Mobile communication technology has now become ubiquitous – there are over seven billion mobile connections globally (according to GSMA), and it is expected that 64 percent of the world’s population will be covered by 4G-LTE networks by the end of 2020.
The demand for mobile data is huge – with peaks in data consumption as demonstrated at major events like the Super Bowl in the USA, and the London 2012 Olympics, where the need for improved up link communication has been noticed. Users expect their mobile devices, tablets or other connected devices to be able to upload and download videos, connect to social media, watch mobile TV, and always be connected so that access to these services is available at any time.
The technologies which serve this market are also evolving at a rapid pace. Mobile handsets are becoming lighter, more attractive and highly compact. Technical advancements include enhanced connectivity functionality such as GPS, WiFi, Bluetooth, digital TV, multimedia and specialized operating systems. The introduction of new 4G wireless standards (LTE FDD and LTE TDD) dictates the need for multi-band, multi-mode mobile handsets which allow compatibility with the existing 2G and 3G infrastructure (GSM/EDGE, CDMA, TD-SCDMA and WCDMA).
These handsets must also support roaming needs for extended connectivity with regional specific allocation of frequency-bands.
One of the key components in enabling high speed data access and multiple band connectivity is the RF technology. Manufacturers of RF Front-End modules face many challenges to address the expanding frequency bandwidths (noticeably at 3.5GHz) and the need for higher data rate speed. They need to meet the user’s performance requirements while keeping costs down and ensuring acceptable battery life.