RF chip targets optimal connectivity in front end modules

August 22, 2012 // By Nicolas Mokhoff
Ethertronics’ chip division has leveraged its AIRFDC technology into the EtherChip 1.0 chip, the first in a series of building blocks for RF front-end modules used in smart phones.

The company's Air InteRFace Digital Conditioning technology provides tuning capacitance to seamlessly adjust the characteristics of a cellular antenna to its dynamic requirements, such as retuning for frequency shift, hand or head effects, or more bandwidth.

EtherChip 1.0 supports the ability to compensate for the de-tuning of the antenna system due to hand and head effects, a common phenomenon in all mobile devices. The range of de-tuning varies and the company claims its solution adapts to support high quality voice, video, or data.

Ethertronics anticipates that with each year the space available for the RF front end in systems and devices decreases by 25 percent resulting eventually in the entire front end needing to reside in the space once occupied solely by the antenna.

“We are excited to unveil this innovative new solution that adds more smarts to wireless devices within a form factor that will competitively differentiate OEMs for their next-generation 4G and 3G devices,” said Laurent Desclos, president and CEO at Ethertronics

EtherChip 1.0 is the first commercially available IC from the company's chip division. Its antenna division addresses module customers, and a systems division focuses on active antenna solutions and related algorithms for next-generation 3G and 4G networks.

The company's patented Isolated Magnetic Dipole (IMD) technology for both passive and active antennas designs is a method by which current is confined solely to the antenna element, which significantly reduces energy loss due to interference with surrounding components, thus delivering a much more efficient antenna (see figure below comparing current intensity level of the IMD antenna to a commonly used embedded Planar Inverted F Antenna).

Source: Ethertronics

The chip is available for immediate integration by OEMs. A white paper on the Air InteRFace Processing System technology is here.