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16-band ET RF front-end targets LTE handsets

Posted: 13 Feb 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:RF? LTE? reference design? TD-LTE? WCDMA?

Nujira Ltd has announced its "Woodstock" 16-band multi-mode, multi-band (MMMB) envelope tracking (ET) reference design aimed at 4G smartphone RF front ends. According to the company, the reference design overcomes the energy efficiency and frequency band challenges faced by mobile operators and handset OEMs since the introduction of 4G.

Covering up to 16 frequency bands from 700MHz to 2.7GHz in a PCB area of less than 200mm2, Nujira's ET reference design delivers modern multi-band 2G, 3G and 4G performance, using less PCB area and battery power than today's 3G smartphones added Nujira.

Mobile handset developers are faced with a number of RF engineering challenges. They need to simultaneously support different operating modes (e.g. LTE, TD-LTE, WCDMA, HSPA and GSM) in one handset, while also supporting an increasing number of frequency bands. LTE is deployed worldwide in 20 frequency bands from 700MHz to 2.7GHz, which today each require a dedicated PA and RF filter.

With this discrete design approach, up to nine variants of some popular smartphone models are required to cover all regions and operators. This results in increased design and verification effort, numerous production runs, delayed product rollouts and a complicated, costly inventory management process.

With the Woodstock reference design, Nujira claims to overcome these challenges and provide a highly integrated solution for global 3G/4G terminals. Incorporating a multi-mode, multi-band ET power amplifier (PA), a broadband 2.3-2.7GHz ET PA, and an additional region- or operator-specific LTE ET PA, the design ensures maximum frequency band coverage and energy efficiency at minimal costs. By enabling handsets to operate on almost all worldwide 3G and 4G bands, Nujira's reference design significantly reduces the need for numerous regional product variants, the firm noted.

The Woodstock design integrates Nujira's NCT-L1200 ET supply modulator with PA devices, switches and filters from a number of Tier 1 suppliers, providing handset manufacturers with a complete solution from transceiver to antenna. Nujira's ET modulator enables the handset to deliver full power to the antenna port, maximising coverage and boosting data rates, even for LTE signals with high peak-to-average power ratios (PAPR), eliminating the need for maximum power reduction (MPR). The NCT-L1200 ETIC has the industry's lowest output impedance, enabling it to drive up to four PA devices in parallel without compromising performance, even on the highest bandwidth 20MHz LTE channels, while cutting energy consumption by 35 per cent, indicated Nujira. The design also includes several patented PCB and component-level innovations to maximise system performance.

Nujira is also supplying a complete suite of MIPI RF front end (RFFE) control scripts, ET shaping tables, and production calibration algorithms for the solution, minimising time-to-market for platform vendors and OEMs.

Nujira's Coolteq.L family of ET power modulators for handsets reduces wasted energy from PAs in mobile handsets by more than 50 per cent, cutting heat dissipation and extending battery life, the company stated. Coolteq.L devices are compatible with the industry-standard MIPI and OpenET interfaces supported on a growing number of ET-enabled 3G and 4G modem chipsets. The design supports GSM operation in 850, 900, 1800, and 1900MHz bands, 3G operation in the 850, 900, 1800, 1900 and 2100MHz bands, FD-LTE in the 700, 800, 850, 900, 1700, 1800, 1900, 2100 and 2600 bands, and TD-LTE in the 2300, 2600 and 2700MHz bands.

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