Alun MorganLow Dk materials are a solution to high-frequency constraints.

With the rollout of early commercial services, the 5G revolution is happening now and will touch more lives in more ways and be more disruptive than perhaps any before it. This is probably because the revolution is not about 5G technology itself, but instead is about the many visions of the connected world that finally can be made real.   

We’ve been dreaming big with concepts like the IoT and autonomous mobility, e-health, Industry 4.0, to name a few. The potential benefits are huge, but so is the scale of the connectivity they envisage. 5G is designed to handle this, but sheer volume is only one part of the equation. Exciting applications linked to mobility and industrial automation, for example, are obviously time-critical too. 5G’s provision for ultra-reliable low-latency communication (URLLC) will enable the timely responses needed to ensure safety and proper coordination between machines or large numbers of self-driving vehicles moving within the same geographical area.   

Read more: 5G is Here, But It’s Only the Start of Something Much Bigger

Alun Morgan… So let’s challenge old design concepts.

As Martin Cotton begins to enjoy retirement (it seems that’s his word for embarking on complex wireless projects he’s always wanted to explore), I have been invited to take over this spot and share my perspectives on the substrates industry. You may know I have recently become technology ambassador for Ventec after starting my career as a research physicist and spending many years in the PCB business, most recently as chairman of the EIPC.

As a technology ambassador, my role begins with encouraging designers and fabricators to think creatively at the substrate level. By taking advantage of critical innovations happening here, it’s possible to deliver new products that deliver much better functionality, form factor and reliability than their predecessors. This presents tremendous opportunities to leapfrog competitors technically by challenging accepted practices and creating new products that really stand out.

Read more: The Timeless Laws of Thermodynamics are Immutable...

Martin CottonOur retiring columnist reflects on five decades in the PCB industry.

Read more: The Value of Experience, Design Gurus, and Attention to Detail

Martin CottonApplying experience to design to build better boards.

Some things change, some stay the same. The Pretenders were almost certainly not thinking about making PCBs, but it certainly applies to this industry.

As my musical musing may suggest, I’ve been here a long time – just over 50 years, in fact. (Chrissie Hynde was still at art school when I started.) I’ve seen many changes. I even caused a few! (More on that later.) But some things stay the same, and one of these is the disconnect between PCB designers and the fabricators who do the making.


Read more: Engineers: The ‘A’ in CAD stands for Aided
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