LTE Low Noise Amplifiers offer improved data rates for smartphones

January 27, 2014 // By Graham Prophet
Infineon Technologies has introduced a new series of LTE Low Noise Amplifiers (LNA) and Quad LNA banks specially designed to enhance the data rate in smartphones, with up to 96% greater data rates compared to designs that do not use LNAs.

LTE (or 4G) allows for data rates up to 300 Mbit/sec – compared to 56 Mbit/sec in the latest UMTS (3G) release. Meeting user expectations for high data rates in LTE is challenging in today’s mobile devices. The increasing complexity of the RF front end results in the usage of more RF components (e.g. switches, diplexers and dividers). This leads to increasing losses over the whole system and deterioration of the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). Furthermore, the distance between antennas and the RF transceiver leads to additional line losses that also negatively affect SNR and consequently also data rate.

Infineon’s BGA7x1N6 and BGM7xxxx4L12 families provide low noise figure, the exact gain and high linearity needed to help smartphone designers overcome these challenges. The products are based on the company’s advanced SiGe (Silicon Germanium) chip technology and include built-in ESD protection.

The new LNAs and LNA banks are located in both the diversity and main antenna path of the phone, in order to increase system sensitivity and assure the best possible user experience. They allow for data rates that are up to 96% higher than in solutions without LNAs to fully exploit the potential of LTE. High linearity of the new device series assures optimal signal reception even in conditions of poorly isolated antenna and long line losses between antenna and transceiver. The typical sensitivity improvement of 3.4 dB compared to systems without LNAs is achieved in devices with a package size 70% smaller (1.1 x 0.7 mm) than previously available LNAs and 61% smaller (1.9 x 1.1mm) than previously available LNA banks.

Infineon offers three LTE LNAs and seven Quad LNA bank families in TSNP-6-2 or TSLP 12-4 plastic packages to address the required band configurations for different world regions. Each letter in the series denotes a different frequency band (L for the low, 0.7 to 1.0 GHz band; M for mid, 1.7 to 2.2 GHz band; and H for high,