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LTE Multi-Band Front-End Modules for the Internet of Things

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by Skyworks Solutions, Inc.

In an increasingly connected world, the number of machine to machine connections are forecasted to outpace human connections by 2020. The Internet of Things or “IoT” market is proving to be THE next wave of explosive growth in technology. With expertise in wireless and RF technologies in mobile devices and phones, Skyworks Solutions is well-positioned to capitalize on the opportunities in this ecosystem based on innovative packaging technologies, advanced processes and unparalleled customer support.

Skyworks’ new SKY680xx series LTE multi-band front-end modules are the latest products designed to meet the new demands of emerging IoT applications. These devices are hybrid, multi-band, multi-chip RF front-end (RFFE) modules targeted for low data rate, low Power Wide Area (LPWAN) network applications such as CATM1 and CATNB1 half-duplex system platforms where low standby current, high efficiency and good harmonic rejections are critical for meeting 3GPP Release 13 specifications. These new payload data devices are designed for 10 Kbps–1 Mbps.

Figure 1: SKY68000, SKY68001, SKY68011 front-end IoT Modules

These cost-optimized modules integrate the entire RF front-end necessary for an LTE multi-band radio operation. Meeting new mobile operator requirements, these three new modules share the same PCB footprint for easy design-in with great versatility.  Their application-specific design also reduces front-end complexity and cost.

All operations for this series of FEMs can be programmed via the MIPI® register commands. Different power levels and gain modes in transmit (Tx) mode can be set to meet various baseband transceivers output power level requirements. This flexibility greatly benefits the dynamic range of the entire transceiver for IoT applications with either strong signals or very weak signals.


SKY68000-21 Dual-band LTE Front-end IoT Module

The high-performance SKY68000-21 module includes Band 4 and 13 Receive (Rx) SAW filters, dual-band (low-band and mid-band) power amplifiers (PAs) with bias controller, Tx low-pass harmonic filter, antenna switch and MIPI® RF front-end controller. The SAW filter’s superior performance provides low insertion loss and high out-of-band rejection making this device ideal for meeting the most stringent network requirements. The Tx low pass filter is also optimized for the best harmonic and GPS band noise performance.

Figure 2: Dual-band LTE CATM1/NB1 module.

Parameter

Test Condition

Typical

Unit

Band coverage

Down Link:

LB

MB

746-756

2110-2155

MHz

Up link:

LB

MB

777-787

1710-1755

Output Power

LB/MB

24

dBm

Supply Current, Tx

LB/MB

300

mA

Gain

LB/MB

27

dB

Power-Added-Efficiency (PAE)

LB/MB

27

%

Harmonic

LB

MB

-55

-45

dBm/MHz

Adjacent-Channel-Leakage –Rejection (ACLR)

LB

MB

37

35

dBc

Noise in GPS Band

LB

MB

-155

-135

dBm/MHz

Insertion Loss, Rx

LB

MB

2.3

2.2

dB

Out of band rejection, Rx

LB

MB

35~45

30~40

dB

Leakage Current

Sleep mode

0.4

uA

Table 1: The key parameters of SKY68000 module are shown in this table. Supply Voltage = 3.1V, Pout = 24dBm@ antenna port, 1.4MHz/6RB LTE signal.


SKY68001-21 Universal LTE Front-end IoT Module

The cost optimized SKY68001-21 module includes a broadband low pass filter on the receive side, a dual-band PA with bias controller, Tx low-pass harmonic filter, antenna switch and MIPI® RFFE controller. The broadband low pass filter covers the entire LTE LB and MB for universal LTE CATM1/NB1 band coverage. The RFFE also provides two additional auxiliary ports, which can be used for additional Tx and Rx paths such as 2G fallback support, an additional LTE band, or an external GPS receiver.

Figure 3: Dual-band LTE CATM1/NB1 module

Parameter

Test Condition

Typical

Unit

Band coverage

Down Link:

LB

MB

729-960

1805-2170

MHz

Up link:

LB

MB

699-915

1710-1980

Output Power

LB/MB

24

dBm

Supply Current

LB

MB

290

370

mA

Gain

LB

MB

28

27

dB

Power-Added-Efficiency (PAE)

LB

MB

28

22

%

2nd Harmonic

LB/MB

-40

dBm/MHz

Adjacent-Channel-Leakage –Rejection (ACLR)

LB/MB

36

dBc

Noise in GPS Band

LB

MB

-145

-135

dBm/MHz

Insertion Loss, Rx

LB

MB

2.2

23

dB

Out of band rejection, Rx

LB

MB

30~45

25~45

dB

Leakage Current

Sleep mode

0.4

uA

Table 2: The key parameters of SKY68001 module are shown in this table. Supply Voltage = 3.1V, Pout = 24dBm@ antenna port, 1.4MHz/6RB LTE signal.


SKY68011-21 LTE Front-end IoT Module

The highly integrated SKY68011-21 module includes a Low Band 12,13,17 filter and Band 2,66 Rx filters, a dual-band power amplifier with bias controller, Tx low-pass harmonic filter, antenna switch and MIPI® RFFE controller. One additional auxiliary port can be used to support external path for flexibility. It can also be used for GSM path adds-on in case where 2G compatibility is required.

Figure 4: Dual-band LTE CATM1/NB1 module

Parameter

Test Condition

Typical

Unit

Band coverage

Down Link:

LB

MB1

MB2

729-756

1930-1995

2110-2200

MHz

Up link:

LB

MB

699-798

1710-1980

Output Power

LB/MB

24

dBm

Supply Current

LB/MB

300

mA

Gain

LB

MB

28

26

dB

Power-Added-Efficiency (PAE)

LB@749 MHz

MB@1845 MHz

28

26

%

2nd Harmonic

LB/MB

-40

dBm/MHz

Adjacent-Channel-Leakage –Rejection (ACLR)

LB/MB

34

dBc

Noise in GPS Band

LB/MB

-135

dBm/MHz

Insertion Loss, Rx

LB

MB1/MB2

2.2

1.9/2.2

dB

Out of band rejection, Rx

LB

MB

30~40

25~45

dB

Leakage Current

Sleep mode

0.4

uA

Table 3: The key parameters of SKY68011 module are shown in this table. Supply Voltage = 3.1V, Pout = 24dBm@ antenna port, 1.4MHz/6RB LTE signal.


Summary

The SKY680xx series IoT modules demonstrate a high level of integration with multiple critical RF front-end components in a compact package. Their excellent low current, low noise and high efficiency meet requirements for today’s most demanding IoT applications. Please consult Skyworks for programming guide details.

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