So much of what is talked about surrounding 5G connectivity has been focused on the download side of the network. While it is true that there are ever-evolving improvements to pump data from the cell tower to the devices faster such as carrier aggregation, higher order modulation and 4x4 MIMO, little attention has been paid to improving the uplink channel [from device to network]. Within the 3GPP Release 15 [which marked the official launch of 5G New Radio (NR)], a key design requirement of the new wireless standard calls for the implementation of MIMO on both network and devices. For example, 5G smartphones using the globally common TDD band N78 (3.5GHz), will be required to have 4x4 MIMO connectivity and fast antenna switches to perform SRS (Sounding Reference Signal) built within the 5G RFFE . The reliance of wider bandwidths of higher frequencies in 5G NR has forced the design decision to implement download enhancements [as RF propogation becomes more challenged as radio wavelengths decrease]. This inherent physical limitation of path loss dictates the use of massive MIMO antennas on the network infrastructure side as well as 4x4 MIMO on the device. In this article, we will discuss how this new 5G RFFE design challenge means for the RF components ecosystem; specifically, the additional use of PAMiFs (power amplifier module with integrated filters).
The Analyst Team
Principal Analyst, Mobile Devices & Networks
Wayne Lam is principal analyst within the wireless communications team and is responsible for research related to the market tracking, forecast and supply chain analysis of mobilized devices.
Prior to joining the wireless group, Wayne served as a hardware analyst within the renowned IHS Teardown Services team, focusing on mobile handset designs. Wayne began his career as a process engineer at Intel Corp., starting with the 0.25um process technology through to the 300mm wafer manufacturing transition. He later took on the role of technical consultant at Symbian Inc., pioneering there in the smartphone operating systems space with leading handset OEMs.
More recently, Wayne has worked with firms like Qualcomm and Aerovironment in developing new business models and opportunities after graduating from business school. His research has been featured in various articles in major newspapers and magazines, such as The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg/BusinessWeek, and The Economist.
Wayne graduated with an MBA from the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California (USC). He also earned two engineering degrees from Cornell University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
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