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RF front-end sets out for 802.11n standard

Posted: 03 Apr 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:SE2545A10? RF front end? 802.11n? SiGe Semiconductor? Loring Wirbel?

SiGe Semiconductor Inc. is sampling its first RF front-end for the draft 802.11n standard, integrating two dual-band transmit/receive chains on a single 10-by-14mm device. Andrew Parolin, director of wireless-data products at SiGe, said that manufacturers expect even smaller footprints than in the RF devices for 802.11b/g, even though the new 802.11n standard is the first Wi-Fi architecture to use multiple-input, multiple-output (MIMO) antennas.

While the RF device does not have to perform the modulation for MIMO support, the need to support four separate chains (2 x 2.4GHz transmit, 2 x 5GHz transmit, 2 x 2.4GHz receive and 2 x 5GHz receive) was a difficult task, particularly considering the drive by manufacturers to keep MIMO endpoints in small form factors.

The SE2545A10 replaces up to 60 components and provides output power of 18dBm in 802.11b mode, 17dBm in 802.11g mode and 15dBm in 802.11a mode, the company said. There is a power detector for each band, with 20dBm of dynamic range in each transmit chain.

SiGe Semiconductor's chip integrates diplexers, transmit/receive switches, 2.4GHz and 5GHz power amps, and trap filters. With a digital PA-enable control, no reference voltage is required for power amps in either band. All RF ports are fully matched to 50 ohms.

Parolin said that SiGe has to be ready to reduce prices aggressively, since "802.11n could kill off 802.11g faster than anticipated." The company is sampling a second device with higher output power, the SE2545A30. That device is intended for access point applications.

The A10 front-end supports 2 x 2 antenna configurations. Two devices can be used for 4 x 4 setups. For special 3 x 3 configurations, SiGe will offer special single-chain versions of its front-end devices.

The A10, in an LGA package, will be priced at $6.95 each in quantities of 10,000.

- Loring Wirbel
EE Times

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