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IQE

15 September 2014

TowerJazz's SiGe BiCMOS chosen for Global Invacom's satellite TV chipset

Specialty foundry TowerJazz (which has fabrication plants at Tower Semiconductor Ltd in Migdal Haemek, Israel, and at its subsidiaries Jazz Semiconductor Inc in Newport Beach, CA, USA and TowerJazz Japan Ltd) and Global Invacom, a manufacturer of technology for the satellite industry, have announced the production of the Romeo & Juliet software-configurable satellite TV chipset for global applications, enabled by TowerJazz's silicon germanium (SiGe) BiCMOS (SBC18) technologies and design enablement services.

“Our SBC18 family of processes integrate a high-performance SiGe HBT [heterojunction bipolar transistor] device with standard 0.18µm CMOS in order to monolithically integrate high-performance RF circuit blocks with digital control circuitry,” says Dr Marco Racanelli, senior VP & general manager of the RF & High Performance Analog Business Group at TowerJazz. “The SiGe HBTs provide excellent RF gain, noise, and linearity characteristics at the satellite communications frequencies used in these products,” he claims.

Global Invacom’s new chipset allows satellite equipment makers for the first time, it is claimed, to design one programmable system for all global markets. The firm’s Romeo & Juliet-based FibreIRS Mk 3 Gateway Termination Units (GTUs) and SwitchBlade Fibre-MultiSwitch (FMS) will be available from fourth-quarter 2014 and first-quarter 2015, respectively.

The Romeo & Juliet chipset lets OEMs develop their own range of FibreIRS-compatible products for any satellite TV service frequency plan in the world with a single, programmable design, reducing manufacturing proliferation, driving cost reductions and increased return on investment (ROI), it is claimed. Romeo is a wideband low-noise amplifier (LNA), while the programmable Juliet dual-channel down-converter supports all the global frequency plans, avoiding the need for a separate discrete design for each region.

Global Invacom invented the widely used FibreIRS technology, which distributes satellite TV from a whole-band LNB (low-noise block) or optical LNB around apartment blocks, MDUs (multi-dwelling units) and multi-screen enterprise networks requiring live TV services. The new chipset also supports a modular design, so TV feeds from extra satellites can be added to a base unit sharing a controller and power. This allows property developers to install a scalable network for one satellite and others can easily add new ones to for residents to watch alternative TV services from around the world.

Global Invacom developed the FibreIRS architecture and products to allow cost-effective satellite TV service distribution. Resilient, lightweight optical fibre cable backbones are used rather than traditional expensive coaxial cable that is highly susceptible to interference and picture degradation and requires signal amplifiers throughout the building.

“We launched our Romeo & Juliet chipset to dramatically open up the market for more economical products, usable worldwide, for the distribution of multiple satellite TV services over fibre in residential MDUs, hotels and the enterprise,” says Global Invacom’s VP business development Ian Walsh.

“We selected TowerJazz as our manufacturing partner for their ability to produce low-noise, high-gain, wide-band and linear SiGe devices,” says Global Invacom’s technical director Malcolm Burrell. “Also, their design enablement platform complements their sophisticated technology and includes silicon verified, highly scalable device models, robust physical design tools for up front design optimization, and their design support infrastructure, to enable a quick and accurate design cycle,” he adds.

Romeo & Juliet chipset samples and evaluation boards are available on request and in production shipments from first-quarter 2015.

Tags: TowerJazz SiGe

Visit: www.towerjazz.com

Visit: www.globalinvacom.com

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