Insights on the T&M Industry for a Post-Pandemic World

Article By : Rohde & Schwarz

The overall Semiconductor industry’s prosperity can still be expected, although the pandemic recurrence fears might mitigate the momentum of its recovery since COVID-19 outbreak in 2020...

The overall Semiconductor industry’s prosperity can still be expected, although the pandemic recurrence fears might mitigate the momentum of its recovery since COVID-19 outbreak in 2020. The advanced Semiconductor process technology will continue to boost the growth of Semiconductor equipment and material markets. However, the US-Sino trade and technology disputes have cast uncertainty in Semiconductor industry and its supply chain.

In general, the pandemic outbreak speeds up the digital transformation across worldwide enterprises and services, and the crowding-out effect caused by US-Sino disputes significantly accounts for the reshuffle of industry supply chain. Although some researches published are conservative about Semiconductor industry’s future development worldwide, the impact on Taiwan’s Semiconductor industry is limited due to the main production deployed in Taiwan, highly automated manufacturing equipment and government’s effective pandemic containment. The continuous growth of industrial scale is anticipated in 2021, while the IC and component industries benefiting from customer switching and urgent orders caused by US-Sino disputes are in an unprecedented bull trend.

From a comprehensive survey of the technology and application development trend in 2021, 5G SA (Standalone) will be one of most mobile operators’ priorities next year. Business opportunity of O-RAN (Open Radio Access Network) is emerging if considering mobile operators’ striving for balanced cost structure and the flourishing 5G private network market. For Taiwan’s network computing manufacturers, it’s a good opportunity for them to engage with worldwide leading telecommunication operators’ supply chain through 5G O-RAN Small Cell.

The demands of crucial services are raised up, such as high speed, high throughput, massive connections, URLLC (ultra-reliable low latency communications) and network slicing, many of which can only be met with 5G SA networks. What foreseeable is that the IoT (Internet of Things) in 2021 will shift to IoI (Internet of Intelligence), a new prospect with IoT, AI and 5G incorporated. The forthcoming migration of IIoT (Industrial Internet of Thing) is the result of 5G IoT with intelligence applied. This is exactly the realization of smart factory with industry 4.0 introduced, another digital transformation from manufacturing point of view. The RF related issues induced then to tackle with become decisive to the success of a smart factory, such as network infrastructure installment, interference hunting, network coverage and performance, and real-time QoE monitoring.

Although the pandemic impact is expected to continue in 2021, 5G FR2 mmWave commercial services will keep coming up, at the same time the introduction of 3GPP IAB (Integrated Access and Backhauling) will help the deployment of 5G mmWave network and thus to boost the ongoing product launch of mmWave base stations and smart terminal devices. To cope with numerous 5G frequency bands, more build-in antennas are required; AIP (Antenna In Package), the packaging technique, was born because of it. Since AIP technique is nowadays only used for mmWave application, AIP antenna module will largely be adopted into 5G FR2 mobile and tablet PC in 2021 then to other mmWave market such as car radar and LEO satellite. This development trend will bring up more business opportunities for Taiwan’s packaging & test and PCB industries.

With the increasing requests to deal with huge data from 5G and IoI, many Taiwan manufacturers rushed en masse into data center market, together with the growing demands fueled by affluent stay-at-home economy created from the pandemic, market demand for cloud applications and servers is still running high. HPC (High Performance Computing) and 5G become two obvious growth momentums of Semiconductor industry in 2021. A new prospect is about to open up in high speed interface related industries incited by HPC, such as PCIe Gen 4/5 and USB 4.0.

Facing the ensuing market and technology development trend, Rohde & Schwarz, the German test and measurement instrument manufacturer, will uphold its rigorous but earnest attitude with consistency. Besides of accelerating the product development pace to keep up with worldwide technology and regulation evolution, R&S will continue its intensive collaboration with third parties to meet the ever-growing market demands with complete test solutions. Over past year Taiwan component manufacturers one after another extended their production lines because of the undersupplied LTCC (Low Temperature Co-fired Ceramic) market benefiting from the surging 5G and WiFi 6 applications. R&S Vector Network Analyzer is widely adopted in LTCC industry, from R&D to automated mass production, with test handler partner’s collaboration.

To cope with different application demands in 5G FR2, for which the OTA (Over-The-Air) test is crucial, and other mmWave market, R&S launched a series of products covering chamber of R&D / CTIA certification level and shielding box for production line. R&S also introduced complete mmWave OTA test solution for FR2 Small Cell market on the rise. With consecutive release of various scope series, R&S set a strategic goal to be leading from behind in the cloud server market featuring high speed, and further more to address smart factory customers with complete solution from rollout preparation, performance testing and quality control to regulatory compliance.

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