Do RF modules eliminate the need for RF Engineers?

Pinter Electronics Consultants’ started a discussion on Element 14:

Chris Pinter said, “Do we need RF engineers now that radio modules are available?

Is designing a radio today as easy as plopping down an RF module onto a board and expecting it to work, assume it will pass FCC testing?   Or do we still need to consider RF testing, communication theory, conditions that promote unintentional radiation?

What about propagation theory and antenna radiation?   Are these topics still relevant?

I believe many engineers who do not have a strong background in RF theory would hope this to be true.   As an RF engineering consultant I am seeing many small and medium sized companies (5 to 50 employees) using a condensed product development process in order to get product to market on time.  Often times I see the development process go from design to certification testing with verification testing focused on software and application testing with very little sound scientific RF testing and only limited RF propagation testing.

This has become a problem as product development engineers rely on the RF module manufacture to solve all of their RF problems.  To be honest this is not practical, The RF module manufacture has provided the module to reduce the emissions and provide a simple solution to creating an RF link.  The layout and placement of the module and antenna are critical and will affect the performance of circuits.

Testing is still very important to the success of the project and its ability to pass certification and perform as expected within the worst case conditions of the environment.

What do you think?”

WELL… what do you think? Do you have something to add to this discussion? Post a comment below or go to the discussion by clicking here.

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