2 March 2012

BridgeWave using IBM’s SiGe to enable low-cost 70/80GHz transmission products for next-gen backhaul

BridgeWave Communications of Santa Clara, CA, USA, a supplier of millimeter-wave gigabit wireless solutions for 4G network backhaul, has signed an agreement with IBM to develop technology that it says will help to close the cost gap between millimeter-wave (MMW) high-capacity backhaul solutions and traditional microwave (MW) solutions, allowing mobile operators and wireless carriers to cost-effectively deal with growing bandwidth demands.

Recent reports show that wireless data traffic (videos, audio and e-mails sent via laptops, smart phones and tablets) rose 133% in 2011. With many consumers also migrating to 4G networks, this has put a significant strain on global wireless networks, especially in dense urban cities, says BridgeWave.

As data consumption rates continue to grow, this causes a reduced range of wireless network coverage, raising investment costs for building infrastructure with access points to cover service areas. Alternative approaches, such as integrating backhaul and small-cell technology, can reduce these bandwidth bottlenecks and spotty service while increasing speeds over a larger network, the firm adds.

BridgeWave says that, using IBM’s silicon germanium (SiGe) technology, the collaboration will provide the high silicon integration with gallium arsenide (GaAs)-equivalent RF performance, across the entire 71-86GHz spectrum. The devices yield ultra-low phase-noise performance, enabling the very high spectral efficiencies and system gain for millimeter-wave backhaul solutions required by next-generation 4G/LTE networks. As part of the integration process, BridgeWave will assimilate its proprietary micro-coax mQFN (micro-coax Quad-Flat No-leads) packaging technology along with the IBM-designed devices to create high-performance, integrated, low-cost millimeter-wave chipsets.

“Until now, the eco-system for millimeter-wave components was very limited compared to their microwave counterparts,” says BridgeWave’s CEO Amir Makleff. “IBM’s R&D efforts in the area of millimeter-wave SiGe, along with BridgeWave's proprietary mQFN micro-coax interconnect technologies, will allow us to bring cost-effective, high-performance, carrier-grade solutions to market that operators require as they build out their 4G/LTE networks,” he adds.

“BridgeWave Communications’ use of IBM’s SiGe technology as the basis for their backhaul network solutions will provide their customers with a platform that can scale to meet the exploding data growth rates of today and tomorrow,” says Danny Elad, manager, Analog & Mixed Signal, IBM Research-Haifa.

“Initial sampling results of these designs are exceeding expectations and will enable BridgeWave to start integration into products in 2012,” adds Idan Bar-Sade, BridgeWave’s senior VP of engineering & product management.

BridgeWave exhibited at the 2012 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain (27 February – 1 March).

Tags: BridgeWave IBM SiGe

Visit: www.bridgewave.com

Visit: www.ibm.com/us/en

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