26 January 2011

Epicom launches WCDMA/HSPA PAs for Greater China 3G markets

Taiwan’s Epic Communications Inc, a fabless RF analog front-end IC (FEIC) and module firm with design teams in Hsinchu’s Science Industrial Park as well as Sunnyvale, CA, USA, has launched its latest series of WCDMA/HSPA power amplifiers (PAs), compatible with industry-leading 3G chipset solutions for 3G portable devices and mobile phones.

Based on a BiFET process combining InGaP bipolar HBTs and GaAs pHEMTs on one wafer, all key features and functional blocks of Epicom’s 3G PA are integrated into a single chip. Containing both the required directional coupler and all matching circuits, the PAs are provided in compact form-factor 3mm x 3mm x 1mm packages with the same dimensions, pin-out assignments and features as other major suppliers, and are fully compliant with next-generation 3G/4G PA standards.

Designed for the most popular UMTS/WCDMA frequency bands, the EPA8100A support Band I (1920–1980MHz), the EPA8200A Band II (1850–1910MHz), the EPA8500A Band V (824–849MHz) and the EPA8800A Band VIII (880–915MHz).

Epicom says that, compared with 2G or 2.5G (GSM/GPRS/EDGE) PAs, 3G PAs require much higher linearity to support high-data-rate transmission and better power-added efficiency (PAE) for longer battery life. Its new 3G PAs hence feature what is claimed to be high linearity and high power-added efficiency, as well as ultra-low quiescent current, excellent temperature stability, and an attractive performance/cost ratio.

Designed to operate from a single DC supply voltage of 3.2–4.2V, the 3G PAs feature digitally controlled tri-power mode (high, medium, low) operation. At Vcc=+3.4V, they achieve a PAE of 35–40% at 28dBm when operating in high-power mode, 30% in medium-power mode at 18dBm (the highest PAE known, it is claimed), and more than 10% in low-power mode at 8–10dBm. No external DC–DC converter is required since the built-in voltage regulators eliminate the need for any external reference voltage. The quiescent current is just 10mA when operating in low-power mode.

The PAs also use Epicom’s patent-pending temperature-compensation design, which provides what is claimed to be unprecedented temperature stability from –40°C to +85°C (allowing smart phones, wireless data cards, and other 3G-equipped MIDs such as tablet PC and e-books to operate in extreme environmental conditions).

In addition to packaged PAs, Epicom also provides the PAs as bare dies to volume SiP module makers for custom module design requirements.

Engineering samples and evaluation boards are available on request. Epicom will showcase its PA and FEM products as well as enabled mobile devices at the IIC-China Show in Shenzhen and Shanghai in late February and early March, respectively.

Epicom also plans in future to offer more advanced PAs for other 3G standards such as TD-SCDMA, CDMA2000/EV-DO, as well as 4G standards including LTE and TD-LTE.

Tags: Epic Communications WCDMA/HSPA PAs

Visit: www.epic.com.tw

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