Qualcomm unveils RFFE modem-antenna solution

Qualcomm's RFFE modem-to-antenna solution for the 600MHz band includes a low-band power amp module, an adaptive aperture tuner, and a duplexer and diversity receive filter.
Written by Corinne Reichert on

Qualcomm Technologies has announced bolstering its RF Front End (RFFE) portfolio, taking the wraps off a modem-to-antenna solution for 600MHz/Band 71 spectrum.

The 600MHz RFFE solution comprises the QPM2622 low-band power amplifier module (PAMiD) with integrated duplexers, switches, and an antenna coupler; the QAT3516 adaptive aperture tuner; the B1223 duplexer and B8356 diversity receive (DRX) filter; and support across the spectrum band for its previously announced QPA4360, QPA4361, and QPA5461 multimode GaAs power amplifiers.

"QPM2622, QPM2632, and QPM2642 PAMiDs are designed for global SKU development with the premium Snapdragon 800 Mobile Platform tier. QAT3516, B1223, and B8356 support Snapdragon 800, 600, 400, and 200 tiers," Qualcomm explained.

According to Qualcomm, the duplexer and DRX filter can also be used in third-party chipset platforms.

The RFFE product suite, announced by Qualcomm Technologies senior VP and GM of RFFE Christian Block during the Qualcomm 4G/5G Summit in Hong Kong on Tuesday morning, will be made available for use in commercial products by the end of this year.

"The new additions to Qualcomm Technologies' RFFE portfolio are designed to allow original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to rapidly build mobile devices that support new operator deployments of Band 71, a 600MHz low-frequency band," Qualcomm added.

According to the chip giant, the 600MHz band is being used by mobile operators to increase capacity and enhance both outdoor and indoor coverage, as well as by Internet of Things (IoT) solutions providers.

T-Mobile is one carrier currently deploying such a network, Qualcomm said. Its Snapdragon Mobile Platform-based smartphones supporting 600MHz/Band 71 are already commercially available.

Qualcomm last updated its RFFE tools in February, commercially launching antenna performance enhancements, modem intelligence, and optimisation to speed up connections, at the same time introducing two IoT systems-on-chips (SoCs).

The QCA4020 and QCA4024 IoT SoCs provide support for Bluetooth Low Energy 5, dual-band Wi-Fi, ZigBee, and Thread, along with pre-integrated support for Apple HomeKit, Open Connectivity Foundation, the Amazon Web Services (AWS) IoT software development kit, and the Microsoft Azure IoT Devices SDK.

Qualcomm also added support for Android Things OS on its Snapdragon 210 processors with X5 LTE modems at the same time, with its IoT expansion following its acquisition of NXP and it continuing its Brazilian IoT deal with Logicalis in August.

In May, Qualcomm further announced its Mesh Networking Platform for controlling, monitoring, and analysing smart home IoT devices based on the IPQ40x8/9 network SoC and the chipmaker's Wi-Fi Self-Organising (SON) and IoT Connectivity feature sets.

"Qualcomm Technologies helped create a new category of mesh networks that are transforming in-home connectivity," Gopi Sirineni, VP of Product Management, said at the time.

"New capabilities like voice assistance and IoT radio integration will not only transform consumer experiences at home but, along with carrier-grade feature enhancements, make it easier for our customers to adopt and deploy mesh systems aligned to how people want their networks to perform."

Qualcomm is also providing its MDM9206 LTE IoT modem for AT&T to support Mobike's mobile bike-sharing platform under a deal announced last month, and began moving into audio SoC platforms in June.

Some of the smart audio products announced include the CSRA68100, a high-performance single-chip Bluetooth audio flash-programmable platform for premium wireless speakers and headphones, enabling voice recognition on multi-functional speakers; the QCC3XXX flash-programmable audio SoC platforms for lower-price Bluetooth headsets and speakers; and the CSRA6620 SoC for high-quality amp performance across wireless speakers, soundbars, and networked audio and headphone amplifiers.

Qualcomm's single-chip USB audio SoC platforms are for USB-C connected audio devices, while its Smart Audio Platform offers two SoC options with several software configurations.

"All the existing audio brands out there ... want to offer an Alexa-type of experience with their product," Qualcomm Voice and Music SVP and GM Anthony Murray told ZDNet at the time.

"If you look more broadly across the market for that voice UI, whether manufacturers are building a fridge or even coffee makers, they're also saying they'd like to have Google Home or Alexa support.

"We're going to see some weird and wonderful products coming out with these digital assistant capabilities. Our goal is to make it as easy and robust as possible, so these manufacturers can focus on bringing forward new use cases."

Disclosure: Corinne Reichert travelled to Qualcomm 4G/5G Summit in Hong Kong as a guest of Qualcomm


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