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14 September 2018

5G mm-wave transceivers and beam-formers to ship in hundreds of millions annually within five years

© Semiconductor Today Magazine / Juno PublishiPicture: Disco’s DAL7440 KABRA laser saw.

The transceiver and beamforming components critical to 5G millimeter-wave systems will ship in the hundreds of millions of units per year within five years, forecasts Strategy Analytics in its report ‘5G mm-Wave Systems, RF Front-end Components & Process Tech Forecast 2018 – 2024’.

“Each 5G millimetre-wave smartphone, base station and customer premise system will use multiple transceivers, beam-formers and antenna elements for antenna gain, capacity and coverage,” says report author Christopher Taylor. “System makers will use a mix of compound semiconductors, SiGe-BiCMOS and CMOS, depending on emitted power required, link budget and number of antenna elements in the system. Compound semiconductors and SiGe-BiCMOS have higher Fmax for better design margins and efficiency, but the lower cost and higher integration capabilities of CMOS will put it ahead in terms of number of RF components shipped per year for 5G millimeter wave,” he reckons.

“Performance dictates that infrastructure will use more SiGe-BiCMOS for the RF than will user equipment, but much of this will eventually move to CMOS as well,” says Eric Higham, director of the Strategy Analytics Advanced Semiconductor Applications service. “Compound semiconductors will play a role in those mm-wave infrastructure systems where electrical efficiency and system power consumption are critical,” he adds. “Suppliers of RF chips for 5G mm-wave infrastructure systems using the different semiconductor process technologies include Anokiwave, Infineon, Qualcomm and Qorvo.”

Tags: SiGe

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