgrown their traditional box counterparts by ten percentage points nearly every year.  Starting in data acquisition, modular systems have been adopted by customers in multiple industries, segment by segment, and are now knocking on the door of the industry’s largest macro segment: RF (radio frequency).

While the sizespeed, and cost of test advantages of modular instruments are the attractions to users, it is the competitive instincts of the vendors that will irrevocably “tip” this market towards modular solutions.  With blazing RF speed breakthroughs recently announced by NI and Agilent, and vendor offerings literally from A (Aeroflex) to Z (ZTEC), no vendor dares to release their hand from full throttle.  An entire new market is up for grabs, and anyone who chooses not to participate – loses.  The incentive, if anything, is to invest more.  This market is tipping.

What are the implications for the industry? Read the entire blog post here.

By Larry DJ