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21 February 2017

ACCO launches CMOS RF front-end module for IoT applications

Fabless semiconductor firm ACCO Semiconductor Inc of Sunnyvale, CA, USA, which develops RF front-end components including multi-mode multi-band power amplifiers (MMPA) manufactured in standard high-volume bulk CMOS processes, has launched the AC81030, an integrated RF front-end module for Internet of Things (IoT) applications. Provided in a low-profile 4.1mm x 5.8mm LGA package, the complete CMOS front-end module offers what is claimed to be the first cost-effective solution to economically serve the global market with one device. The high level of integration allows IoT module makers to be faster to market with simpler lower-cost designs without sacrificing functionality, the firm adds.

Since the cellular IoT market is in its early growth stage, a wide variety of frequency band and mode requirements exists. Operators are looking to maximize return on their infrastructure investments with IoT solutions that can coexist on existing networks. 3GPP has addressed this by standardizing on several different cellular technologies within LTE. However, each air interface addresses particular market needs, resulting in fragmented requirements for chipsets and RF front-end components. Existing competing solutions requiring dedicated components for each frequency band resulted in the development of costly customized products for each operator and geographic region, says ACCO.

Developed in collaboration with a leading LTE system-on-chip (SoC) provider, the AC81030 enables SoC and IoT module makers to have a single reference design or product stock-keeping unit (SKU) that addresses several market segments worldwide. Through economies of scale, better inventory management and a simplified supply chain, ACCO claims that solutions based on the AC81030 can reduce the total cost of ownership that is critical to the growth of the cellular IoT market.

"ACCO's integrated RF front-end module has enabled Altair to design the first single-SKU IoT Cat M1 reference design, addressing needs for our customers globally," comments Eran Eshed, VP of worldwide sales & marketing at Israel-based LTE chip-set provider Altair Semiconductor. "We look forward to continuing to work with ACCO as the IoT market expands."

ACCO has developed and patented RF front-end technology for mobile communications devices (power amplifiers and antenna switches) that uses standard complementary-metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) processing. The firm's bulk CMOS cellular power amplifier offers highly linear performance yet can operate at high power without breakdown or degradation, which was previously considered impossible, clams ACCO. The use of CMOS in the RF front-end is said to improve functionality at a reduced size and cost for both smart phones and the Internet of Things, as well as leveraging the mature, reliable, high-volume CMOS supply chain.

"ACCO has uniquely simplified the RF front-end for cellular IoT through CMOS integration, helping to bring IoT devices to market faster and with lower cost," comments Chris Taylor, director RF & Wireless Components at market research firm Strategy Analytics.

"The use of standard CMOS process brings the advantages of Moore's Law to the final non-silicon holdout in cellular IoT solutions, the RF front-end," says ACCO's CEO Greg Caltabiano. "This allows the entire cellular IoT market to ride the same decreasing cost curve while increasing functionality and reliability, as experienced in the rest of the electronics industry."

See related items:

ACCO raises $35m in funding round led by Bpifrance

ACCO starts mass production of CMOS multi-mode multi-band power amplifier for 3G/LTE smartphones

Tags: CMOS PAs

Visit: www.acco-semi.com

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