NXP Semiconductors N.V., a worldwide leader in the cellular infrastructure market, announced the strategic alignment following the merger of NXP and Freescale of comprehensive products and technologies to meet the complete system challenges of 5G. NXP’s comprehensive portfolio of low and high power RF technologies are being combined to address 5G demands of bandwidth, linearity, power-efficiency and small form factor solutions.
Streaming high quality video, connecting a multitude of devices, allowing real-time communications, while providing extremely low latency monitoring of any environment are just some benefits from 5G wireless. To enable these capabilities, radio architectures need to significantly evolve and utilize macro to small cell base stations that operate in frequency bands from a few hundred megahertz to tens of gigahertz.
“With the recent combination of NXP and Freescale, the key building blocks for creating the highly integrated, high performance RF front end solutions 5G requires are now aligned under the NXP umbrella. The combination of NXP’s industry leading Si-LDMOS, GaN and SiGe ensures that the full range of 5G power amplifier variants can be addressed in the most highly integrated, cost competitive manner possible,” said Paul Hart, senior vice president and general manager of the RF power business at NXP. “We have the unique opportunity to deliver mobile device levels of power amplifier integration at infrastructure power levels.”
Delivering 5G frequency and power requirements
A key enabler of NXP’s initiative to fast-track 5G is NXP’s exceptionally comprehensive RF process capabilities, which span the low, medium and ultra-high frequencies that 5G systems will require. Silicon LDMOS has been the primary RF process technology for base station power amplifiers from the market’s inception, through the build-out of 4G LTE. NXP’s LDMOS will continue to play a significant role in the 5G era as well, providing high levels of integration necessary to support massive MIMO based systems below 3 GHz.
In higher frequency deployments, NXP will leverage its optimized gallium nitride (GaN) process technology, which will complement LDMOS in products designed to support frequencies higher than 3 GHz. And for the exceptionally high centimeter and millimeter-wave frequency bands that 5G systems will require, NXP will leverage its silicon germanium (SiGe) BiCMOS process technology. In fact, NXP today is a leading supplier of automotive radar chipsets, which leverage NXP SiGe technologyto operate in the 77 GHz range. Additionally, NXP’s SiGe-based low noise amplifiers deployed in today's cellular markets are increasingly replacing high cost GaAs based solutions for infrastructure, mobile and user equipment.
Providing flexibility and programmability in signal processing architecture
For processors, NXP is leveraging its vector signal processing architecture (VSPA) into scalable devices that will be perfectly suited for the flexibility required by 5G systems relying on beam-forming and massive multi-user MIMO. Announced last year, the AFD4400Digital Front End (DFE) System-on-Chip (SoC) covers the entire transmit, adaptation and receiver functionality, while keeping the data path fully software programmable. The flexibility and programmability effectively enables the data path to be reconfigured for various antenna and bandwidth requirements. When operating with a wideband transceiver, this platform makes the concept of software defined radio a reality. Combined with NXP’s baseband processor solutions, for example, the QorIQ Qonverge B4860device, the AFD4400 provides an ideal development platform for 5G systems.
From the core of the network to the antennas and back, NXP’s broad portfolio of baseband, radio, antenna processing, RF front-end solutions and software ensure 5G system success.
An example of a high performance yet compact micro cell radio design, demonstrating NXP’s unique position to supply RF power and low noise amplifiers along with the matching digital front end solution, can be seen at the NXP booth (7E30) at Mobile World Congress 2016 in Barcelona.