Telecom Hardware Solutions Conference Proceedings


Author: Mark V. Christensen
Company: Prismark Partners LLC
Date Published: 5/15/2002   Conference: Telecom Hardware Solutions

Abstract: Mobile phones are the highest volume complex electronic system to ship in the history of the electronics industry. Smaller, lower cost phones, but also wireless PDA, wireless communicators and wireless vending machines are driving the continuing effort in small, low cost RF transceivers.

In the recent past, direct conversion RF architectures have reduced the number of RF components in a mobile phone considerably. Further reduction is difficult to achieve through silicon integration because the stringent performance specifications require different materials/technologies: GaAs, SiGe, Si, ceramic, lithium tantalite. This puts the emphasis on RF modules - which combine active and passive functions into a miniaturized functional block - for further size and parts reduction.

Well-defined functions, such as VCOs, power amplifiers and antenna switches have long been available as modules. The move to higher integration is complicated by partitioning choices at the system level (what functions should be integrated into the module?) and the module level (do I integrate the passives on-chip, in the substrate or not at all?).

This paper outlines the goals and challenges, presents examples of existing or emerging RF modules, and discusses the challenges of a fully integrated RF transceiver module.

Keywords: Mobile Phones, RF Design, RF Modules, Passives.

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