Diverse RF Semiconductor Technologies Are Driving the 5G Rollout

This paper examines the contributions GLOBALFOUNDRIES’ technologies are making to the 5G rollout in smartphones and other mobile devices. It will start by discussing approaches to chip design for applications at sub-6 GHz frequencies, which enable 5G by leveraging some of the existing 4G bands (700 MHz, 2.5 GHz, etc.) and also frequency bands between 3.3 GHz and 5 GHz. Chip development in this frequency range typically consists of design “tweaks” and not total redesigns. As a result, the first generation of 5G smartphones will be based primarily on sub-6GHz 5G implementations.

Then, the paper will discuss 5G implementations in the millimeter-wave (mmWave) band at frequencies above 24GHz. These enable extremely high rates of data transmission but require multiple antennae working together as phased arrays to extend the mmWave reach. Finally, there will be a discussion of Wi-Fi front-end modules, as Wi-Fi capability is included today in a wide range of devices that will interact with 5G systems (for example, smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktops, wearables and routers).

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