Electronic Design
Tiny GNSS Receiver Front-End Amps Deliver Best Noise Figure

Tiny GNSS Receiver Front-End Amps Deliver Best Noise Figure

You can never have enough sensitivity or gain in global navigation satellite system (GNSS) receivers as long as the noise figure is good. In fact, high gain and low noise are the key specs for GPS and GLONASS receivers. Infineon Technologies’ BGM104xN7 receive front-end modules boast such specs for implementing GNSS receivers in smart phones, personal navigation devices, and other handheld products.

The modules are a pin-to-pin compatible upgrade with Infineon’s previous BGM103xN7. They’re the world’s smallest receive front-end modules for these applications, measuring just 2.3 by 1.7 by 0.73 mm (see the figure). Supporting simultaneous reception of GPS and GLONASS signals, they’re optimized for different end platforms and offer an exceptional noise figure, low-power operation, and superior protection against electrostatic discharge (ESD).

The Infineon BGM104xN7 series front-end modules contain a 1550- to 1615-MHz band pass filter and an LNA with a gain in the 14- to 18-dB range and a noise figure in the 1.5- to 1.7-dB range. It measures 2.3 by 1.7 by 0.73 mm.

For the reception of weak GNSS signals, a low noise figure results in a shorter time-to-first-fix (TTFF), which is the time a GNSS receiver requires to acquire satellite signals and navigation data and to calculate a position. The BGM104xN7 modules’ noise figure is 0.15 dB better than the BGM103xN7 series. In addition, Infineon’s solution outperforms all others on the market by about 0.5 dB. The improved performance is achieved in a package that is almost 22% smaller than the second smallest available device.

The BGM104xN7 modules combine the pre-filter and low-noise amplifier (LNA) stages of the GNSS signal chain front end to balance performance improvements and space savings while reducing design time. The low noise figure enhances the user’s navigation experience while using smart phones or any other portable device. In addition, the device family meets key design goals, such as high linearity to avoid interference with more powerful cellular signals, single-module coverage of the frequency range from 1575 to 1605 MHz, and optimized gain for state-of-the-art sensitivity.

Two versions target specific platforms. The BGM1043N7 is the standard solution meeting high-performance GPS/GLONASS specifications, with 14.8-dB gain and a 1.5-dB noise figure. The BGM1044N7 is a high-gain (17.0 dB) version (1.55-dB noise figure) for systems with high losses in the receive chain, such as personal navigation devices and digital still cameras, where the potential for jamming due to high-power cellular signals is less critical.

Modules and evaluation kits are available now. Typical pricing for the BGM104xN7 modules is $0.50 in 10,000-unit quantities.

Infineon Technologies

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