Electronic Design

RF Front-End Modules For Bluetooth And ZigBee Simplify Layout And Cut Costs

Front-end modules are becoming hot wireless products because of the great benefits that they bring. The “front end” is usually considered the receiver low-noise amplifier (LNA), the transmitter power amplifier (PA), and the transmit/ receive (Tx/Rx) switch, as well as any additional impedance matching or filter components.

In past designs, all of these components were individual parts that required extra design attentionnot to mention the extra board space. These parts also added to the bill of materials (BOM), increased cost, and complicated procurement. Now, putting all of these components in one chip is a blessing for designers.

The UPG2253T6S front-end chip from California Eastern Laboratories includes all of those components, except for the LNA. It targets Bluetooth and IEEE 802.15.4/ZigBee products in the 2.4-GHz band, such as laptops, netbooks, cell phones, and headsets. It’s also a good fit for industrial applications that use 802.15.4/ ZigBee modules for automatic meter reading, wireless security, cable replacement, lighting systems, and other monitor and control uses in homes or commercial buildings.

The PA puts out 19 dBm with a PAE of 28%. The second harmonic is down –25 dB, and the third harmonic is down –40 dB. The Tx/Rx switch consists of two singlepole double-throw (SPDT) units. The IC’s through/PA bypass feature enables the end product to switch to a highpower mode when greater range is needed but automatically switches to a low-power mode when greater battery savings are necessary. The through/bypass path can also be used as the Rx path. A lowpass filter also is included.

The UPG2253T6S comes in a 3- by 3- by 0.7-mm 12-pin quad flat no-lead (QFN) package (see the figure). According to the company, this smaller package size enables product designs with tiny footprints, while its better harmonic suppression eliminates the need for low-pass filters on most product designs. The chip operates from 3 V as well.

Shipping now, the UPG2253T6S costs $1.10 in 100,000-unit quantities.



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