RF tuning switch plus onboard MPU to drive Active Steering RF management

October 07, 2014 // By Graham Prophet
Ethertronics, a technology company working in antenna and RF system solutions has introduced its EtherChip EC459, the first of a line of RF chips that enable Ethertronics’ Active Steering technology.

EC459 is the first device integrating high-performance RF switching and a full-featured microprocessor on a single device. Embedded in the plug-and-play chip are Ethertronics' proprietary algorithm, and communication and control conduits to enable Active Steering, which maximise throughput and reliability in 3G and 4G (LTE and LTE-Advanced) wireless devices. EC459 is designed for a variety of applications including wireless phones, tablets, notebooks, M2M products, the Internet of Things and other wireless devices.

EC459 contains not only the RF switching, which acts as the transducer to adjust the IMD antenna’s pattern, but also the algorithm that samples and switches among the patterns, and adaptively makes the optimal selection. Active Steering provides improvements in data throughput, interference reduction, hand-off between towers, connection reliability and spectral efficiency. Active Steering can provide the benefits of multiple antennas in a small footprint. Ethertronics’ proprietary Active Steering algorithm samples and switches between the multiple radiation patterns, selecting the best one for that specific environment (cell edge versus near cell tower in the case of a cell phone). The technology removes the need to move your phone around in low signal areas in an attempt to get a strong enough signal to connect to the network. In addition to providing benefits for Wide Area Networks (WAN), for WiFi applications, EC459 can significantly enhance throughput at distance and improve coverage.

“Recent trials with Tier One carriers in the US and Europe established that our Active Steering solution is capable of achieving significant spectral efficiency gains of 30% on LTE networks.... ,” said Vahid Manian, COO of Ethertronics. “By combining our EC459 device with an advanced Ethertronics antenna architecture, we are able to provide OEMs with an easy-to-integrate, plug-and-play solution for their devices. What this means is that OEMs don’t need to task their existing operating system or apps processor since EC459 does the job for them.

With an operating frequency of 100 MHz – 3 GHz, EC459 supports