Interview with Jim Nerschook from thinkRF

  • Jim Nerschook - Chief Operating Officer of thinkRF

everything RF recently interviewed Jim Nerschook, the Chief Operating Officer of thinkRF. Jim is an accomplished wireless industry veteran with strong expertise in the wireless and wireline test and measurement and monitoring market. He has in depth experience in developing strategic plans, developing hardware and SaaS solutions, leading organizational change and achieving double-digit growth.

Q. Can you give us a brief history of thinkRF?

Jim Nerschook: The company was founded by Nikhil Adnani (co-founder, CTO) in Ottawa, ON, Canada in 2006. While working for CRC (Communications Research Centre Canada), he saw the need for increased spectrum monitoring and the shift from bulky and expensive bench-top spectrum analyzers to portable, easier to deploy and cheaper alternatives.

The objective of the company was to develop world-class RF spectrum monitoring solutions.

Q. Can you tell us more about thinkRF's product portfolio?

Jim Nerschook: thinkRF produces a range of industry-leading real-time spectrum analyzers, frequency converters, spectrum monitoring solutions and software analysis solutions for 4G, 5G and 6G networks.

thinkRF products cover a broad frequency range and bandwidth with the best price to performance. thinkRF products are networkable, compact, light, low power and silent that can be deployed remotely without a local PC.

Q. What market segments do you cater to?

Jim Nerschook: Our main focus is Telecom Operators, Regulators, Defense (EW, SIGINT and TSCM) and R&D applications. Starting in 2022, Telecom Operators will be our largest segment.

Q. Who are your customers and where are they located?

Jim Nerschook: We are a global brand targeting Telecom Operators and Regulators, Defense and Research & Development. Throughout the years, we have gained the trust of several globally renowned clients and successfully added them to our client portfolio. Our business is divided roughly 1/3 North and South America, 1/3 Asia Pacific and 1/3 Europe, Middle East, and Africa. And of course, this is subject to change yearly as we grow our business.

Q. Can you tell us more about your global distribution and support channels? How do you manage support in different countries?

Jim Nerschook: Our global distribution channels are located throughout North and South America, Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Asia. These channels provide sales along with Tier 1 and Tier 2 support to our valued customers. Due to our expanding product portfolio and continued phenomenal growth, we are currently looking to expand our team in all regions.

Q. Can you tell us more about your Frequency Conversion products? How are they different from other solutions in the market?

Jim Nerschook: We provide a wide variety of Up and Down Frequency Converters targeted at the 4G and 5G markets. The key differentiator for our products versus other solutions is our frequency coverage and high-fidelity performance and price/performance ratio.

thinkRF's RF frequency converter product portfolio covers up to 44 GHz with 800 MHz of analog bandwidth for open environment (spectrum monitoring) and controlled environment (lab/production testing) applications. This product portfolio helps our valued customers to retain their existing field, lab, and manufacturing test equipment, extend the life of their investment, and reduce time to market and costs when measuring 5G mmWave signals.

Q. Can you tell us about how RF Spectrum Monitoring & Intelligence Solutions? What makes your Spectrum Analysis Solutions Stand out from the Competition?

Jim Nerschook: Our valued customers consider their spectrum one of their most valued assets. Through measurement, monitoring, and protection of spectrum assets, thinkRF’s SXM system enables owners, users and society in general to receive the maximum benefit of this critical resource. Our critical differentiation from our competition is that our solution provides real-time monitoring and our solution is a SaaS solution.

Q. thinkRF introduced an RF Amplifier for Mission-Critical Applications last year - Can you tell us more about this product? What drove you to develop this product?

Jim Nerschook: The mission-critical RF Amplifier which we launched last year is a discrete, rugged, portable, cellular power amplifier for public safety and emergency comms applications. This product was developed on contract for a government opportunity and has been a perfect asset for use cases in homeland security, emergency communications, TSCM (non-linear junction detection) and rural communications.

Q. Can you tell us about the APIs and Protocols that are compatible with thinkRF devices? Can developers create custom applications for thinkRF Equipment using these APIs? What are some interesting applications that have been created?

Jim Nerschook: thinkRF platforms support a rich suite of open APIs and programming environments for easy integration with any existing RF solutions and applications. thinkRF has a wealth of experience working with system integrators (SIs). Responsive, prompt and timely thinkRF Customer Support Team along with a rich library of APIs and standard protocols proved to be invaluable resources for SIs who are developing purpose-built and turnkey RF applications for their clients. C/C++ APIs & DLL, NI LabVIEW, HiSLIP, SCPI & VITA VRT, and MATLAB are among our rich set of APIs and programming environments.

There is an increasing trend in most industries to invest in private RF networks in industries like; utility (water, electricity, gas, etc.), mining, logistics (warehouse) or manufacturing. Companies in these industries are looking for solutions to ensure that critical infrastructure and equipment are not disrupted. Any resulting downtime from a disruption can have serious financial consequences. One of the latest APIs provides a turnkey solution to address this concern.

Q. What is the Product Roadmap for the next 3 years?

Jim Nerschook: We will continue to revolutionize RF monitoring and intelligence! We’re an ambitious, diverse, closely knit team of RF experts who are driven to redefine how the 5G wireless spectrum is monitored and managed. Our primary focus will be to expand our expertise in wireless network monitoring & intelligence in real-time.

Our product portfolio will continue to be the core of all RF spectrum monitoring applications to protect vital RF spectrum networks with real-time insights into the state of wireless technologies.

Click here to learn more about thinkRF on everything RF.

About Jim Nerschook 

Jim Nerschook is the Chief Operating Officer of thinkRF. He has been on the Board of thinkRF for over four years. Previously, he has held senior-level executive positions at Viavi Solutions, JDSU, Acterna, GN NetTest and PAR Technology where he acquired in-depth experience in developing strategic plans, developing hardware and SaaS solutions, leading organizational change and achieving double-digit growth. He has a strong background in managing global marketing and sales organizations as well as R&D organizations. Jim has a BSc in Physics from Syracuse University and an MSc in Management Science from State University of New York at Binghamton.