Wireless Systems Design

Dual-Mode 802.11b/g Front End Emerges

The IEEE 802.11g specification is expected to emerge as the preferred wireless technology for high-data-rate access in hot-spot, home, and SOHO environments. After all, it can support data rates of up to 54 Mbps in the 2.4-GHz frequency band. It therefore flaunts five times the speed of 802.11b networks while maintaining backward compatibility with 802.11b's large installed base.

Now that the 802.11g specification has been ratified, many supporting components are being released. One that stands out is an RF front-end solution from SiGe Semiconductor. The company claims that its solution reduces size by 50%, making it ideal for embedded-mobile Wi-Fi applications in laptops, PCMCIA cards, PDAs, and cellular phones.

The SE2526A RF front end integrates a high-performance power amplifier, power detector, transmit/receive switch, diversity switch, and filtering. They all merge into a compact chip-scale device that is fully matched to 50 Ohms. The SE2526A claims to replace up to 40 of the components that are typically required for the RF front end. It comes supplied in a laminate package measuring 5.5 × 7.0 × 1.4 mm. This form factor is 50% smaller than competitive module solutions, making the SE2526A ideal for Wi-Fi systems. To further support embedded mobile applications, the SE2526A consumes just 160 mA in 802.11g mode via a single 3.0-to-3.6-V supply.

This front end is based on the company's high-performance 802.11b/g power amplifier. While operating in 802.11g mode, the SE2526A delivers a power output of +16 dBm. It achieves an error vector magnitude (EVM) of less than 3%. In 802.11b mode, the SE2526A delivers +20-dBm output power with an adjacent-channel power ratio (ACPR) of less than −35 dBc. These superior levels of EVM, ACPR, and harmonic performance should guarantee high data throughput and longer range while operating in the 54-Mbps 802.11g mode.

The SE2526A RF front end is sampling to lead customers now. General samples should be available in the third quarter. The front end is priced at less than $2.00 each in quantities of 1 million units.

SiGe Semiconductor, Inc.
2680 Queensview Dr., Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K2B 8J9; (613) 820-9244, FAX: (613) 820-4933, www.sige.com.

TAGS: Mobile
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