RFaxis Reveals Breakthrough in Its CMOS RF Front-End Technology for Wi-Fi Enabled Mobile Handsets

White Paper Demonstrates Significant Improvement in RF Performance and Battery Efficiency for Mobile Platforms with Co-Existing Wi-Fi and 3G/LTE Operation

IRVINE, Calif. — (BUSINESS WIRE) — May 16, 2012RFaxis, a fabless semiconductor company focused on innovative, next-generation Radio Frequency (RF) solutions for the wireless connectivity and cellular mobility markets, announced today it has published a white paper on RF front-end technology entitled “CMOS Wi-Fi RF Front-Ends for Mobile Handset Applications – Part-I.” The paper is the first in a three-part series that discusses RF-related technical challenges for dual-mode Wi-Fi/cellular handset designs. The paper also discusses some of the technical solutions that RFaxis has developed to mitigate these critical issues faced by the RF/wireless community today.

According to the Linley Group, smartphones are one of the most rapidly growing market segments in wireless with 600 million units projected to ship in 2014. These advanced mobile devices are capable of simultaneous 3G/LTE operation and Wi-Fi connectivity, so users can connect to a cellular network for voice calls, while searching the Internet or downloading data files through Wi-Fi networks simultaneously. The concurrent operation of different radios inside a tightly spaced handset poses unprecedented challenges to RF designs that need to meet uncompromised performances at an ever-decreasing Bill of Materials (BOM) cost.

The new RFaxis white paper provides comprehensive test data and comparison of noise contributions from different Wi-Fi power amplifiers and front-end modules in the UMTS/WCDMA receiver band (Band-1, 2.11-2.17GHz) from multiple tier-one vendors. The PAs/FEMs have been developed by the RF/wireless industry over many years on different materials/process technologies including GaAs HBT, GaAs pHEMT, BiCMOS SiGe HBT, and most recently bulk RF CMOS. Some of the key findings from this study include:

  • Total noise power in the WCDMA receive band increases with WLAN transmit power level for all technologies except for bulk CMOS, which shows either negligible change or even slightly reduced noise power at high WLAN output signal levels.
  • The need for high levels of rejection (30-35dB) for GaAs or SiGe HBT based solutions translates to more expensive co-existence filters, as well as extra degradation in Wi-Fi receiver sensitivity and increased current consumption by the transmit chain.
  • CMOS based Wi-Fi RF Front-end ICs (RFeIC) from RFaxis require 1.0-1.5dB less linear power at PA output, which reduces current consumption significantly. They also help improve receiver sensitivity of the Wi-Fi system by the same amount.

“As more mobile devices require concurrent operation of 3G/4G cellular and Wi-Fi, there is an increased demand to improve the performance and cost structure of co-existence filters with paradoxical criteria such as low in-band insertion loss, high out-band rejection, minimal component size and lowest price,” commented Dr. Oleksandr Gorbachov, CTO of RFaxis. “We have found an alternative solution to this problem by taking advantage of the unique device/process characteristics of RF CMOS, along with proprietary design methodology, we are able to significantly reduce the Wi-Fi PA noise leakage to the WCDMA receive band, thus allowing RF system designers to use co-existence filters with highly relaxed specifications. This not only helps them reduce BOM cost, but also results in improved Wi-Fi performance.”

Mike Neshat, chairman and CEO of RFaxis, added, “We are pleased to share our results with the wireless community, and provide a ready-to-go solution to our OEM/ODM customers. This is another key breakthrough from the RFaxis team, to make RF CMOS the next mainstream solution that can meet the most demanding RF front-end requirements for today’s highly sophisticated wireless products such as smartphones, tablets and ultrabooks.”

About RFaxis, Inc.

Incorporated in January 2008, RFaxis, Inc. is an Irvine, CA, based company specializing in the design and development of RF semiconductors. With its patented technologies, the company leads the way in next-generation wireless solutions designed for the multibillion dollar Bluetooth, WLAN, 802.11n/MIMO, ZigBee, AMR/AMI and video streaming markets. Leveraging pure CMOS, in conjunction with its own innovative approach, patented technology and trade secrets, RFaxis is home to the world's first RF Front-end Integrated Circuit (RFeIC). More information can be found at: www.rfaxis.com.



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