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27 May 2015

S3 announces first fully integrated, single-conversion radio for devices, transceivers and modems operating off Iridium network

S3 Group of Dublin, Ireland (an independent supplier of RF and mixed-signal IP and tailored silicon solutions to service operators, OEMs and semiconductor vendors) has made available what is claimed to be the first fully integrated, single-conversion radio transceiver, to be used in satellite communications devices, handsets, transceivers and modems operating off the existing Iridium network and the next-generation Iridium NEXT network. Iridium Communications Inc of McLean, VA, USA operates the world's furthest-reaching communications network - the only mobile voice and data satellite communications network that spans the entire globe (making it a vital part of the global communications infrastructure). Its major development program Iridium NEXT is said to be the most significant commercial space program currently underway.

S3 says that the fully integrated, single-conversion radio transceiver represents a radical innovation from the current dual-conversion architectures, common in the Mobile Satellite Services space. This enables what is reckoned to be the world's lowest form factor and lightest Satellite Transmit and Receive modem. It also further enables Iridium to substantially reduce form factor, power consumption and cost as well as to expedite delivery of products to market while enabling Iridium's value added manufacturers (VAMs) and resellers (VARs) greater flexibility in embedding the Iridium data modems into their products.

The radio frequency integrated circuit (RFIC) is designed to be used in Iridium's existing L-band satellite system as well as the forthcoming higher-data-rate Iridium NEXT system, and includes a digital pre-distortion (DPD) algorithm that allows for greater flexibility in the choice of external critical components in the system.

"S3 Group delivered a working IC design to us for our next-generation devices, which delivers breakthrough improvements in size and performance," says Iridium's chief operating officer Scott Smith. "S3 Group previously delivered a working chipset for the Iridium 9602 SBD Modem. Their successful track record in the delivery of complex programs for Iridium made S3 Group a natural choice to develop the new RF IC for Iridium NEXT terminals," he adds. "Their ability to put a multi-disciplined team of engineers with expertise in system design, RF, analog and digital design as well as the company's leading-edge RF and mixed-signal IP portfolio, combined with program management expertise, enables Iridium to stay at the forefront of the growing M2M [machine-to-machine] market."

"This was a highly complex R&D program involving system design and leading-edge RF IC development to which we brought our system-level solution capabilities, our silicon proven IP portfolio and our RF, analog and digital IC design skills to bear," says Dermot Barry, VP Semiconductor Solutions at S3 Group.

Tags: RFIC

Visit: www.iridium.com

Visit: www.s3group.com/silicon

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