Ethertronics’ New EtherChip 2.0 with Ether Switch & Tune Enables Global Roaming

Tue, 07/23/2013 - 3:17pm


Provides quick time-to-market advantage with superior performance for smartphone, tablet, M2M, and Internet of Things (IoT) devices to equipment manufacturers

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – May 13, 2013 – Ethertronics, a leading technology company enabling innovative antenna and RF system solutions to deliver the best connected experience, has unveiled the latest addition to its EtherChip line of RF silicon chips – EtherChip 2.0. Available for immediate integration by OEMs, EtherChip 2.0 is designed to add “smarts” to antenna and RF systems to deliver optimal connectivity and performance for wireless devices.

EtherChip 2.0 incorporates Ethertronics’ patented IMD technology with dynamic Impedance Matching and Band Switching by combining two tunable capacitors and a four-port switch within a very small form factor; leaving ample room and design flexibility within the device for other components. EtherChip 2.0 provides more degrees of freedom and flexibility for device designers.

Like Ethertronics’ flagship EtherChip 1.0 product, EtherChip 2.0 takes Ethertronics even further into the RF front end system, and is a critical step toward enabling a smarter AFEM (Antenna Front End Module) for cost-effective, efficient and scalable solutions. This is critical given that the space available for the RF front end gets squeezed each year forcing component vendors to reduce the number of RF components and overall footprint. In addition, EtherChip 2.0 enables carrier aggregation with high efficiency, especially to meet the requirements of intra- and inter-band aggregation for LTE Advanced standard specifications, as it is able to access two or more bands simultaneously.

“The growth of 4G and consumer desire for feature-packed wireless devices, have led to the need for larger batteries and displays, and consequently little room for RF components such as antennas and chips. As a result, there’s no question that the only way to accommodate these trends is through re-architecting the RF front end,” said Laurent Desclos, president and CEO at Ethertronics. “Ethertronics is leading the charge with products like EtherChip 2.0. By leveraging our expertise in active antennas and RF systems, we have been able to bring to market a powerful solution that elegantly combines a switch and two tunable capacitors into a single architecture. OEMs now have a single solution to integrate into their designs bringing more smarts to their wireless devices, providing optimal wireless connectivity across global 2G, 3G and 4G (LTE) bands, and speeding up their time-to-market. OEMs will find real value in EtherChip 2.0 and mobile users will reap the performance benefits it provides.”

EtherChip 2.0 utilizes three of Ethertronics’ core active technologies – Air InteRFace Digital Conditioning (AIRFDC), Active Impedance Matching and Band Switching. EtherChip 2.0 is able to quickly tune to a frequency band and then fine tune the antenna for optimal efficiency, since:

  • Active Band Switching meets LTE’s multiple band challenge in that it is able to cover more than 13 bands (especially low digital dividend bands) for LTE global roaming, given its ability to handle significant spreads in bands, from the low 700MHz U.S. bands to 2.7GHz, Active Band.
  • AIRFDC provides tuning capacitance and can 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.
  • Active Impedance Matching reduces the antenna’s physical volume by up to 50% without compromising performance, which is critical, especially as additional antennas are integrated into the device and the battery size continues to grow. This technique can also be used to cover a wider bandwidth in the same antenna volume.

By combining all three techniques, EtherChip 2.0 enables OEMs to speed up time-to-market and allow more degrees of freedom in the antenna structure design phase.

EtherChip 2.0 measures 3.00 x 3.00 x 0.45 mm and is able to cover one frequency or a wide range of frequencies – from 100 MHz to 3 GHz – including 2G, 3G and 4G cellular as well as Bluetooth, ISM, WiFi and ZigBee.

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