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Cellular 4G/LTE Channel / Semiconductors / Integrated Circuits / Subsystems and Systems

Cree to feature its GaN technology in RF Zone at CTIA 2013

May 8, 2013
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Cree Inc. will be a first time exhibitor this year in the RF/Microwave Zone at CTIA 2013. The RF Zone, which is organized and managed by Microwave Journal, features approximately twenty RF component and communication IC manufacturers along with test equipment providers. Cree is a world’s leading manufacturer of GaN HEMT devices, which are ideally suited for a host of telecom applications in both macro-base stations and small cells. These devices are perfect for applications seeking to improve bandwidth, efficiency, frequency of operation, or for transmitters challenged to reduce size and weight.

The company recently wowed the crowds in Barcelona when they teamed up with Eta Devices Inc. of Cambridge, MA to demonstrate the world’s most efficient reported power amplifier for mobile base stations at the 2013 Mobile World Congress, this past February. CTIA represents an opportunity for system integrators and network operators that did not attend Mobile world Congress, to meet with Cree’s technical and business representatives to discuss how GaN is being adopted in telecom applications.

Current generation mobile base station amplifiers employing silicon LDMOS transistors can provide amplifier efficiencies up to 45 percent. By contrast, Eta Devices’ next-generation power amplifiers demonstrated the ability to deliver efficiencies higher than 70 percent under a 4G LTE modulation format, and are thus poised to disrupt current industry efficiency standards.

The performance and reliability advantages of Cree’s GaN HEMT RF transistors allowed Eta Devices’ to design next-generation power amplifiers with significantly improved efficiency benefits for the mobile base station industry. According to Jim Milligan, business director, Cree RF. “Our transistors have been instrumental in demonstrating Eta Devices’ amplifiers, which perform 50 percent more efficiently than the best incumbent silicon power amplifiers currently available in the 4G LTE market.”

The world’s mobile networks consume approximately 120TWh of electricity per year, and 50-80 percent of these networks’ power is consumed by their power amplifiers and associated components. Implementing Eta Devices’ new power amplifier solution on a global level could save mobile operators 60TWh of energy per year, which is equivalent to the amount of power produced by more than seven average-sized American nuclear power plants. It could also save up to 50 percent of the $36.5 billion spent to power mobile base stations each year.

“Mobile operators gain dramatic advantages by adopting our new technology,” said Mattias Astrom, CEO of Eta Devices. “In addition to cost savings, our power amplifiers provide operators with a significantly reduced carbon footprint, which contributes to a more sustainable planet. In fact, if implemented on a global basis, our solution would reduce carbon emissions by approximately 36 million tons per year, which is equivalent to eliminating the annual greenhouse gas emissions produced by 7 million cars.” Eta is a new startup out of MIT that developed Asymmetric Multilevel Outphasing (AMO) that is similar in some ways to envelope tracking but still maintains wide bandwidth by reducing the resolution of voltage levels used.

Recent Articles by David Vye, MWJ Editor

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