Switching products technologies ranges from traditional Electro Mechanical Relays (EMR) and reed relays to semiconductor switches made of silicon or GaAs materials. A new type of device is currently getting to commercialization.
The first sales of RF MEMS switches outside DOD programs have been realized by Teravicta in 2006. The achievements of RadantMEMS in USA DOD programs, the first commercial product sales from Teravicta in 2006 and the 4 other competitors (MEW, XCOMwireless, MEMtronics, Advantest) product introduction in the same year, is a clear sign that RF MEMS switches are gaining momentum. Market potential is therefore large because MEMS based switches are expected to substitute existing products and enable new applications, particularly for mobile phones within short term.
The RF MEMS switch market mainly follows three drivers:
- Weight and size benefit for space and ATE (Automated Test Equipment) applications
- Increased RF switching performance at constant size and cost, for cell phone and radars applications
- Ability to create switching matrix being low cost and good RF performances in wired and wireless telecom applications
What is the technical segmentation?
The large panel of potential applications having strongly different specifications brings additional constrains to product development programs. There is a close relation between the MEMS structure developed and its ability to answer power handling capability of communication radars, or to achieve the appropriate cost structure required by cell phone handset modules. This lead to a complex market segmentation which should take into account a large set of parameters: Supply voltage, size, and cost structure, RF power handling capability, reliability level, and fit with the supply chain requirements?
An investigation through the different industries has highlighted that MEMS will only hit a share of the total RF switch market. RF MEMS switches will never replace antenna switches in cell phones because of switching speed limitation for example. The limiting market factors are mainly related to power handling, low RF performance and reliability requirements.
Will RF MEMS switch be able to enter the cell phone billion unit market?
The RF analogue from end module is expected to use up to four MEMS switch based features. The goal is to optimize the impendence of the antenna, the power amplifier and the filters in a large range of frequencies. It will support the multiband handset evolution in providing tuneable functions but it faces several challenges:
- What would be the cost structure of MEMS based FEM? What would be the value attributed to the MEMS functions?
- How will module manufacturer business be impacted by these new hardware architectures? Which strategies can be expected? Will it fit with MEMS player strategies?
This report gives an exhaustive analysis of the potential applications. It gives a segmentation of defence, industrial, automotive and telecom field. The market analysis details each application using the following criteria:
- Description of the application and the benefit of RF MEMS switches
- Function and specification requirements for RF MEMS switches
- Description of the final product market players and trends
- Analysis of the competitive technologies and players
- Analysis of the RF MEMS switches market
- Global market evaluation of the RF MEMS switch applications: component volume in Munits, Average Single Price (ASP), and 2006-2011 value forecasts
- Description of the products and technologies: product specifications, technological trends and business trends
- Evaluation of major players market share and potential new entrants
This report not only describes the market at the player and application level, but it provide a global view of the RF MEMS switch market allowing to build diversification strategies taking into account technical requirements.
Who should buy the report?
This report targets companies working in the RF switch industry and the Front End Module manufacturers and suppliers:
- Business development manager will plan and tailor the product development activities to fit to first product introduction or plan diversification strategies
- Sales managers will have market potential (# Munits/year, ASP) and an overview of joint markets.
- Technical directors will find global overview will find the market/technical requirement data to evaluate and scale their new product development projects
- Marketing executives of component and system companies will find key figures for their strategic plans
- Purchasing departments will find data to evaluate risks or new solutions for their sourcing strategies
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