Freescale Creates Smallest 3G Multiband RF Subsystem for Handsets

Achieving another milestone in its 3G technology roadmap, Freescale Semiconductor has unveiled the industry’s smallest 3G multiband form factor RF subsystem for handset design. The new solution combines Freescale’s popular and proven EDGE and UMTS technologies into a single, integrated package, enabling dramatic board and cost savings. Significantly reducing time to first call, the new RF subsystem provides the world’s simplest programming model for fast, easy implementation and is the first to incorporate an open standard digital interface. The announcement was made in anticipation of next week’s 3GSM World Congress being held in Barcelona.

“Our continued focus on delivering robust cellular solutions for our customers is represented clearly with the debut of this subsystem,” said Klaus Buehring, vice president and general manager of Freescale’s Radio Products Division. “With our highly integrated 3G offering, our customers can deliver the multiband/multimode functionality required in today’s advanced handsets. Additionally, we have dramatically simplified layer-one programming, accelerating the time to market for 3G design.”

3G RF subsystem delivers multiband capabilities
The new 3G RF subsystem, the RFX300-30, features a single integrated package that supports both multimode/multiband UMTS and EDGE networks. With up to 13 bands supported, the RFX300-30 offers the broadest multiband support in the smallest form-factor solution for handset manufacturers today. Processed in 90-nanometer CMOS technology, Freescale’s RF subsystem delivers tremendous benefit for handset manufacturers, including:

  • Four band GSM/EDGE support
  • Nine band UMTS support
  • HSDPA support up to 7.2 Mbps
  • HSUPA support up to 5.76 Mbps

“The combination of the transceiver, power amplifier and analog baseband in a single subsystem is critical to drive down the cost of next-generation UMTS handsets,” said Michael Thelander, founder and CEO of Signals Research Group, LLC. “These devices must meet stringent size constraints, yet support feature-rich multimedia capabilities that are enabled through HSDPA and HSUPA.”

The RFX300-30 subsystem combines the analog baseband, RF transmitter, RF receiver, power amplifier and power control and many traditionally passive components into two packages. Specifically, the RFX300-30 consists of Freescale’s MMM7210 UMTS/EDGE transceiver and the MMM6038 EDGE power amplifier. The MMM7210 transceiver combines quad-band GSM/EDGE functionality with up to four of nine UMTS bands, providing support for up to eight total bands at any given time.

Layer one programming accelerates time to first call
Freescale’s innovative layer-one programming function, which debuted in the RFX275-20 RF subsystem earlier this year, has proven to reduce time to first call by up to 66 percent. Previously, an engineer programming the baseband to control the RF transceiver would need to consider all the critical timing between the transceiver, power amplifiers, switches, low noise amplifiers, baseband processor and voltage regulators. These dependencies require a significant investment in time to complete phone development successfully.

With Freescale’s revolutionary approach, an engineer enters a single command stating the desired channel and power level. This command sets the parameters and times the events such that system compliance is virtually assured. Freescale’s programming method uses single-command programming that reduces calibration steps and practically guarantees compliance.

First to incorporate open standard digital interface for 3G
As the first to incorporate an open standard digital interface for 3G, the RFX300-30 allows phone manufacturers to incorporate components from various suppliers with the confidence that they will all work together. Freescale was among the first companies to build and deliver DigRF-compliant radios in mass production.

The RFX300-30 EDGE RF subsystem is sampling now with production slated for Q407.

About Freescale Semiconductor
Freescale Semiconductor, Inc. is a global leader in the design and manufacture of embedded semiconductors for the automotive, consumer, industrial, networking and wireless markets. The privately held company is based in Austin, Texas, and has design, research and development, manufacturing or sales operations in more than 30 countries. Freescale is one of the world’s largest semiconductor companies with 2006 sales of $6.4 billion (USD).

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