Feature Article

May 26, 2010

Family of New Filter Technology by TriQuint for 4G Mobile Hotspots and Smartphones

TriQuint Semiconductor, a leading RF products manufacturer and foundry services provider, has released a family of new highly-selective Wi-Fi/Wi-Max RF bulk acoustic wave (BAW) 4G filters. TriQuint's BAW filters enable mobile devices to act as portable WLAN (Wi-Fi) hotspots, and simultaneously connect directly to 4G Wi-Max networks for broadband access up to 10 times faster than conventional 3G systems.

TriQuint's innovative new filters give WLAN handsets, laptops and similar products fully-mobile, high-speed Wi-Max access. Individuals can use 4G Wi-Max to more quickly download movies, stream video or connect with interactive gaming. Wireless system operators including Sprint Clearwire offer 4G Wi-Max devices and service more than 20 markets in the US; there are over 550 Wi-Max service areas worldwide.

Mobile devices with TriQuint BAW filter technology like the Sierra Wireless AirCard(R) W801 Mobile Hotspot (available from Sprint as the Overdrive(TM) 3G/4G Mobile Hotspot) can provide WLAN access for up to five connected devices. Through the AirCard W801, users may also directly access 4G Wi-Max networks with their Wi-Fi enabled smartphone or laptop.

Evan Jones, VP of engineering for Sierra Wireless said, 'The Sierra Wireless AirCard W801 Mobile Hotspot combines Wi-Fi and Wi-Max into a single device to allow users to connect multiple Wi-Fi equipped devices such as phones, laptops, or ebook readers -- to the internet over 4G broadband connections. Since Wi-Max and Wi-Fi are adjacent in the RF spectrum, TriQuint's highly-selective filters reduce interference and let mobile devices that use both frequencies, like the AirCard W801 mobile hotspot, deliver dependable service."

Remarking on the critical role played by filtering in the emerging 4G Wi-Max market, TriQuint vice president Brian Balut said that without highly-selective BAW devices a 'personal hot spot' would interfere with itself, severing wireless connections or otherwise rendering them unusable.

Balut also said, 'TriQuint has developed a wide range of Wi-Max and Wi-Fi products for laptops and hand-held mobile devices that simplify RF connectivity. Our latest products leverage TriQuint's long-standing filter expertise and BAW innovations by shielding one frequency band from another, making them both fully accessible. Having this flexibility helps end users upload and download very large files very quickly. The flexibility to access Wi-Max networks with an existing 3G smartphone or Wi-Fi laptop gives consumers 4G access while extending the lifetime of their existing mobile device--its transformational technology."

Personal hotspots such as those enabled by TriQuint BAW technology are expected by market analysts to create a new segment in the 3G/4G mobile broadband sector. Market watchers including Strategy Analytics have indicated that hotspot products should see increasing consumer demand.

Chris Taylor, director of Strategy Analytics RF & Wireless Components said, 'The devices that opened this branch of the mobile hotspot market were 3G; 4G devices were more recently introduced, so this market is beginning to evolve. Bringing 4G connections to existing 3G devices, and having the ability to access 4G by new generations of wireless and RF-enabled laptops could create an opportunity for rapid expansion; this expansion will help satisfy the growing consumer demand for faster wireless mobile broadband access.'

Wi-Max markets today include 52 areas in the US and Canada, and there are a total of 568 worldwide. Wi-Max service areas are increasing quickly according to the Wi-Max Forum(R), an international trade group. This is especially true in areas where quality 3G service is absent, or service quality is declining because networks are not keeping pace with subscriber growth. By offering service up to 10 times faster than 3G, 4G Wi-Max service growth will accelerate, predicts the forum.

TriQuint's filter technology leadership is based on more than two decades of surface acoustic wave (SAW), temperature compensated (TC) SAW and bulk acoustic wave (BAW) innovation. SAW devices offer market-tested reliability for mobile and base station applications through 1.5 GHz. TriQuint integrated, discrete SAW devices have excelled in multiple mobile communications and broadband data markets based on their ability to offer cost-sensitive filter solutions while reducing insertion loss (greater filter efficiency) and providing the bandwidth and steepness (the ability to affect a precise signal area) that RF designers require.

TriQuint BAW filters are designed for high performance at frequencies greater than 1.5 GHz. BAW technology is particularly adept at solving complex filter challenges such as enabling adjacent bands in the RF spectrum to function at the same time without interference. BAW's ability to provide steep rolloff enables one filter to reject near-in interference while maintaining excellent, low loss performance.

New high -frequency Wi-Max/WiFi filters from TriQuint are featured in bills of materials by today's major Wi-Max chipset reference designers including Sequans, Beceem and GCT. The filters exhibit extremely steep roll-off between passbands and rejection bands, which is the key performance factor for enabling devices that must simultaneously use WiFi and Wi-Max signals.

Hans Lewis is a contributing editor for MobilityTechzone. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

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