The last time I visited the "build or buy" issue, a lot of small commercial engineering outfits were looking to the big companies for in-house support for their various products for the burgeoning wireless market.
With the technology and complexity of self-contained RF systems having advanced much in the past 15 years, I'm sure the major IC companies and module makers still get involved with the little guy but the details are usually sparse due to the nature of today's non-disclosure agreements. On the other hand, build-versus-buy is largely the same issue at university labs and applied-research houses, where performance isn't necessarily measured in commercial terms and where meeting tight timetables and cost budgets aren't always the biggest driving factors.
So what are the general design rules? I reckon they're largely unknown to the current crop of today's young engineers, but they are relatively simple and unchanged, albeit counter-intuitive.
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