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21 February 2017

Qualcomm launches RF front-end platform for next-generation global mobile devices

Qualcomm Inc of San Diego, CA, USA says that its subsidiary Qualcomm Technologies Inc (QTI) is introducing a suite of RF front-end (RFFE) solutions, making it the first mobile technology provider to develop and commercialize a comprehensive platform spanning from the digital modem to the antenna port, it is claimed.

The latest additions to Qualcomm's RF360 family of RFFE products are Qualcomm Technologies' first gallium arsenide (GaAs) power amplifier modules (QPA5460, QPA5461, QPA4360 and QPA4361) and the next-generation Qualcomm TruSignal antenna performance enhancement solution (QAT35xx) to drive superior RF performance by utilizing modem intelligence and system-level design and optimization.

The RF360 Holdings Singapore Pte Ltd joint venture between Qualcomm Inc and TDK Corp (launched on 3 February) helps to build Qualcomm Technologies' RFFE technology portfolio. RF360 Holdings brings a legacy of expertise in RF filtering and modules as well as integrated and discrete micro-acoustic components such as multi-technology RF filters, duplexers, multiplexers and extractors, and has an established footprint in flagship smartphones. Qualcomm Technologies hence has the in-house capability and access to develop, integrate, manufacture, assemble, test and deliver both gallium arsenide (GaAs) and CMOS silicon power amplifiers (PAs), bulk acoustic wave (BAW), surface acoustic wave (SAW) and temperature-compensated SAW (TC-SAW) filters and filter modules, high-performance switches, power trackers, antenna tuners and integrated modules - all the components necessary for a comprehensive RFFE solution to complement the firm's modem technology for next-generation mobile devices.

New RF front-end modules

As Qualcomm Technologies' first GaAs-based products, the QPA546x and QPA436x multi-mode, multi-band power amplifier (MMPA) modules are optimized for envelope tracking and average power tracking, respectively, and combine high-, mid- and low-band power amplifiers with high-performance switches to provide highly integrated modules for regional and global designs with superior power efficiency. Specifically, QPA5461 is designed to work with the QET4100 envelope tracker and is the first MMPA optimized for high-power user equipment (HPUE) operation, providing high power-efficiency solutions for devices in LTE TDD networks, says the firm.

The QPA546x MMPA is part of a modular front-end solution supporting carrier aggregation that includes a D5328 front-end module (FEMiD) with integrated quadplexer and a D5285 diversity receive (DRX) module. Compatible BAW filters are available for designs requiring higher performance in high bands such as band 41. The D5328 comprises SAW filters, TC-SAW filters and proprietary layer-transfer switches. The D5285 diversity receive module includes SAW filters and layer-transfer switches. This modular configuration offers a low part-count solution with low design-in effort for devices that support leading-edge connectivity features such as Gigabit LTE, LTE-Advanced and 4x4 MIMO.

Next-generation Qualcomm TruSignal antenna performance enhancement solutions

Comprising the QAT3550 impedance tuner, the QAT3514 aperture tuner, QAT3522 antenna diversity switch and advanced modem software, the latest generation of Qualcomm Technologies' TruSignal provides an antenna performance enhancement technology suite that is said to be the mobile industry's first commercial adaptive antenna tuning solution supporting carrier aggregation. The TruSignal solution is designed to use the modem's intelligent processing power to continuously optimize signal quality and support a consistent user experience across use conditions while maximizing network coverage and battery life for sleek LTE-Advanced mobile devices including smartphones with metal backs. For consumers, this means support for a more consistent data and voice experience indoors and outdoors. For original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), the adaptive tunability of the system helps to reduce time-to-certification by addressing the risk of mismatch from antenna redesign iterations.

"The ability to develop the key RFFE components, coupled with our leading modem expertise, allow us to push the boundary on overall system performance while offering high levels of integration," says James Wilson, VP & general manager, RFFE modules, at Qualcomm Technologies. "Offering a comprehensive end-to-end solution enables us to make it faster and easier for our customers to create tomorrow's mobile devices, while providing better data speeds, more optimized signal performance and fewer dropped calls to consumers," he adds.

The QAT35xx antenna tuning and diversity switch products are supported for use with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor.

The QPA546x, QPA436x, D5328 and D5285 products are released and sampling now. The QAT35xx solutions are currently in production and are expected to be in commercially available devices soon.

See related items:

Qualcomm and TDK launch joint venture RF360 Holdings

Qualcomm and TDK forming JV to provide RF front-ends for mobile devices

Tags: CMOS PAs

Visit: www.qualcomm.com

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