In booth 2i25 (Hall 2) at the GSMA Mobile World Congress (MWC 2017) in Barcelona, Spain (27 February – 2 March), Qorvo Inc of Greensboro, NC, USA (which provides core technologies and RF solutions for mobile, infrastructure and defense applications) has launched two highly integrated dual-channel switch-LNA modules for base-station implementations of massive multiple-input/multiple-output (MIMO). When combined with Qorvo’s gallium nitride (GaN)-based integrated driver and power amplifier module, the dual-channel switch-LNA modules provide a complete, highly integrated solution for wireless infrastructure manufacturers seeking to quickly implement pre-5G massive MIMO networks, says the firm.
Mobile operators are increasing data capacity with the deployment of sub-6GHz massive MIMO networks, says Qorvo. Market research firm Strategy Analytics predicts that 5G networks using massive MIMO will be operational by 2020 and that there will be about 700 million 5G connections by 2025. Massive MIMO allows base stations to transmit multiple streams of data, while beam-forming will bring higher gain and power, allowing for greater data capacity.
“Qorvo is uniquely positioned to deliver complete system solutions that leverage our broad portfolio of highly differentiated products and internally developed technologies,” claims James Klein, president of Infrastructure and Defense (IDP) at Qorvo. “We are expanding our portfolio of receive and transmit front-end modules for additional frequency bands targeted at pre-5G and 5G wireless infrastructure, in anticipation of more spectrum being made available below 6GHz.”
The QPB9318 and QPB9319 are highly integrated dual-channel switch-LNA modules that support frequency bands below 5GHz.
Operating at 2.3-2.7GHz, the QPB9318 is claimed to be the first integrated dual-channel receive solution for TDD Bands 38, 40 and 41. It features a low 1.3dB noise figure for improved link budgets, a small 5mm x 5mm surface-mount form factor for reduced board space, and has 10W average power handling for improved Rx robustness.
Operating at 1.8-4.2GHz, the QPB9319 covers all major TDD bands up to 4.2 GHz, targeting massive MIMO base-station architectures. A high-power switch with LNA bypass function is integrated in a dual-channel configuration, while a silicon-on-insulator (SOI)-based switch eliminates the need for a costly pin-diode driver circuit and high-voltage supply. An internally matched bias allows for ease of use.
To provide a complete massive MIMO RF solution, the modules pair with Qorvo’s GaN-based QPA2705, an integrated 5W GaN driver and GaN Doherty power amplifier with 36dB gain and power-added efficiency (PAE) of 43% in a compact 6mm x 10mm surface-mount package. At the IEEE International Microwave Symposium (IMS 2016), Qorvo demonstrated what were claimed to be industry-leading ultra-wideband linearization results with the QPA2705.
With Qorvo’s complete solution, operators are able to implement highly efficient, small-form-factor massive MIMO transceivers for next-generation base stations, says the firm. The QPB9318 and QPA2705 are currently shipping in production volumes to large base-station OEMs, and samples of the QPB9319 will be available in the June quarter (with additional 4.5-5.0GHz pin-compatible solutions in development).