pSemi: World’s First Monolithic SOI Wi-Fi FEM


pSemi (formerly Peregrine, now a Murata company) has staked its claim for having the world’s first monolithic SOI Wi-Fi front-end module (FEM)—the PE561221. This 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi FEM is the first to integrate a low-noise amplifier (LNA), a power amplifier (PA) and two RF switches (SP4T, SP3T) on a single SOI CMOS die. pSemi says it’s ideal for Wi-Fi home gateways, routers and set-top boxes (read the full press release here).

Driving this is the new WiFi standard, IEEE 802.11ax, which launches next year. While it’s largely meant to tackle issues with WiFi in crowded places, it’s also going to be welcome in high-demand home situations. (There’s a good piece on the NetworkWorld site on what 802.11ax will do compared to the current 802.11ac – you can read it here).

The PE561221 uses a smart bias circuit to deliver a high linearity signal and excellent long-packet EVM performance. (Courtesy: pSemi)

With new standards come new challenges. pSemi explains their PE561221 uses a smart bias circuit to deliver a high linearity signal and excellent long-packet error vector magnitude (EVM) performance.

“Traditional process technologies struggle to keep up with both performance and integration requirements, and only SOI can offer the ideal combination of integration and high performance,” says Colin Hunt, vice president of worldwide sales at pSemi.

The monolithic die uses a compact 16-pin, 2 x 2 mm LGA package ideal for either stand-alone use or in 4 x 4 MIMO and 8 x 8 MIMO modules. It is based on pSemi’s UltraCMOS® technology platform—a patented, advanced form of SOI that offers superior performance compared to other mixed-signal processes. UltraCMOS technology also enables intelligent integration, notes pSemi—the unique design ability to integrate RF, digital and analog components on a single die.

Volume-production parts and samples of the PE561221 are now available from pSemi. And this is just the beginning: while the PE561221 is the first product in the pSemi Wi-Fi FEM portfolio, the product roadmap includes 5 GHz Wi-Fi FEM solutions.

The folks at pSemi have been doing RF-SOI for 30 years now, and recently shipped their 4 billionth chip. For the last five years, they’ve partnered with GlobalFoundries.