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16 November 2012

RFaxis launches CMOS 5GHz WLAN RF front-end IC for 802.11a/n/ac standards

Fabless semiconductor firm RFaxis Inc of Irvine, CA, USA, which designs RF semiconductors and embedded antenna solutions for the wireless connectivity and cellular mobility markets, has launched the RFX5000 and RFX5000B 5GHz WLAN RF front-end integrated circuits (RFeICs), which are slated for production in December to support the ramp-up schedule of multiple customers.

The RFX5000 and RFX5000B are RFaxis’ second-generation, pure CMOS-based single-chip/single-die RFeICs, optimized for the rapidly growing 5GHz WLAN market (including support of the emerging 802.11ac standard). RFaxis is offering the 5GHz RF front-end solutions at what it claims are unprecedented price points, while maintaining pin-to-pin compatibility with primary solutions currently on the market, such as Skyworks Solutions’ SE5007T, SE5007BT, SE5012T and SE5012BT.

“We have received overwhelming response to our pure CMOS 5GHz RFeICs since we announced these parts at Computex in Taipei in June,” says chairman & CEO Mike Neshat. “As Wi-Fi products migrate from dominantly single-band 2.4GHz to dual-band 2.4/5GHz solutions, the BOM [bill-of-materials] cost of the 5GHz RF front-ends is becoming a bottle neck. The problem is further exacerbated by the fact that more Wi-Fi products are now implemented as MIMO [multiple input, multiple output] systems that require multiple RF front-ends,” he adds. “By adopting these unique, pure CMOS-based RFeICs, our customers can reduce the total BOM cost significantly, while providing uncompromised RF performance to their end users,” he claims. "We are also in the process of rolling out our next-generation 5GHz RFeIC, which is smaller in size and will support direct battery operation,” says Neshat. “The new product will greatly increase our presence in the dual-band smartphone space.”  

The RFX5000 and RFX5000B integrate all key functionality for a 5GHz WLAN RF front-end, including the linear power amplifier, low-noise amplifier (LNA), antenna switch, input/output/inter-stage impedance matching, as well as RF decoupling, high-linearity/low-current mode control, and a directional-coupler based power detector into a single-chip bulk CMOS die housed in a 3mm x 3mm, low-profile 0.5mm plastic QFN package.

The new devices deliver up to +18dBm output power with 3% EVM (error vector magnitude) for 64QAM/OFDM in the full 5GHz 802.11a/n/ac frequency band, including all losses of the antenna switch and impedance-matching network. In low-current mode, the CMOS RFeICs achieve +17dBm linear output power at the antenna port with 170mA current from a 3.3V power supply, while maintaining 3% EVM for 802.11n HT40/MCS7. They also feature extremely low EVM floor (<1.5%) and meet the stringent EVM requirements for 802.11ac with MCS9/256QAM and 80MHz channel bandwidth. Combined with high gain (32dB), good thermal stability and multiple mode controls with simple CMOS logic, the RFX5000 and RFX5000B outperform all same-class 5GHz front-end solutions on the market, including those based on gallium arsenide HBT/pHEMTs and silicon-germanium BiCMOS, claims RFaxis.

Tags: RFaxis RF CMOS


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