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21 February 2014

RFaxis honored with 2014 North American Frost & Sullivan Award for Technology Innovation Leadership

Based on its recent analysis of the market for radio frequency front-end module (RF FEM) solutions for wireless communications, market research firm Frost & Sullivan has recognized fabless semiconductor firm RFaxis Inc of Irvine, CA, USA with the 2014 North American Frost & Sullivan Award for Technology Innovation Leadership.

Each year, Frost & Sullivan presents this award to the company that has demonstrated uniqueness in developing and leveraging new technologies that significantly impact both the functionality and customer value of new products and applications. The award lauds the high R&D spend towards innovation, its relevance to the industry, and the positive impact on brand perception.

RFaxis has leveraged its highly integrated single-chip/single-die RF front-end integrated circuit (RFeIC) architecture to develop unique RF front-ends for wireless communications, combining performance with affordability as alternatives to conventional gallium arsenide solutions.

RF front-ends are traditionally built by embedding active and passive multiple components on a substrate using GaAs. The hybrid integration of passive and active compounds forms a multi-chip RF FEM, resulting in a large package size and bigger footprint on the printed circuit board (PCB), says RFaxis. However, with wireless communications semiconductors moving from bulky, multiple integrated chips to leaner, single chips, RFaxis says that its RFeICs are gaining prominence for being highly integrated on a single silicon-based chip.

Frost & Sullivan’s research confirms that RFaxis has developed the first single-chip/single-die RF front-end integrated circuit architecture based purely on standard complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) silicon technology. Quality and performance are comparable with GaAs-based RF front-end solutions, while its cost structure, thermal conductivity and ruggedness are superior, it is claimed.

“Apart from reducing the time to design and market, RF front-end level of integration offers device manufacturers a very simple solution that can be implemented as a plug and play,” comments Frost & Sullivan senior research analyst Swapnadeep Nayak. “RFaxis’ technology helps OEMs reduce their product development cycles to as low as a few weeks, while competing solutions take months,” he adds. “It satisfies every performance criterion set forth by component manufacturers and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).”

Unlike CMOS, GaAs is a niche domain that does not have adequate foundry capacity to meet global demand from the semiconductor industry and OEMs, reckons RFaxis. Migrating to CMOS technology lowers strain on the supply chain, helping device makers cope with demand. RFaxis claims that its technology offers substantial price reduction compared with incumbent solutions, and helps system-on-chip (SoC) vendors and OEMs to integrate the firm’s solutions with other modules.

Frost & Sullivan’s comparison of all RF front-end solutions shows that RFaxis is among the few participants that integrate the key RF front-end components of power amplifiers (PA), low-noise amplifiers (LNA), and switches into a CMOS SoC. RFaxis says that such a high degree of integration has a direct bearing on RF front-end innovations for the wireless local-area network (WLAN), long-term evolution (LTE/4G), and machine-to-machine (M2M) communications markets.

RFaxis says that its technology powers a wide range of application segments that use wireless communication as a key platform, the main ones being broadband (gateways, set-top boxes, video streaming applications), mobile devices (smartphones), and the Internet of things (IoT). The firm is also looking at the smart TV and remote control segments to transform them from mere devices to gadgets that perform functions such as music and video streaming.

“The wireless application ecosystem is evolving with the advent of Zigbee, 4G, near-field communication, and the IoT, and RFaxis’ technology helps OEMs ease into this transition by helping wireless communication devices perform faster,” comments Nayak. “Frost & Sullivan’s benchmarking shows that RFaxis is efficiently extending the range of wireless communication applications through its RFeIC solutions without increasing the form factor or cost.”

Tags: RFaxis CMOS

Visit: www.rfaxis.com

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