8 January 2020
Qorvo expands cellular IoT portfolio
Qorvo Inc of Greensboro, NC, USA (which provides core technologies and RF solutions for mobile, infrastructure and defense applications) is expanding its Internet of Things (IoT) portfolio with two RF front-end (RFFE) modules that support the NB-IoT and LTE-M cellular standards.
Featuring what is claimed to be the smallest integrated dual-band module, Qorvo says that its expanded portfolio accelerates global connectivity by helping manufacturers add cellular IoT capability to a range of new devices.
The firm has partnered with fabless semiconductor company Nordic Semiconductor of Trondheim, Norway to develop cellular IoT solutions using Qorvo’s RFFE modules. “We are very impressed by the features and performance of Qorvo’s new modules,” comments Nordic’s chief technology officer Svein-Egil Nielsen. “With their high integration level, extensive band coverage and support for both NB-IoT and LTE-M, they enable truly global products — while providing industry-leading power consumption and robust design margins,” he adds.
“The NB-IoT and LTE-M standards usher in a new era of always-on global connectivity for a massive number of devices, including applications that weren’t previously feasible,” notes Eric Creviston, president of Qorvo Mobile Products. “Minimizing RF solution size and power consumption are critical for this new wave of battery-powered devices, many of which will be expected to provide years of unattended and maintenance-free operation.”
NB-IoT and LTE-M networks are quickly expanding worldwide. The Ericsson Mobility report estimates that the number of NB-IoT and LTE-M connections tripled during 2019 and will account for more than half of the almost 5 billion cellular IoT connections by 2025. Operators have already launched more than 120 NB-IoT and LTE-M networks, according to the GSMA.
Qorvo says that leading manufacturers of IoT devices, including wearables, are designing products using its newest modules, which comprise the 4mm x 4mm QM55003 integrated multi-band NB-IoT/LTE-M module (with low-band and mid-band PAs, Tx/Rx filters and switch supporting multiple transmit/receive paths) and the 4mm x 5mm QM55001 multi-band NB-IoT/LTE-M module (with low-band and mid-band PAs and switch, providing flexibility to add filters as required). In addition to compact size, both modules offer what is claimed to be the industry’s lowest minimum operating voltage, allowing extended battery life in IoT devices.