Tower makes 12Gbps 5G transceiver for UCSD

March 06, 2017 // By Peter Clarke
Specialty foundry Tower Semiconductor Ltd., which trades as TowerJazz, has worked with the University of California San Diego (UCSD), to demonstrate a 5G phased-array chipset that operate at greater than 12Gbps.

Peak wireless data rates for 4G LTE can be up to 1 Gbps, but are typically around 100 to 300 Mbps. Tower and UCSD have demonstrated more than 10x those speeds using the UCSD 5G next-generation mobile designs made with Tower's H3 silicon-germanium BiCMOS manufacturing process.

The chipset is designed to operate with a 28 to 31GHz carrier frequency. At 12Gbps it represents a more than 10x improvement in data rate compared with 4G LTE. The chipset also meets other technical specification requirements of the emerging 5G standard.

The 5G transmit and receive chipsets achieved data rates of more than 12Gbps at 30 meters separation, and greater than 3 Gbps when separated by 300 meters, using two polarizations.  The UCSD chip utilizes 16-64-256 QAM schemes to achieve these data rates. In addition, the 4 by 8 phased-arrays use SiGe core chips and are assembled on a multi-layer printed-circuit board together with the antennas.

"We continue to release additional technology nodes, e.g. our H5 and H6, which have even lower noise devices and higher speed capabilities. These technologies will enable 5G designers to further increase data rates through higher QAM modulation schemes, or shrink chip sizes and increase the distance over which these 5G chips can perform," said David Howard, executive director and TowerJazz Fellow, in a statement.

The FCC announced in July 2016 plans to provide licensed spectra around 28GHz and at 37-40GHz and an unlicensed band at 64-71GHz in advance of the production of 5G standards. 5G data rates are expected to be in the range 1 to 10 Gbps, compared to the 4G standards in the range 100 Mbps up to 1 Gbps.

In the United States mobile service provider Verizon Communications Inc. has said it will achieve some level of commercialization using the 28GHz band in 2017.

Related links and articles:

www.towersemi.com

www.ece.ucsd.edu

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