Will Silicon LDMOS High Power RF Devices Drive the Rollout of 5G?

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By Lance Wilson | 3Q 2019 | IN-5572

 

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Now that it is a reality, 5G is starting to build out. Most systems currently being installed are at 5G New Radio (NR) mid-band (1 GHz to 6 GHz). This is more or less a worldwide phenomenon; 4G/Long-Term Evolution (LTE) infrastructure is or will be slowly replaced, although some countries are asking that the older technology infrastructure be replaced before 5G is installed.

Radio Frequency (RF) power semiconductor devices are playing an integral part of this build-out, and there are two competing technologies vying for sockets in 5G base stations: the first is Gallium Nitride (GaN), and the second is Silicon (Si) Laterally Diffused Metal Oxide Semiconductor (LDMOS). The former holds much promise and has the required performance for the new systems, especially at higher frequencies. GaN is relatively new in a volume sense, although its development took about 15 years. Si LDMOS, on the other hand, has been the mainstay in mobile wireless base stations for 25 years.

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