Nokia Acquires Start-up to Bolsters Base-Station Power Amplifier Efficiency

Nokia has acquired Eta Devices, a US-based start-up specializing in power amplifier efficiency solutions for base stations, access points and devices. This acquisition will strengthen Nokia's push to enhance base station energy efficiency, an increasingly important area for operators on the path to 4.9G and 5G.

The demand for data from consumers and businesses is surging, as is the number of connected devices and things, with operators increasingly needing power that is delivered both cost-effectively and sustainably. Eta Devices' unique ETAdvanced power management technology can reduce heat waste drastically through the use of a new amplifier that works like an automated gearbox, adjusting energy usage by constantly providing just the right amount of power required for a radio signal. This translates to savings for operators that can be invested as 4.9G and 5G approach. This technology reduces the need for backup power, translating into smaller base station cabinets and reduced equipment breakdown rates, and supporting Nokia's target to continuously strengthen the base station power efficiency of its products. Nokia already offers a Zero Emission base station solution that reduces site energy consumption and CO2 emissions by up to 70 percent.

ETAdvanced succeeds by bringing the full force of modern digital technology to overcome the problem of efficiency and linearity in radio transmitters. For narrowband applications, it is 25% more efficient than envelope tracking and the implementation is simpler given fewer components. Unlike envelope tracking, ETAdvanced supports ultra wideband channels of up to 160 MHz making the technology future proof by supporting both LTE Advanced and 802.11ac WiFi. Envelope tracking only works up to 20-40 MHz - far short of the 100 MHz required by LTE Advanced and the 160 MHz utilized by 802.11ac.

Benefits for mobile base station vendors:

  • Significant power savings.
  • Ultra wideband support for LTE Advanced.
  • Smaller base station cabinets.
  • Reduced equipment breakdown rates.

Benefits for mobile handset manufacturers:

  • 50% longer battery life in smartphones.
  • 25% more efficient than Envelope Tracking for narrowband applications.
  • Ultra wideband support for LTE Advanced and 802.11ac
  • Improved thermal performance with less need for heat dissipation.
  • Makes CMOS PAs more efficient than current best-in-class GaAs PAs.

Benefits for our planet:

  • Significantly reduced carbon footprint.
  • Shift from toxic and rare earth materials to non-toxic silicon.

Eta Devices is a private start-up company founded in 2010. The company is headquartered in Cambridge, MA with an R&D office in Stockholm, Sweden, and it employs approximately 20 people. The acquisition includes fixed assets, employees, intellectual property rights as well as lease and supplier agreements.