UCSD and TowerJazz Demonstrate 5G Mobile Chipset for the 28 GHz Band

TowerJazz and The University of California (UCSD) have demonstrated a new 5G phased-array chipset with data rates of more than 12 Gbps. This chipset demonstrates that products can be fabricated to meet the emerging 5G telecom standards for the next wave of worldwide mobile communications. This 5G Chipset operates from 28 to 31 GHz, a new communications band planned for release by the FCC. The chipset uses TowerJazz’s high volume SiGe BiCMOS technology, and has excellent performance in the 28 GHz band with a 10-time improvement in data rate vs. 4G LTE. It meets many other technical specification requirements of the emerging 5G standard.

The 5G transmit and receive chipsets achieved a data rate of more than 12 Gbps at a 30 meter separation, and a data rate of greater than 3 Gbps when separated by 300 meters, using two polarizations. It utilizes 16-64-256 QAM (Quadrature Amplitude Modulation) schemes to achieve these data rates. The measured EVM (Error Vector Magnitude), a figure of merit used to determine the quality of the data received, suggests both chipsets are already performing at 4G LTE levels. The 64-QAM link was reported to have an EVM of less than 5% at a distance of 30 meters for a 12 GBPS connection. The 16 QAM link when operating at a data rate of 3 Gbps has an EVM of less than 12% at 300m and over all scan angles, and all with no FEC or equalization. The system operates in a dual-polarization mode. In addition, the 4 x 8 (32-element) phased-arrays use SiGe core chips and are assembled on a multi-layer printed-circuit board together with the antennas.  Record figures of merit such as NF (Noise Figure), EIRP (Equivalent Isotropically Radiated Power), and EVM have been demonstrated.

The TowerJazz H3 platform allows for 13-20 dBm of transmit power per element with high PAE (power-added efficiency) of 20% at 28 GHz. It also offers very low-noise transistors resulting in an LNA Noise Figure of 2.4 dB at 28 GHz. The process can be used to develop high-Q inductors and low-loss transmission-lines for on-chip power distribution.

The UCSD’s design team, led by graduate student Kerim Kibaroglu and post-doctoral fellow Mustafa Sayginer, were able to achieve record links at distances from 30 to 300 meters over all scan angles, using TowerJazz’s SiGe BiCMOS technology and state-of-the-art Keysight equipment such as the 8195A Arbitrary Wave Generator, the DSOS804A Digital Scope and the Signal Studio suite with the VSA software.

The peak wireless data rates for 4G LTE can be up to 1 Gbps, but are nominally lower around 100 to 300 Mbps. TowerJazz has demonstrated more than 10x those speeds using the UCSD 5G next-generation mobile designs made with its high volume H3 technology. Tower Jazz continue to release additional technology nodes, e.g. the H5 and H6, which have even lower noise devices and higher speed capabilities. These technologies will enable 5G designers to further increase data rates through higher QAM modulation schemes, or shrink chip sizes and increase the distance over which these 5G chips can perform. They also have added new features to their SiGe Terabit Platform; to support easy evolution of customer technology for fast time to market. This will allow customers to grow their technology roadmap and products as the 5G standards evolve.