CTIA highlights advances in RF transceiver ICs for mobile WiMAX
To ensure a stake in the upcoming WiMAX market, several semiconductor vendors flaunted their highly integrated RF transceiver ICs at this week’s CTIA Wireless 2007 conference in Orlando, FL. Infineon Technologies and NXP Semiconductors were amongst some of the key players at the wireless show. Research firm IMS forecasts that the WiMAX IC market will top $1.5 billion in 2012, with much of this being driven by combined WiMAX/WiFi ICs.
While developments in RF CMOS tranceiver chips were demonstrated by Infineon Technologies, NXP Semiconductors released a complete 2 x 2 multiple input multiple output (MIMO)-powered family of transceivers using silicon germanium (SiGe) BiCMOS for mobile WiMAX and handheld applications.
Infineon unveiled the world’s smallest, single-chip multi-mode dual-band CMOS RF-transceiver for WiMAX/WiFi applications, and NXP demonstrated 2x2 MIMO based BiCMOS transceivers that promise to double the data throughput and speed, while achieving unparalleled savings in power, real estate and system costs.
Called SMARTi WiMAX and implemented in 0.13 micron CMOS process, Infineon’s transceiver supports both IEEE 802.16e WiMAX and IEEE 802.11b/g WLAN in a single CMOS RF silicon chip. According to Infineon, SMARTi WiMAX supports the entire spectrum of licensed WiMAX frequencies, thereby allowing for worldwide implementation and seamless roaming using a single RF device. Nearly 50% smaller than competing devices, it exploits the company’s semi-BGA packaging technology to features a footprint of only 5 x 5 mm2. In addition, power consumption is also 50% lower than the industry benchmark, making the SMARTi WiMAX a highly energy-efficient solution, stated Infineon. Plus, it integrates on-chip all the necessary configurable baseband filters to lower the system bill of materials (BOM). Furthermore, it supports multiple channel bandwidths, from 3.5 MHz to 20 MHz, as well a wide range of reference clock frequencies, to offer a highly flexible solution that can interface with any standard WiMAX or WiFi baseband on the market using the chip’s standard analog I/Q and serial programming interfaces, stated Thom Degnan, vice president of the wireless business unit, Infineon Technologies North America.
Other features include excellent error vector magnitude (EVR) and best-in-class current consumption for 802.16e, and very low noise figure. Supporting 64QAM (64-state quadrature amplitude modulation), the SMARTi WIMAX also supports long-term-evolution (LTE) requirements as needed for upcoming 4G standards. Production is slated for the second half of 2007.
NXP’s UXA234xx WiMAX transceivers offer a fully integrated direct-up transmitter and ZIF architecture with a small foot print of 6 x 6 x 0.85 mm. It supports channel bandwidths from 3.5 MHz - 20 MHz and various flexible calibration techniques for optimum performance and lowest power consumption. With no need for an external IF filter, the solution requires minimum external components. Sampling now, the UXA23466 and UXA23476 WiMAX 2x2 MIMO transceivers are expected to go into production in the second quarter.
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