Now that the dust has finally settled, I am able to gather my thoughts on this year’s International Microwave Symposium (IMS2014). I was impressed with everything that I saw.

According to an IMS release, more than 7,500 attendees, 35 percent of whom were first-time attendees, filled the sold-out show floor in Tampa, FL, marking it the fourth consecutive year in which first-time attendees topped 30 percent. The event even showcased 73 new exhibitors.

The major buzzwords I heard throughout the show included GaN (gallium nitride), 5G, and IoT (Internet of Things), so let’s break down the highlights.


Power devices that use silicon are expected to reach their limits, and with efficiency being a key requirement, GaN possesses the unique characteristics that will offer an increase in electrical breakdown characteristics, bandgap, and carrier mobility.

Companies using GaN favor its features of high output power with small physical volume, and high efficiency in power amplifiers at ultra-high and microwave radio frequencies. However, a number of companies disagree on GaN and gallium arsenide (GaAs) technologies, and prefer to use CMOS (complementary metal-oxide semiconductor).

CMOS technology offers high noise immunity and low static power consumption at a low cost, a challenge that GaN seems to be struggling with. It also is monotonic, making it easier to work with than the complex molecules of GaN and GaAs.

While both technologies seems to have their benefits, GaN seemed to be the favorite among the exhibitors at IMS2014.


With the amount of wireless devices increasing exponentially on a daily basis, the available spectrum for 4G devices is becoming a challenge. 5G, or the 5th Generation of networks will help increase broadband speeds and capacity, allowing real-time response no matter where you’re located.

5G will also be able to allocate more or less bandwidth depending on users’ needs and demands, making it highly adaptable. This is important for not putting unnecessary strain on individual connection points when it comes to IoT.


No matter where you go, someone seems to always bring up IoT. From connected appliances to connected cars, information will be able to transfer over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.

WDD held a discussion on connected cars during IMS2014 that focused on how future designs will be able to transfer data to alert drivers of certain safety situations, which has the potential to lead to completely autonomous cars.

With many new products being designed specifically for IoT, RF and microwave designers will be pretty busy in the upcoming years.

All three of these topics made IMS2014 a huge hit this year, and it makes me excited for next year’s event to see what the future has in store.

Until then, keep on reading!

Are you pro GaNs, GaAs, or CMOS? Is 5G the answer? And where will IoT be in five years? Comment below, or send your comments to