Qualcomm Goes For LTE RF Front-End

Qualcomm, with its 50% share of both  the baseband processor and application processor markets and 86% share of the FDD-LTE modem market, is entering  the LTE RF front-end market with a chip-set which works across all the 40 different frequency bands announced for 4G. It will be in end-products this year.

Shares in RF front end suppliers Skyworks Solutions, RF Micro Devices and Avago dipped on the news.

‘Band fragmentation is the biggest obstacle to designing today’s global LTE devices with 40 cellular radio bands worldwide,’ says Qualcomm,adding that  its RF360 chip-set enables, ‘for the first time a single, global 4G LTE design for mobile devices.’

The RF360 supports all seven cellular modes – LTE-FDD, LTE-TDD, WCDMA, EV-DO,CDMA 1x, TD-SCDMA and GSM/EDGE.

The RF360 has an envelope power tracker for 3G/4G LTE mobile devices, a dynamic antenna matching tuner, an integrated power amplifier-antenna switch, and  3D-RF packaging.

Qualcomm says the RF360 will reduce power consumption and improve radio performance while reducing the RF front end footprint inside a smartphone by up to 50% compared to the current generation of devices.

“The wide range of radio frequencies used to implement 2G, 3G and 4G LTE networks globally presents an ongoing challenge for mobile device designers. Where 2G and 3G technologies each have been implemented on four to five different RF bands globally, the inclusion of LTE brings the total number of cellular bands to approximately 40,” says Qualcomm vp Alex Katouzian, “our new RF devices are tightly integrated and will allow us the flexibility and scalability to supply OEMs of all types, from those requiring only a region-specific LTE solution, to those needing LTE global roaming support.”

The RF360 has a modem-assisted and configurable antenna-matching technology extends antenna range to operate over 2G/3G/4G LTE frequency bands, from 700-2700 MHz. This, in conjunction with modem control and sensor input, dynamically improves the antenna’s performance and connection reliability in the presence of physical signal impediments, like the user’s hand.

The envelope power tracker designed for 3G/4G LTE mobile devices, reduces overall thermal footprint and RF power consumption by up to 30%, says Qualcomm.

The F360 has an integrated CMOS power amplifier (PA) and antenna switch with multiband support across 2G, 3G and 4G LTE cellular modes. This allows one of the smallest PA/antenna switch footprints in the industry.

The chip-set uses  3D RF packaging solution, integrating the QFE23xx multimode, multiband power amplifier and antenna switch, with all the associated SAW filters and duplexers in a single package.

It allows OEMs to change the substrate configuration to support global and/or region-specific frequency band combinations. The QFE27xx RF POP enables a highly integrated multiband, multimode, single-package RF front end solution that is truly global.

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