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Q&A with Peter Gammel, Chief Technology Officer, Skyworks Solutions, Inc. (.PDF Download)

Nov. 29, 2017
Q&A with Peter Gammel, Chief Technology Officer, Skyworks Solutions, Inc. (.PDF Download)

Obviously, 5G is something we constantly hear about. Will it live up to the hype?

It is important to point out that 5G is being driven by market pull, and not technology push. Ubiquitous connectivity is gaining significant momentum and enhancing the way we live, work, play, and educate, creating an immediate and insatiable demand for higher speed and lower latency data. While millimeter-wave frequencies will unlock a massive swath of new spectrum for 5G and cellular communications, we believe 5G will see rapid adoption as a dual-connectivity solution at sub-6-GHz and even sub-1-GHz frequencies.

Ultimately, this data throughput and low latency will enable a host of new applications, from autonomous vehicles to artificial intelligence, augmented and mixed reality, and much more, with some of the most exciting applications not yet envisioned. 

What semiconductor technologies will be most significant in enabling 5G networks?

The move toward increasing band complexity and RF content through both carrier aggregation and MIMO will accelerate as we migrate to 5G. The initial phase of 5G in higher-frequency bands—between 2.7 and 6 GHz—for 5G cellular communications will have a significant impact on RF front-end complexity and the technologies utilized.

Peter Gammel, CTO, Skyworks Solutions, Inc.

There will be a need for new RF technologies to address signal transmission, conditioning, filtering, tuning, voltage regulation, battery-charging, and packaging, creating a perfect storm of complexity. In short, the goal of a 10X increase in battery life, simultaneous output power increase for enhanced cell user experience, and linearity for 5G new radio data rates have resulted in a re-evaluation of the entire RF transmit chain. 

As the second phase of 5G takes us into millimeter-waves, a new suite of technologies will be ramped up to augment the use of gallium-arsenide (GaAs) heterojunction-bipolar-transistor (HBT), silicon-on-insulator (SOI), and acoustic-wave filters.