Peregrine’s carrier-grade Wi-Fi switch handles more power in less space

August 27, 2014 // By Graham Prophet
With a claimed 60% increase in power handling and a 75% smaller footprint, the UltraCMOS PE42424 RF switch enables 802.11ac Wi-Fi access points to deliver faster data rates in high-density, BYOD environments

Peregrine Semiconductor's UltraCMOS PE42424 high-isolation, SPDT switch optimised for 802.11ac carrier and enterprise Wi-Fi access points is the successor to the PE42423; the upgraded switch is 75% smaller and features a 60% increase in power handling; and a 350% faster switching speed. The PE42424 is suited for transmit/receive switching applications for outdoor Wi-Fi access points that require high power handling and rugged, high-temperature performance. Peregrine’s RF switch enables these WLAN products to realise the promise of 802.11ac, which is offering high data throughput in increasingly dense, bring-your-own-device (BYOD) environments.

The chip is a single-pole double throw (SPDT) RF switch with fast switching time (145 nsec with a 125 kHz switching rate) and exceptional isolation (48 dB at 2.4 GHz and 35 dB at 6 GHz). Coverage is 100 MHz to 6 GHz. The 50Ω absorptive switch supports +1.8V standard logic control and provides stable RF performance over a power supply range between 2.3V and 5.5V. The device, says Peregrine, gives Wi-Fi access points the fastest switching time and highest isolation in a small form factor.

Carriers have been experiencing an exponential increase in mobile data traffic. To provide consistent quality of service, they are offloading this traffic to Wi-Fi networks, which are increasingly integrating 802.11ac into their small cells. Indoor units (IDUs) were the first Wi-Fi access points to adopt the 802.11ac standard, and Peregrine’s inaugural Wi-Fi switch, the PE42423, was optimised for high performance within those devices. Today, outdoor unit (ODU) Wi-Fi access points are quickly adopting the 802.11ac standard, and their performance and environmental requirements are much more intensive.

Peregrine developed the PE42424 to meet these specific 802.11ac-based ODU access point needs:

High power handling of 8W to accommodate the higher transmit power of the access-point radios (30 dBm CW,39 dBm pulsed).

Fast switching speed of 145 nsec to enable higher throughput and data rates in high-density, BYOD environments

High port-to-port isolation to reduce signal leakage between transmit