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PMC-Sierra expands WiMAX RFIC solutions

Posted: 30 Sep 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:WiMAX? RFIC? WiZIRD?

PM8850, PM8851, PM8870, PM8871

As WiMAX becomes a "global phenomenon," PMC-Sierra Inc. steps up to help solve WiMAX global spectrum hurdles and help OEMs develop cost-effective WiMAX products to enter the market. How? The provider of broadband communications and storage semiconductors has added four new multiband devices to its WiZIRD family of WiMAX RFIC solutions.

Joining the WiZIRD portfolio are PM8850, PM8851, PM8870 and PM8871, which feature integrating conversion Zero IF (ZIF) RF transceiver, analog and digital converters and Jedec JESD207-compliant baseband digital interface.

"There's a common misperception that speaking of multiband, they're more expensive than the single-band," shared Tom Sun, VP and general manager for PMC-Sierra's broadband wireless division. The two new generations of the WiZIRD family!the PM8850 and 8851 (considered as the second-generation) and the PM8870 and 8871 (the third generation)!refute such misconception.

The executive further explained how the company has developed new devices that battle the price problem. "What we noticed in the past is the radio device is always an integration of many discrete components. So we took an approach right from the beginning that we want to create an architecture that is capable of supporting three separate bands !the band dependent portion of the design is very small," he said. "It's sharing a lot of common filters, interface and muxing inside. So the cost of adding extra bands or the cost of changing from a different band is very easy once you do the first generation." This, he said, has helped the company develop three generations of products in a year.

Product features
The PM8850, PM 8851, PM 8870 and PM 8871 use harmonic canceling technique to achieve linear output at high power levels and deliver up to 64-QAM modulation for transmit paths at 0dBm output power level with an EVM rating addressing WiMAX solutions from base station applications to mobile subscriber solutions, according to the company's press release.

The latest additions to the WiZIRD product family also feature low-power receivers and transmitters; direct-conversion ZIF design; patent-pending integrated DC offset algorithm that performs DC offset correction every frame thus minimizing drift over temperature; support for 802.16e-2005 and 802.16-2004 IEEE standards, configurable channel bandwidths of 3.5MHz, 5MHz, 7MHz, 8.75MHz, 10MHz, 14MHz and 20MHz; flexible baseband device interface options; integrated ADCs and DACs; and integrated transmitter baluns.

The PM8850, PM8851, PM8870 and PM8872 are PMC-Sierra's follow-up to its first-generation of WiZIRD devices, the PM8800 and PM8801. The PM8800 supports two transmit and two receive branches (2Tx/2Rx), while the PM8801 supports one transmitter and two receivers (1Tx/2Rx). "Why are we doing this? The 2Tx/2Rx are typically required by the small base stations!so the femtocells and picocells require the 2Tx/2Rx. The 1Tx/2Rx are typically used in mobile devices like CPE [customer premises equipment] and network interface cards," Sun explained. The previous generation of WiZIRD family supports 2.5GHz band and 3.5GHz band.

As with the second family!the PM8850 and PM8851!also support the 2.5GHz and 3.5GHz band, but has an additional band: the 4.9-5.9GHz range and 2.7-2.9GHz for India. "2.7-2.9 is really an extension from 2.5," Sun clarified. "So it [the second family] is not quadband!we just call it triband."

The third family, the PM8870 and PM8871, Sun said, "again comes in two flavors!2Tx/2Rx and 1Tx/2Rx." Supporting the 2.5GHz and 3.5GHz bands, the PM8870 (2Tx/2Rx) and PM8871 (1Tx/2Rx) also supports the 450-928MHz band. "Some of our customers are actually using the device for the LTE field trial in the U.S.," Sun shared.

Karim El Naggar, VP and head of Alcatel-Lucent's WiMAX activities re-affirms the importance of the new devices. "Their [PMC-Sierra's] capability to design multiband devices will further accelerate the availability of WiMAX solutions for diverse WiMAX markets, and in particular 700MHz solutions for new applications and developing economies."

Greener handsets
With the green trend also becoming a global phenomenon, PMC-Sierra also plans to reduce its devices' power consumption. "Moving forward, we have an engineering team that continues to reduce the power. So we're working on the next-generation multiband device to optimize the power for the handset," Sun shared.

"We conscientiously designed the first, second and third generations [of products] to target the CPE market, and CPE is not as power conscientious. But the mobile device!that's where we're shifting our focus to reduce the power," he noted.

Implemented in CMOS technology and packaged in 108-pin MLF/QFN, the PM8850, PM8851, PM8870 and PM8871 are rated for industrial temperature operation (-40 to +85<C) and are now sampling. Sun believes that "actual production volume of the products will not start, in our opinion, until middle of next year."

-EE Times Asia

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