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15 December 2008


SiGe claims smallest RF front end for Wi-Fi, integrating two fully matched PAs on a single die

SiGe Semiconductor Inc of Andover, MA and Ottawa, Canada has launched what it claims is the smallest RF front-end solution for Wi-Fi applications, based on an architecture that is the first to integrate two 2.4GHz fully matched power amplifiers (PAs) on a single die, optimizing size and power consumption. This enables 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, says the firm.

The SE2566U 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 the external bill of materials (BOM) by 80% compared with two unmatched PAs for MIMO solutions, saving about 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,” says Jose Harrison, director, product marketing, computing and consumer. The new PA’s architecture optimizes performance, size, cost and power consumption, it is claimed.

The SE2566U is the first device to offer MIMO capability with dual power amplifier paths on a single die. It also includes an integrated receive path between the two transmit paths to offer maximum layout flexibility for 2-transmit by 2-receive (2x2) or 2x3 architectures. With the SE2566U, SiGe Semiconductor reckons it has solved 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 device ensures that systems can support MIMO capability for 802.11n implementations while achieving high system-level performance.

Until now, implementing a dual-stream MIMO solution required two discrete, unmatched power amplifiers in 4mm x 4mm, 3mm x 3mm or 2mm x 2mm packages. Discrete MIMO solutions consume about 250% 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 the ease of use and reducing design time, it is claimed.

The SE2566U also features an integrated load-insensitive transmit power detector offering 20dB of dynamic range (temperature compensated for consistent and accurate performance). It also 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 micro-Amp of current.

The SE2566U is priced at $0.60 in volumes of 10,000.

See related item:

SiGe power amplifier launched for mobile WiMAX

Search: SiGe Semiconductor SiGe RF front-end Wi-Fi


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