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26 June 2008


RFMD launches first GaN CATV amplifier modules

RF Micro Devices Inc of Greensboro, NC, USA has launched what it claims is the industry’s first gallium nitride (GaN) based cable TV (CATV) amplifier modules, designed for use as power doubler amplifiers in CATV infrastructure applications, including line amplification and hybrid fiber coaxial (HFC) optical nodes.

The D10040200PH1 and D10040230PH1 feature 20dB and 23dB of gain, respectively, and are the first power doubler amplifier modules to use an ultra-linear, high-efficiency GaN process technology. By combining multiple compound semiconductor technologies in a highly integrated, hybrid amplifier module, RFMD’s designers can produce what is claimed to be unmatched performance across all critical multi-carrier distortion parameters while also increasing output power capability and efficiency.

With this blend of performance attributes, the devices deliver significant improvements over competing devices in all key parameters and provide design flexibility, RFMD claims, while maintaining the ease of use that CATV infrastructure original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) have come to expect from industry-standard SOT115J packaged amplifier modules.

As an example, CATV infrastructure designers can use either the D10040200PH1 or D10040230PH1 in HFC optical nodes to increase final power output by 2-3dBmV over competing devices while maintaining equivalent multi-carrier distortion performance, in particular Carrier to Intermodulation Noise (CIN) levels. Alternatively, when best-in-class CIN performance is desired, RF output drive level may be reduced with minimal external tuning, easing implementation for equipment OEMs.

The implementation of GaN in this new generation of CATV amplifier modules dramatically improves CIN performance at an opportune time in the CATV market, says Alastair Upton, general manager of RFMD’s Broadband and Consumer business unit. “As multiple system operators (MSOs) increase digitally modulated transmissions over their CATV infrastructure and continue to implement fiber deep programs, the low distortion and high output power of these breakthrough products enable OEMs to better service the demand for higher-performance CATV infrastructure equipment,” he adds.

Technical features include: a +24Vdc supply voltage; no external input/output matching with minimal external support components; maximum CTB of -74dBc and CSO of -68dBc; industry-leading CIN of 65dB minimum for the D10040200PH1 and 63dB minimum for the D10040230PH1

Production quantities are available and, based on design-win activity, RFMD anticipates shipments will start this year.

Out-of-band tuner for cable set-top box and digital cable ready TV

RFMD is sampling the S510075-33Z out-of-band tuner for use in cable set-top box and digital cable ready TV applications, designed to provide OEMs with an optimum blend of performance and energy efficiency while also meeting the increasing performance requirements of cable devices.

Housed in a compact 3mm x 3mm, 16-lead, QFN package, the highly integrated S510075-33Z consists of an input automatic gain control (AGC) amplifier, a mixer and an AGC video amplifier, delivering a 60% size reduction and 25% reduction in power consumption compared to the previous-generation S510065-55Z. The S510075-33Z leverages RFMD’s silicon CMOS design techniques to deliver these improvements while maintaining the critical, low-distortion performance necessary for end-market applications.

Improvements in size reduction and efficiency are becoming critical requirements for set-top box manufacturers as they increase the functionality and resulting component content of new devices, says Upton. “In 2008, RFMD will expand our broad portfolio of CATV products to include new generations of active splitters, programmable return path amplifiers and line amplifiers,” he adds.

Features of the S510075-33Z include: 3.3V single-supply operation; low power consumption of 300mW; low distortion of -50dBc @ 1Vpp; 70dB total conversion gain; 55dB total gain control range; and low LO to RF leakage.

Based on design-win activity, RFMD anticipates volume shipments to start this year.

See related item:

Triquint foundry to fab TriAccess RFIC drop amplifier for CATV