30 Jun 2017

Switches enable “Smart” tuning in 4G tunable antenna

Peregrine Semiconductor, founder of RF SOI (silicon on insulator) and specialist in advanced RF solutions, has announced that Monarch Antenna is using UltraCMOS PE613010 tuning-control switches in its latest prototype—a compact 4G tunable antenna.

Monarch Antenna—a spinout of Delphi Automotive Systems, selected the PE613010 switch to showcase the “smart” switching capabilities of self-structuring antenna (SSA) technology in mobile handsets. Patented SSA technology is the culmination of 15 years of R&D, and initial prototypes show superior performance compared to existing antenna solutions. Monarch’s 4G tunable antenna delivers a high signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), which translates into end-user benefits of better connectivity, faster downloads and longer battery life.

“To fully demonstrate the advanced tuning capabilities of SSA technology, our team needed to find an SPST switch with low on-state resistance,” says Tayfun Ozdemir, Ph.D., co-founder and chief technology officer of Monarch Antenna. “Our engineers had a long list of desired technical specifications, and Peregrine’s PE613010 was the only switch on the market that could meet our performance demands. Thanks to Peregrine’s RF switches, Monarch’s 4G tunable antenna demonstrates a clear advantage in antenna tunability and efficiency.”

For their 4G tunable antenna, Monarch selected a bare-die version of Peregrine’s PE613010 switch to minimize parasitic effects and to enable reliable and efficient tuning across the 700-800 MHz frequency range. Inside a mobile handset, the antenna is controlled by a baseband processor, which tunes to a particular channel or searches through tuning states to recover from detuning. In Monarch’s antenna, three Peregrine switches provide eight (23=8) tuning states, and each state provides communication over a channel 15 MHz wide. The narrow-band nature of Monarch’s tunable antenna also makes it more efficient than a passive-antenna counterpart covering the entire 700-800 MHz band. In addition, the low on-state resistance (RON) of Peregrine's UltraCMOS switches leads to high radiation efficiency of the antenna.

“In talking with Monarch, it quickly became evident that Peregrine’s PE613010 switch would be an ideal fit for their 4G tunable antenna design,” says Colin Hunt, vice president of worldwide sales at Peregrine Semiconductor. “Peregrine manufactures phenomenal switches, and it is always exciting to see our switches designed into advanced systems—like Monarch’s SSA system—that are clearly on the forefront of innovation.”

SSA is a disruptive antenna technology enabling 3G and 4G devices to deliver richer content over a multitude of protocols and to offer higher mobility. SSA continuously monitors the RF signal and adjusts its configuration to increase signal strength and maximize the SNR. This adjustment is accomplished through continuous "smart" switching/selection of a "set" of antenna combinations through its feedback loop. SSA not only simplifies the antenna design process, but it also counteracts some of the compromises, which had to be introduced due to packaging.

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