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RF front-end solution packs two power amps

Posted: 15 Dec 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:RF front end solution? power amplifier? Wi-Fi?

SiGe Semiconductor Inc. has unveiled what it claims to be the smallest RF front-end solution for Wi-Fi applications based on an innovative architecture integrates two fully matched power amplifiers (PAs) on a single die.

The architecture optimizes size and power consumption, enabling manufacturers to support wireless multimedia applications in computing and embedded systems while meeting the ever-increasing consumer requirements for miniaturization, battery life and low cost.

The SE2566U is touted to be the only RF front-end solution to integrate two 2.4GHz fully matched power amplifiers on a single die. The device also integrates harmonic filters, input and output matching circuitry, and power detectors for each transmit stream in a small 3mm x 3mm package. Moreover, the high level of integration reduces external bill of materials by 80 percent when compared with two unmatched PA's for multiple input, multiple output (MIMO) solutions, resulting in a BOM savings of approximately 25 cents.

"The entry level computing market, encompassing desktop replacements for business and students, is the largest and fastest growing segment of the computing market. With the SE2566U, we have delivered a solution that is unmatched on the market when it comes to maximizing feature integration while meeting the increasing demands for small size, extended battery life and price competitiveness of this segment," said Jose Harrison, director, product marketing, computing and consumer, SiGe Semiconductor.

Space, cost savings
SiGe claims that the SE2566U is the first device to offer MIMO capability with dual power amplifier paths on a single die. The device also includes an integrated receive path situated between the two transmit paths to offer the designer maximum layout flexibility for 2-transmit by 2-receive (2x2) or 2x3 architectures. With the SE2566U, SiGe has addressed the challenge of supporting two data streams on a single die. The device includes proprietary techniques to achieve a low-loss pass-thru transmission line for the RX signal. Additionally, integrated filters ensure that the harmonic contribution of the PA is reduced to -50dBm/MHz. By minimizing interference, the SE2566U ensures that systems can support MIMO capability for 802.11n implementations while achieving high system-level performance.

Manufacturers are looking to implement a dual-stream MIMO solution had to use two discrete, unmatched power amplifiers in 4mm x 4mm, 3mm x 3mm or 2mm x 2mm packages. Discrete MIMO solutions consume approximately 250 percent more board area than the SE2566U. This level of integration can result in cost savings through BOM and board size reduction, and can improve time to market by improving ease-of-use and reducing design time.

The SE2566U also features an integrated load-insensitive transmit power detector offering 20dB of dynamic range. The detector is temperature compensated for consistent and accurate performance. Finally, the SE2566 integrates a reference voltage generator, which allows 1.8V CMOS digital enable control directly from the baseband, and eliminates the need for analog bias controls while drawing less than 1?A.

The SE2566U is available for 60 cents in volumes of 10,000.

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