Gearing up for 5G with TowerJazz

By: Dr. amol KalburgeSenior Director RF & HPA Strategic Marketing    |  May 30, 2019 

What is 5G?

Fifth generation, or 5G, is more than an upgrade of your cellular network; it is a paradigm shift in how things will be connected to each other in the future.  Providing much more than faster speeds and more capacity, 5G will enable ultra-reliable and low latency communication (URLLC).  

Today’s 4G networks have network latency of about 30 milliseconds.  Tomorrow’s 5G networks will cut it down to about 1 millisecond!  Such low latency will enable a host of new applications and entirely new industries, that were considered purely in the realm of science fiction not too long ago, e.g., augmented/virtual reality (AR/VR), autonomous driving, and remote medical care/surgery, to name a few.  

TowerJazz 5G blog IMS 2019

5G network architecture will also support massive and universal machine-to-machine communication, connecting billions of sensors and machines securely and reliably, thereby accelerating the proliferation of the internet-of-things to a scale not possible before. Cisco estimates that by 2021, global networks will carry an excess of 20 zettabytes per year (1 ZB = 1021 bytes!). To handle such massive data almost instantaneously, the telecom operators will not only require higher speed fixed wireless and fiber optical communication technologies, but also sophisticated integration of ubiquitous computing and storage architecture. Indeed, 5G will transform the end-to-end network communication paradigm!

How TowerJazz is providing the right gear for 5G?

For nearly two decades, TowerJazz has been bringing to market best-in-class wireless and wireline analog silicon technologies. Our Silicon Germanium (SiGe), Silicon-on-Insulator (SOI), RFCMOS, and MEMS technologies have been used by market leaders to build essential components for the entire end-to-end networking marketspace. It is not a surprise that the same market leaders are turning to us and to these proven platforms to design differentiated 5G products. Indeed, we have significantly enhanced our proven RF and High-Performance Analog (HPA) platforms and fine-tuned our offerings to meet the challenging needs of the various 5G markets.

These technology platforms can be grouped into three broad categories depending on the class of 5G network connectivity: 
(1) Sub-6GHz RF, (2) Millimeter wave (mm-wave) and (3) Wireline optical.

1. Sub-6GHz RF:

Due to overlapping 3G/4G bands with new 5G bands in this narrow congested spectrum, carriers have relied on advanced bandwidth enhancement techniques such carrier aggregation and MIMO, as well as advanced modulation schemes, to add capacity and boost network data rates. As a result, severe demands are placed on silicon RF front-end technologies to deliver high linearity, low insertion loss, low noise, superior power handling and of course, in the smallest possible form factor. Our RF front-end technologies solve 5G challenges as follows:

Sub-6GHz RF Technology Features 

Benefit for 5G

Ultra-low Ron × Coff

Lower insertion Loss and higher Isolation  →  Longer battery life

High power handling

High digital density

Form factor reduction and ease of integration with antenna  →  Enables more functionality per mm2

Superior switch and LNA linearity

Enables advanced carrier aggregation and MIMO    Higher data rates

Ultra-low LNA noise figures

Reduces signal path NF  →  Longer range / cell coverage

Optimal trade-off for LNA integration → Best-in-class SiGe LNA for standalone and SOI LNA for integrated switch/LNA applications 

Advanced integrated passives

On-chip matching  →  Small form factor

Improved antenna tuning    Longer battery Life 

Best-in-class design enablement

1st pass success  →  Fast time to market

2. Millimeter wave (24GHz ~ 100 GHz):

Unlike the sub-6GHz bands, frequency bands in 24GHz ~ 100GHz ranges are far less congested, allowing wider bandwidth and therefore, faster data rates. However, mm-wave signals do not transmit well and far in air and through objects. Therefore, the carriers are deploying sophisticated technologies such as beamforming (phased arrays) and massive MIMO, to direct radiated power in a specific direction without having to excessively increase the transmit power and to reduce dependence on a direct line of sight. TowerJazz’s SiGe Terabit and Advanced RF-SOI platforms, with their ultra-low noise and high output power, are tailored for mm-wave Tx/Rx communications depending on the specific use case or network slice.

mm-wave technology features

Benefit for 5G

High PAE vs. CMOS (in mm-wave bands)

High Tx Power  →  Longer range / cell coverage

Ultra-low LNA noise figure

Best-in-class Noise Figure (NF) at mm-wave  Longer range / cell coverage

Advanced integrated passives

On-chip matching    Small form factor

Improved antenna tuning    Longer battery life

Best-in-class design enablement

1st pass success    Fast time to market

Integrated CMOS 

Low IC cost

3. Wireline Optical:

5G RAN (Radio Access Network) deployment is expected to exponentially increase data rates per cell, requiring more transport capacity for the front/backhaul. The need for low-latency and ultra-reliability will mean bringing more and more computing & storage from cloud and closer to the network edge. As a result, carriers are revamping the entire network architecture and upgrading the aggregation and core networks to 100GbE and then to 400GbE. Regardless of where computing and storage function is performed, this 5G network flexibility is going to increase demand for optical transceiver ports. TowerJazz SiGe Terabit platform has been tailored for this application and has enjoyed > 50% worldwide market share for the 25GbE and 100GbE networks. Our latest SiGe technology node pushes the Ft/Fmax past 300GHz and is being adopted rapidly for 400GbE networks.

Wireline Optical Technology Features

Benefit for 5G

High Ft/Fmax SiGe bipolar transistors

Higher speed optical components    Terabit ethernet

Full CMOS integration

Digital integration at competitive cost    System cost reduction through integration

Advanced integrated passives

On-chip matching  →  Small form factor

Full suite of Silicon Photonics components

Integration of Photonic circuits  Reduced form factor and power consumption as well as reduced upfront cost

Best-in-class design enablement and co-simulation for SiGe and SiPho

1st pass success  →  Fast time to market 

How do I use the TowerJazz 5G gear?

Choosing the right gear (i.e. TowerJazz silicon technologies) is just the first step. We at TowerJazz provide complete technology support to our customers, helping them make the most of our technology capability to best fit their needs. For each of the 5G technologies we offer, we also offer full PDK support, EDA support (including silicon validated IP) and most importantly, best-in-class design support. By leveraging our holistic design enablement approach, you will reduce your time to market with minimal design spins.

What’s next?

The 5G revolution is just beginning and we are in the early innings, but we are not stopping at 5G. Knowing that this market will continue to evolve beyond 5G, we are working on next-generation switch technologies based on MEMS and new materials that will deliver the performance needed for tomorrow’s applications.

TowerJazz team of experts will be at IMS 2019!

Come visit our booth #813 to learn more about these new technologies and our best-in-class design enablement platform.

During the conference, TowerJazz will also present a MicroApp session on:

RF switch design in integrated silicon technologies for 5G and IoT front ends. 

This session will be presented by Dr. Paul Hurwitz and is scheduled for June 6, 2019 | 12:15pm booth #200.

Dr. Amol Kalburge

Senior Director RF & HPA Strategic Marketing

Dr. Amol M Kalburge serves as Sr. Director of Strategic Marketing for TowerJazz and Head of the Automotive Program. He has held various positions of increasing responsibility at Jazz Semiconductor, including Director of Process and R&D Engineering and Manager of Device Technology. 

Read More »

Dr. Amol Kalburge TowerJazz Sr. Director RF and HPA marketing
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x

Tower Semiconductor websites place cookies on your device to give you the best user experience. By using our websites, you agree to the placement of these cookies. Click to Learn more