What is driving the need for tunable antennas?
Two powerful trends are driving the rapid and sustained growth of the tunable antenna market. First, consumers are demanding not just wider coverage, but better-quality, denser coverage. This means much more than just the ability to send/receive phone calls and text messages; it also includes the ability to view, download and upload graphics, video and other content. To satisfy this demand, manufacturers and operators must offer phones that support multiple bands. The LTE environment, for example, now supports 40+ different bands, and even more permutations when carrier aggregation is considered.
Second, consumers are demanding more feature-rich phones with larger screens, but smaller form factors. To meet these seemingly contradictory needs, manufacturers must shrink all electronics inside the device, including antennas. A single antenna that provides all the functionality of multiple antennas helps designers achieve this goal.
What benefits does SkyCross’ vertically-integrated design/manufacturing approach offer?
Our vertically-integrated design and manufacturing process enables designers and manufacturers to work with one company throughout the device development process. It ensures that all antenna designs are easy to produce and that there is adequate production capacity to meet a manufacturer’s current and anticipated needs.
What technical challenges exist to accommodate the growing number of frequency bands required for LTE and carrier aggregation?
Although LTE is a common protocol, different operators use different frequency bands to provide LTE service. As a result, the number of frequency bands with which a device must communicate has exploded.
SkyCross’ three core technologies contribute to addressing the growing number of frequency bands required for LTE and carrier aggregation. iMAT allows a single antenna to act like multiple antennas through the use of multiple feedpoints. Each feedpoint accesses the single antenna as if it were two or more independent antennas, highly isolated from each other. This enables very efficient and compact antenna designs. Developers can combine the iMAT design with other antenna requirements to form a multi-band, multi-protocol antenna module.
VersiTune-LTE provides an advanced tunable antenna solution for multi-band 4G LTE devices in a single antenna structure. SkyCross can therefore actively tune an antenna from frequency band to frequency band accurately so that the antenna meets the many needs of a single operator or the frequency band requirements of multiple operators simultaneously.
The newest technology to the SkyCross arsenal is MatchTune. MatchTune enables a single antenna structure to uniquely fine tune within a given LTE frequency band, which both enhances performance for a given frequency or for multiple simultaneous frequencies when employing carrier aggregation.
These technologies enable ODMs and OEMs to improve the performance of their mobile devices, while concurrently reducing costs and shrinking the form factor of their products.
What makes SkyCross the most economical option?
Traditionally, device manufacturers have had to choose between high performance, low cost and small form factor when selecting antennas. SkyCross’ iMAT technology lets manufacturers have it all. Combining the performance of multiple antennas into one reduces material costs and requires less space within the mobile device. In addition, SkyCross’ VersiTune and MatchTune technologies maximize device performance.
How does iMAT enable smaller antennas?
iMAT enables designers to create mobile products with smaller form factors in several ways. iMAT technology allows one antenna to act as several antennas, savings space within the mobile product. In addition, spatial separation solutions require multiple antennas to connect to other circuitry within the device. With SkyCross products incorporating iMAT technology, including the VersiTune-LTE product, just one antenna connects to circuitry in the device. Finally, fewer components in the device translate to lower material and labor costs.
Aside from mobile devices, for which other markets is SkyCross’ technology relevant?
SkyCross serves primarily three markets. Mobile devices include more than just smart phones. It also includes tablets, laptops and USB adapters. The company also applies its technologies for home, office and public networking. This includes wireless access points, wireless gateways, set top boxes, and similar devices. SkyCross also serves the burgeoning M2M (machine-to-machine) market, which consists of wireless antenna modules for standards ranging from WiFi to Zigbee, NFC and Bluetooth. Applications are diverse as utility (meter reading), transportation (cargo tracking), and industrial (chemical sensing and monitoring).
What is the market potential in SkyCross’ core mobile device market as well as other markets?
Each market SkyCross serves is projected to enjoy significant growth for the foreseeable future. For example, analyst group Ovum predicts that worldwide smart phone shipments will jump from 488 million devices in 2011 to 1.7 billion devices in 2017. (Source). Global wireless LAN equipment and WiFi phone sales grew to $993 million in Q2 2012 alone, a 16 percent increase over the previous quarter; and WLAN equipment revenue is up more one-third year over year, as reported by Infonetics, a research firm. (Source). Similarly, a report dated June 2012 from Analysys Mason projects M2M device connections will grow by a factor of 20, from 100.4 million to 2.1 billion; and revenue will increase accordingly from $5.7 billion in 2011 to $50.9 billion in 2021. (Source).