IMS2016: Day 1 Review

I hope that you had a chance to visit the IMS2016 show during the first day. There was a noticeable increase in floor and booth traffic compared to the show last year. Perhaps you all read my preview blog this week and decided to come and check out our great demonstrations at the Analog Devices booth! Just in case you did not make it to the IMS2016 show on day one I’ve included some photos of the demonstration in my section of the Analog Devices booth for your viewing pleasure. The photo below shows the full demonstration station including our back panel banner and our demonstration highlights. As can be seen the demonstration is titled “Complete Microwave Receiver and DPD Front-End Solution.” Recall from my IMS2016: Preview and Preparation blog that we have a microwave demodulator, microwave LNA, PLL/VCO synthesizer, clock distribution, and differential amplifiers making up a complete signal chain. The idea is to showcase the components that Analog Devices offers to complete a signal chain from the microwave frequency range all the way to bits.

Complete Microwave Receiver and DPD Front-End Solution Demonstration

Complete Microwave Receiver and DPD Front-End Solution Demonstration

The key point of the demonstration is bringing an input from microwave to baseband with high dynamic range with low power consumption utilizing a signal chain that is scalable to support massive MIMO systems via phase synchronization for up to 2401 channels. I’ve taken the blocks from the block diagram in my preview blog and overlaid them onto a close-up photo of the demonstration. This will help visualize where each component is in the demo. I hope these photos will also provide some enticement to come by the Analog Devices booth (1519) at the IMS2016 show to see this demonstration as well as our other exciting demonstrations including transceivers in the Analog Devices RadioverseTM , 2-18 GHz 100 W power amplifiers, radar signal chains, and many others.

Demonstration Booth Close-Up Photo with Block Diagram Overlay

Demonstration Booth Close-Up Photo with Block Diagram Overlay

Now let’s move on to discuss more about the first day of the show. As I mentioned, the traffic and attendance seemed to be up a decent bit this year. I had a steady flow of folks through the booth with many great questions and conversations. This was a bit of a departure from the last few years at the show where the traffic was fairly light during the morning of the first day. From the moment the show floor opened there was a steady flow of traffic in and around the Analog Devices booth. I had several folks interested in the quite elaborate demonstration setup that I have on the station. There is definitely a fair amount of components and cables to take in when viewing the demonstration so I had presumed there would be a lot of interest in understanding all the workings of the demonstration circuits. It was also great to follow up with a few customers that I had worked to sample evaluation boards to and see their current status and hear good feedback. One of the great things about the IMS show is having face to face meetings with customers as well as other folks within my own company at Analog Devices. It makes a world of difference to put a face to a name.

By the end of the day folks from many different types of companies had come by the booth with a variety of questions and areas of interest. My colleague working with me on the booth, Kazim Peker, had many questions related to the phase synchronization portion of our demonstration. He did a great job explaining the advantages of the HMC7044 and HMC7043 products. You can read a bit more about this topic in the article he co-authored with Altug Oz recently, Synchronizing Sample Clocks of a Data Converter Array. There was a lot of interest in the 14-bit 500 MSPS quad channel ADC as well. Several folks were impressed by the downconversion from the microwave band at 8GHz to provide the inputs to the A and B channels of the ADC. I also had several questions related to our PLL/VCO synthesizer that provides the LO to the ADRF6880 as well as the sample clock to the ADC. Thanks to Rob Brennan for his support and assistance bringing this part into the demonstration. You can read more about the PLL/VCO synthesizer products that we works on here in the article Wide-band Phase-Locked Loops with Integrated Voltage Controlled Oscillators: Can They Replace a Discrete Solution? which discusses the ADF4355, a product very similar to the ADF5355 used in the demonstration.

In addition to these great products it was great to be located nearby to our transceiver demo stations and separate RadioverseTM booth. I had many questions related to these parts as well and it was great to direct folks over to our knowledgeable support staff on site and hear about this incredibly cool new technology. I am an ADC guy currently by trade, but it is quite neat to hear about the advances Analog Devices is making with the transceiver technology.

The variety of guests to the booth included folks from communications companies to instrumentation companies to many different universities from all over the world. It is impressive to see the many different countries represented at IMS in any given year. Just to name a few there is Canada, Turkey, Japan, China, Taiwan, India, Ireland, United Kingdom, France, Spain, and Italy. I am sure there are many more represented as this is just a small sample of folks that I talked to at the Analog Devices booth on just the first day.

One visitor at our booth reminded me of just how small the world of engineering can be. I talked to a gentleman who is currently working at a company while simultaneously pursuing his master’s degree in engineering. Having completed a master’s degree in engineering myself (just after finishing my bachelor’s degree) I know firsthand how big of an accomplishment it is to complete a graduate degree. It is an even bigger accomplishment in my opinion to complete an advanced degree while working full time. It takes sincere dedication and commitment to complete such a task. What I found out in the course of our conversation was that we both graduated from UNC-Charlotte with our bachelor’s degrees. This particular gentleman finished up his bachelor’s degree just one year prior to my first year. It was great to be able to have an interesting conversation with a fellow UNC-Charlotte graduate. Arguably those who know me best may not know that is where I attended university for my undergraduate since most know that I went to Auburn for my graduate degree (and subsequently became captivated with the spirit of the Auburn family).

In another example of our small world in engineering, I ran into a former manager as I made my way to the elevator in my hotel after returning from supper. It is quite interesting how the timing of things works out sometimes; how a sequence of events can lead to another event. The timing worked out precisely such that I barely caught the elevator to head up to my room and when I hopped onto the elevator I saw my former manager from nearly ten years ago standing there on the elevator. It was great to see a familiar face from the past. In this particular case, I look forward to dropping by the booth of his current employer to say hello and catch up a bit as it has been quite some time since our paths have crossed. It is one of the great things about the IMS show. I enjoy catching up with folks I’ve worked with previously and seeing where they are currently since some have also made position and/or company changes and are in new roles.

At the end of the day on the exhibit hall I can say there was interesting discussion on the demonstration, great questions about our products, and consistent steady floor and booth traffic resulting in a great first day of the IMS2016 show. I look forward to the second day of the show and expect it to be even better than today since many folks will obtain the exhibit pass for the second day since it has the longer exhibit hours.

I’d like to say one more thing before closing on the discussion of the first day of the show. I should have mentioned this in my preview blog, but failed to recall it as there was quite a bit of complexity in the discussion of the demonstration. A request from a colleague for some additional connectors this morning reminded me. I’d like to impart a thought: contingency plan. After having been to the IMS show now for a number of years I’ve found that many unexpected things can, and usually do, occur. At this point I now bring a bag of extra connectors, adapters, cables, etc. and I always, ALWAYS bring two of every circuit board in my demonstration. It is not a great feeling to have a live demonstration where a particular board unexpectedly stops working (this is spoken from experience). I’ve learned to plan for the unexpected and make sure to have extras of everything on hand as well as additional items that may not be necessary when planning the trip but suddenly become necessary once you are at the booth setting up the demonstration. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about the first day of the show and if you have not made it out yet I hope to see you tomorrow or Thursday on the exhibit hall floor. For those of you who can’t make it I hope this provides a window into the world of the IMS2016 show here in San Francisco that will perhaps provide some encouragement for you to attend the show in the future.

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