Qualcomm drops antenna, amplifier silicon on OEMs

Saving battery is always a good thing, so get to it mobe-makers

Overnight, Qualcomm dropped a bunch of silicon for its OEMs to improve various aspects of RF design, including antenna switching and amplifier efficiency.

To whet the appetite, there's a bunch of antenna tuners and switches. The QAT2514 is a low-cost aperture tuner, designed to offer high linearity and isolation, and it's integrated into the QAT2522 DPDT antenna switch.

Together, these let OEMs take advantage of the company's TruSignal multi-antenna boost in Snapdragon 400 and 600 for antenna switch diversity.

Designers will be choosing between closed-loop antenna tuning (called TruSignal antenna boost), open-loop tuning, aperture tuning, antenna switch diversity (TruSignal Multi-Antenna Boost), or a hybrid solution.

For Chinese OEMs, the silicon designer has the QPA4373 and QPA4351 power amplifiers which will travel as the RF360 solution. The RF360 supports Snapdragon 652, 650, 625, 617, 430, 425, 210 and 212 processors and X5 LTE modem.

To help improve LTE power efficiency, the RFC360 brand also gets the QET4100 envelope tracker, which is a power supply solution that optimises input voltage to match the required power output. Qualcomm reckons the QET4100 is the first envelope tracker for both LTE frequency division duplex (FDD) and time division duplex (TDD) using 40 MHz channels. The QET4100 works with the Snapdragon X16 LTE modem, and the QPA4340 high-band power amplifier and switch module.

The company's also had a win in the LTE Unlicensed (LTE-U) market, with Samsung launching the FSM9955-based eFemto small cell solutions. It's an important outing for one of the more vexed technical challenges in the LTE-U space – whether mobile operators' infrastructure will successfully coexist with Wi-Fi base stations.

During 2015, the EFF, Google and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association all filed documents with the Federal Communications Commission asking it to block LTE-U because of the perceived threat to Wi-Fi networks.

The eFemto also supports the more mainstream "listen before talk" features of LTE Licensed-Assisted Access (LAA) with a software upgrade, to bring things into line with the coming 3GPP LTE Advanced Pro Release 13 standard. ®

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