I have been at ADI now for the last 8 years and am working on year 9. This is fairly short by ADI standards with many here with 15-20+ year tenures. However, in my total career now of about 14 years I have been able to see a good bit of advancement in the world of communications. I recall first having the ability to get the 'internet' on my phone those many years ago with blazing fast 2G data rates. I guess you could sort of call it the internet since the early sites were actually WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) sites for mobile devices and they were a little different than the standard website...and, of course, we all know now that 2G was anything but blazing fast. Could you imagine waiting on a website to load today at 2G data rates (~700kbps by the way)??? I think we'd all get bored pretty quickly. It sure was amazing at the time though! Today we see 5G on the horizon (if its not here already) with its data rates in the Gbps range. That is a few orders of magnitude better than it was just 10-12 years ago. How quickly things have advanced! Advancements in design have been happening at break neck pace for a while. Engineers have to churn out design spins and improvements in 6 months to one year time frames, possibly less in some circumstances. These designs last a few years in the field before they become obsolete due to the increased speeds in the latest designs.
By contrast, the design time frames for space applications are typically 3-5 years with mission lifetimes of 10, 15, and 20 years, more in some cases. It is quite interesting to have had the opportunity to work in such drastically different types of markets. One is high volume with short design cycles while the other is low volume with much longer design cycles. Speed is of the essence in one while reliability is of the essence in the other. In my latest blog on Planet Analog, Planet Analog - Jonathan Harris - Space Mission Lifetimes, I look at the mission lifetimes of various NASA missions and discuss some of the design considerations for space applications. I included a neat survey of a few of the mission life times of various NASA missions as well. You can see that graphic below as well.
It is amazing to see the progression in communications over the last 10-12 years, but it is even more amazing to see the length achieved in some of these NASA missions. The Hubble Space Telescope has now been in service for nearly 30 years. The International Space Station has been deployed for nearly 20 years. This is a testament to the attention to detail in the design and development of space products as well as the high level of screening and testing that these products undergo to qualify for space applications. Take a look at my latest blog and let me know what you think.