Www Mwrf Com Sites Mwrf com Files 0818 22 K Fig1

5G Runs on Different Fuel (.PDF Download)

July 31, 2018
5G Runs on Different Fuel (.PDF Download)

As 5G communications reality draws closer, one major point of interest involves the actual semiconductor technologies that will enable it. Technologies like gallium nitride (GaN), gallium arsenide (GaAs), and more all figure to somehow play a role. One firm at the forefront of semiconductor technology—and heavily invested in 5G—is Qorvo. Qorvo had a significant presence at IMS 2018, showcasing its various technology solutions and making some notable announcements that centered around 5G and GaN technology.

5G can be divided into two categories based on frequency: sub-6-GHz and millimeter waves (mmWave). Scott Vasquez, senior market strategy manager for infrastructure and defense products at Qorvo, attended IMS and weighed in on the company’s efforts along these lines. “Several frequencies are involved in the sub-6-GHz market, whether it’s 2.5, 3.5, or 4.5 GHz,” he said. “We have many different products that support those frequencies, such as GaN Doherty-based products that integrate driver, carrier, and peaking amplifiers with power outputs to 5 W—and potentially moving up to 10 W.”

One recently introduced Doherty-based product is the QPA4501—an integrated two-stage GaN power-amplifier (PA) module (Fig. 1). The QPA4501, which operates from 4.4 to 5.0 GHz, consists of a driver amplifier and a Doherty final stage. It’s rated for 3 W of average output power. At 4.6 GHz, the QPA4501 achieves 32 dB of gain when delivering 1.25 W of average output power. In addition, at 4.6 GHz, power-added efficiency (PAE) is 38% when delivering 3 W of average output power. The QPA4501 is intended for 5G massive multiple-input, multiple-output (MIMO) applications.

1. The QPA4501 is a GaN PA module that covers a frequency range of 4.4 to 5.0 GHz.