Startup launches 5G front-end beamforming IC

Startup launches 5G front-end beamforming IC

Technology News |
By Peter Clarke

The chip is dubbed the Summit 2629 and integrates novel power amplifier circuits, low noise amplifiers, transmit/receive switches, beamformers, calibration, gain control, beam table memory, temperature and power telemetry and SPI control for a front-end module for 5G. The chip is designed to use Globalfoundries’ 45nm RFSOI manufacturing process.

The Summit 2629 operates from 26.5GHz to 29.5GHz and is the first of a family of MixComm mmWave devices.

The chip is based on RF design advances made at the CoSMIC Laboratory led by Harish Krishnaswamy, which together with the process technology should yield significant advances over established circuit and module designs.

Krishnaswamy co-founded MixComm in 2017 with Frank Lane, formerly senior director at Flarion Technologies and vice president of technology for Qualcomm. Semiconductor industry veteran Mike Noonen was appointed CEO in 2019. The company also announced it had secured $8.6 million in a Series B funding round led by Kairos Ventures.

The Summit 2629 achieves better than twice the energy efficiency of existing solutions MixComm claims, with a four-element dual polarization capability that supports independent polarization beam directions. Those beam directions can be called up by way of a large beam parameter look up table and the chip supports large scale arrays through multichip addressing modes.

The scalablity of deployment makes the Summit 2629 applicable to gNodeB base stations and repeaters, 5G hotspots and customer premises equipment.

“Over the next several quarters, MixComm will be announcing several more products which will continue to march forward in performance, features and cost,” said Krishnaswamy, who serves MixComm as CTO, in a statement.

The 45RFSOI process is a partially-depleted SOI technology co-developed with the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to accelerate mmWave innovation and enable commercially-viable applications.

“No other company has as much mmWave and RFSOI design and product experience as MixComm,” said Noonen, in the same statement. “Summit’s breakthrough performance and features are a result of that head-start and our deep partnership with Globalfoundries.”

The Summit 2629 will be available for sampling in 2Q20.

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