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RF Integration: Getting It All Together

Phoenix, Arizona June 24, 2008 - The holy grail in wireless ICs is a cost-effective one chip solution. The challenge has been the integration of all digital and analog functions, including RF, on a single SoC. To date, this has only been accomplished for relatively low-power, short-range networks. As the range increases, the amount of transmission power required also increases, requiring separate RF power components (Power Amplifiers, RF Switches and RF Filters). This determines the level of integration that can be achieved. Today, most wireless solutions utilize separate RF components to provide the transmission power required. But things are changing.

Over the next five years, unit shipments for wireless semiconductors for PANs, LANs and WANs will increase at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of more than 20%, much higher than the CAGR for total semiconductor shipments. According to Semico Research Corp. there will be key segments such as WiMAX that will experience over 90% CAGR. That growth prospect is attracting new players who are hoping to get a piece of the action with innovative solutions. These players include large, established manufacturers as well as small, startups.

“The market is ripe for revolutionary change,” says Morry Marshall, Semico Vice President of Emerging Technologies. In a recently completed study called “Front End Integration in Wireless Applications” Marshall provides functional block diagrams to establish baselines for the level of integration provided by alternate solutions available today for Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and WiMAX networks. The study then forecasts the level of integration that will be achieved within the next five years for each of these applications, identifying the areas of opportunities. Marshall argues “The very expensive 45nm and 32nm process technologies are not the only alternatives, there are some disruptive technologies that will pave the way for exciting growth”.

Semico Research Corp. study RF101-08, “Front End Integration in Wireless Applications,” is available for immediate shipment. For more information or a copy of the Table of Contents, please contact Susan Cadel (, 607-368-7600).

Semico Research Corp. is a leading provider of semiconductor market research and custom consulting. Descriptions of other products and services are available at ( or from Semico Research Corp., PO Box 9850, Phoenix AZ 85020.

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