Carrier-grade Wi-Fi switch cuts power and footprint

August 27, 2014 // By Jean-Pierre Joosting
Peregrine Semiconductor has introduced the UltraCMOS® PE42424 high-isolation, SPDT switch optimized for 802.11ac carrier and enterprise Wi-Fi access points. Successor to last year's groundbreaking PE42423, the upgraded switch is 75 percent smaller and features a 60-percent increase in power handling and a 350-percent faster switching speed.

The PE42424 is ideally suited for transmit/receive switching applications for outdoor Wi-Fi access points that require high power handling and rugged, high-temperature performance. Peregrine's RF switch enables these WLAN products to realize the promise of 802.11ac, which is offering high data throughput in increasingly dense, bring-your-own-device (BYOD) environments.

Carriers have been experiencing an exponential increase in mobile data traffic. To provide consistent quality of service, they are offloading this traffic to Wi-Fi networks, which are increasingly integrating 802.11ac into their small cells. Indoor units (IDUs) were the first Wi-Fi access points to adopt the 802.11ac standard, and Peregrine's inaugural Wi-Fi switch, the PE42423, was optimized for high performance within those devices. Today, outdoor unit (ODU) Wi-Fi access points are quickly adopting the 802.11ac standard, and their performance and environmental requirements are much more intensive. Peregrine developed the PE42424 to meet these specific 802.11ac-based ODU access point needs:

  1. High power handling of 8W to accommodate the higher transmit power of the access-point radios;
  2. Fast switching speed of 145 ns to enable higher throughput and data rates in high-density, BYOD environments;
  3. High port-to-port isolation to reduce signal leakage between transmit and receive paths;
  4. Temperature support up to 105°C to withstand harsh environments and to reduce thermal constraints;
  5. Small 1.5x1.5 mm footprint to reduce board area and offer engineers more design options for other functions.

"Peregrine is extending its Wi-Fi RF switch line to address the tough challenges faced by designers of next-generation 802.11ac access points," says Kinana Hussain, senior marketing manager. "Our UltraCMOS technology and patented design techniques preserve the unmatched isolation performance of PE42424's predecessor while increasing the power-handling capability, improving switching speeds and reducing the form factor."

Peregrine's PE42424 supports the latest carrier-grade, Wi-Fi device demands with additional features, including:

  1. High linearity of 61 dBm IIP3 over the entire power-supply range; this capability enables system designs with lower supply rails and prevents linearity degradation through maximum power levels;
  2. High ESD