Sunday, April 14, 2024

Integrated Chip For 4G/5G Radio Units

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The platform optimizes 4G/5G Open RAN radio units, enabling applications, reducing power and costs, and simplifying development with technologies.


MaxLinear, Inc. has launched the MXL17xxx family of devices (“Sierra”), an SoC optimized for 4G/5G Open Radio Access Network (RAN) radio units (RU). Sierra supports various RU applications, including traditional macro, massive MIMO, picocell, and all-in-one small cells.

Sierra’s integration results in a high-performance RU building block with low power consumption and implementation cost. This reduces the need for multiple FPGAs/ASICs and simplifies new O-RU development. Designers can quickly create new macro and picocell O-RUs using one Sierra device with an appropriate RF front end. Massive MIMO O-RUs can be built by tiling an array of Sierra devices and connecting them to a central beamforming solution, maximizing design reuse and speeding up development.

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Sierra’s core technology is MaxLIN, MaxLinear’s DPD solution for wideband power amplifier linearization, supporting up to 400MHz of occupied bandwidth. MaxLIN exceeds 3GPP and FCC emissions requirements while delivering high PA efficiency, minimizing RU energy consumption, and reducing weight and cost. It supports various PA architectures, technologies, and power levels for all potential RU applications. OEMs can also implement their own DPD using Sierra’s on-chip compute resources.

Sierra’s RF transceiver features a low-power wideband Zero-IF (ZIF) architecture, supporting 8 transmitters (TX) and 8 receivers (RX) with 2 feedback receivers (FBRX). Each RX handles signal bandwidths up to 400MHz, while each TX and FBRX supports up to 900MHz. It can operate in 8T8R single-band or 2 x 4T4R multi-band configurations.

Sierra supports an O-RAN fronthaul Split Option 7.2x Category A interface with up to four 10 or 25 Gbit/s Ethernet interfaces.

“Infrastructure vendors have been waiting for an open-market silicon solution that can enable them to develop O-RUs without compromising on performance or cost,” said Sean Martin, Senior Director of Wireless Infrastructure. By integrating our highest-performance RF and system technologies in Sierra, MaxLinear is empowering these radio vendors to rapidly and cost-effectively develop new O-RUs with reduced size, weight, and power consumption.”

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