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RF front-end ICs tailored for Bluetooth, Zigbee apps

Posted: 04 Jun 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:RF front-end module? Bluetooth? Zigbee? WLAN?

RFaxis Inc. has begun sampling its first two devices, both offering a replacement for traditional RF front-end modules, combining all the functionality into a single-die, single-chip that use "breakthrough and disruptive" design methodologies.

The parts leverage BiCMOS technology and were designed to reduce the complexity of wireless designs, lower manufacturing costs and offer improved power efficiency over conventional front-end module technologies. The chips address Bluetooth, Zigbee and WLAN applications.

RFaxis claims the RFX2401 and RFX2402 are the first fully integrated, single-chip, single-die Bluetooth/Zigbee RFeICs (Front-end Integrated Circuit) to hit the market.

The company will be demonstrating the parts at next week's Computex trade show in Taipei, Taiwan.

According to Mike Neshat, president and CEO of RFaxis: "We set out to build highly integrated, cost effective, high performance, low power, plug-and-play solutions for the connectivity and wireless markets. And we have. We truly believe that we have created a completely new design architecture that will revolutionizeyou could even say, disrupt the entire industry."

RFaxis, which was founded early 2008, is readying several patent-pending devices utilizing what it claims is a groundbreaking integrated technology and has partnered with STMicroelectronics as its BiCMOS foundry.

Neshat says the company will be introducing seven new RFeICs over the next twelve months, at least four of which are slated for production in Q1 10. The later versions will target mobile phone, WiMAX and Wireless Home Digital Interface markets. By the end of Q3, the company expects to have filed over 35 patents.

"We represent a departure from conventional approaches to RF front-end design solutions," said Neshat. "The beauty of what we are doing is that we truly are delivering a disruptive technology by changing the way engineers and system designers approach their designs. We are simplifying a complex task and are freeing the designer to tackle other challenges."

The chips sampling now integrate the PA, LNA, transmit and receive switching circuitry, the associated matching network, and the harmonic filter all in a BiCMOS single-chip, single-die device. The RFX2401 is targeted at Bluetooth Class-1 and Single-Port Zigbee applications.

The company says the device combines great performance, high sensitivity and efficiency, low noise, small form factor, and low cost and is targeted at applications requiring extended range and bandwidth with a potential 10x range increase.

With an integrated power detect circuit, the RFX2401 requires only one external power supply capacitor and the desired band-pass filter for the TX-RX port.

The companion RFX2401 uses the same architecture and is targeted at WLAN RF front ends for use in 802.11x and Dual-Port Zigbee applications operating at 2.4GHz. The device is said to be ideal for single antenna applications and/or the building block for MIMO applications.

- John Walko
EE Times Europe

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