The key applications that will benefit from the Multi-Mix innovations are the microwave systems on airborne and space-based radar and electronic warfare platforms, where reduced size and weight translates directly into increased payload and performance. Other possibilities are the commercial applications where RF technology has begun to penetrate: wireless system installations including cellular radio, personal communication systems and local area networks.
Cable television companies are competing with communication system providers for market share in offering virtually unlimited bandwidth for transmitting data, voice and video information over RF carriers. Also, base station and mobile receiver terminals are candidates.
Direct broadcast satellite transmission of television signals is a worldwide market and there is further potential in a number of consumer receiver terminals in undeveloped countries.
A Japanese consortium of Toshiba Corp., Toyota Motor Corp. and Fujitsu recently announced a joint digital-satellite-broadcast project targeting 70 million automobiles in Japan for personal mobile receivers. Using the 2.6-GHz S-band frequency allocation, the system will deliver TV-quality video and CD-quality audio. Another potential area: low-cost planar, steerable phased arrays for vehicle rooftop installation. The microstrip patch antenna, feed-distribution network and receiver front end are proposed as a multilayer board implementation.
In the computer industry, clock speeds are already approaching gigabit data rates and a satisfactory solution to the high-frequency packaging problem has yet to be addressed. Current approaches use existing multipin hybrid and multichip modules, which must incorporate signal integrity circuitry to compensate for delays, impedance mismatches, crosstalk and multiple reflections. Achieving high-performance and low error-rate, gigabit performance will require a radical departure from present motherboard designs and pin grid array packages, especially if computers are expected to communicate using the wireless and photonic technologies of the future.