Based on its recent analysis of the market for radio frequency front-end module (RF FEM) solution for wireless communication, Frost & Sullivan recognizes RFaxis, Inc. with the 2014 North American Frost & Sullivan Award for Technology Innovation Leadership. RFaxis leveraged its intensely researched single-chip/single-die RF Front-end Integrated Circuit (RFeIC) architecture to develop unique RF front-end solutions for wireless communications. These innovative solutions, which combine superior performance capabilities with affordability, also prove to be ideal alternatives to conventional gallium arsenide (GaAs) solutions.
RF front-end solutions are traditionally built by embedding active and passive multiple components on a substrate using GaAs, a compound semiconductor material. The hybrid integration of passive and active compounds forms a multi-chip RF FEM, resulting in a large package size and bigger footprint on the printed circuit board (PCB). However, with the semiconductor industry for wireless communication moving from bulky, multiple integrated chips to leaner, single chips, RFaxis’ RFeIC solutions are gaining prominence for being highly integrated on a single silicon-based chip.
Frost & Sullivan’s research confirms that RFaxis has succeeded in developing the world’s first single-chip/single-die integrated circuit architecture based purely on standard complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) technology. Its quality and performance are comparable with GaAs-based RF front-end solutions, while its cost structure, thermal conductivity and ruggedness are far superior.
“Apart from reducing the time to design and market, RF front-end level of integration offers device manufacturers a very simple solution that can be implemented as a plug and play,” said Frost & Sullivan Sr. Research Analyst Swapnadeep Nayak. “RFaxis’ technology helps OEMs reduce their product development cycles to as low as a few weeks, while competing solutions take months. It satisfies every performance criterion set forth by component manufacturers and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).”
Unlike CMOS, GaAs is a niche domain, which does not have adequate foundry capacity to meet the global demand from the semiconductor industry and OEMs. Migrating to CMOS technology lowers the strain on the supply chain, which helps device manufacturers cope with demands from the industry. RFaxis’ technology offers substantial price reduction in comparison to incumbent solutions. It also helps system-on-chip (SoC) vendors and OEMs integrate the company’s solutions with other modules.
Frost & Sullivan’s comparison of all RF Front-end solutions clearly shows that RFaxis is among the few participants that integrate the key RF front-end components of power amplifiers (PA), low noise amplifiers (LNA), and switches into a CMOS SoC. Such a high degree of integration has a direct bearing on RF front-end innovations for the wireless local area network (WLAN), long term evolution (LTE/4G), and Machine-To-Machine (M2M) communications markets.
RFaxis’ technology powers a wide range of application segments that use wireless communication as a key platform, the main ones being broadband (gateways, set-top boxes, video streaming applications), mobile devices (smartphones), and the Internet of things (IoT). RFaxis is also looking at the smart TV and remote control segments to transform them from mere devices to gadgets that perform functions, such as music and video streaming.
“The wireless application ecosystem is evolving with the advent of Zigbee, 4G, near field communication, and the IoT, and RFaxis’ technology helps OEMs ease into this transition by helping wireless communication devices perform faster,” noted Nayak. “Frost & Sullivan’s benchmarking shows that RFaxis is efficiently extending the range of wireless communication applications through its RFeIC solutions without increasing the form factor or cost.”
Each year, Frost & Sullivan presents this award to the company that has demonstrated uniqueness in developing and leveraging new technologies, which significantly impacts both the functionality and the customer value of the new products and applications. The award lauds the high R&D spend towards innovation, its relevance to the industry, and the positive impact on brand perception.
Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognize companies in a variety of regional and global markets for demonstrating outstanding achievement and superior performance in areas such as leadership, technological innovation, customer service, and strategic product development. Industry analysts compare market participants and measure performance through in-depth interviews, analysis, and extensive secondary research in order to identify best practices in the industry.