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NXP SiGe Process Delivers Lowest Power Ku-band Downconverters

The highly integrated LNB downconverters, designed for satellite TV receivers, improve system performance, extend product lifetime and reduce manufacturing costs.

NXP Semiconductors has introduced the TFF101xHN, a family of integrated downconverters for use in Low Noise Block (LNB) 10.7-GHz to 12.75-GHz Ku band satellite receiver systems.

Designed for downlink signal reception for TV satellite dishes, NXP’s new family of DVB-S compliant downconverters are claimed to consume 50-percent less current (52 mA) than other integrated solutions, significantly increasing the lifetime of the LNB and improving its reliability.


The new downconverters are the most recent additions to NXP’s portfolio for satellite LNB, including other discrete products such as oscillators, amplifiers and switches, to provide complete coverage for all LNB architectures.

The TFF101xHN family offers simplicity and integration in a leadless 16-pin package with a conversion gain ranging from 37 dB to 45 dB. They also offer integrated phase noise of 1.5 degrees RMS and a low noise figure of 7 dB. Additionally, this high level of integration guarantees the stability of the local oscillator (LO), which improves overall system reliability by eliminating LO drift over lifetime due to temperature changes.

For satellite LNB makers, assembly is also made easy due to the high integration level of functionality and minimum requirement for external components. The TFF101xHN family comes in four fully RF-tested versions with pre-set LO frequencies, which significantly reduces the need for manual adjustments on the production line, speeding up the manufacturing process and time to market, as well as lowering operating costs.

The Low Noise Block downconverter is the device at the front of a parabolic satellite dish antenna that receives the very low level microwave signal from the satellite, amplifies the signal and converts it to a lower frequency band in order to send it down the cable to the indoor receiver. The Ku band (Kurtz-under band) is primarily used for satellite communications, particularly for editing and broadcasting satellite television.

The TFF101xHN family is backed by NXP’s proprietary QUBiC4 SiGe:C processes and RF intellectual property (IP). NXP’s QUBiC4 technology has been widely deployed in the field and is claimed to offer more consistent parameter performance compared to GaAs technology. It speeds the migration from GaAs to silicon and delivers more functionality in less space. High integration reduces the design footprint and enables more cost-competitive designs. It also improves reliability and offers significant savings in manufacturing expenditure.

The small real estate on PCB has a package size of 2.5 x 3.5 x 0.85 mm and has only 7 external components. No inductors are necessary and the single supply domain is 5 V +/-10%. The device requires only a low cost fundamental crystal of only one 25-MHz and it has a high P1dBo and linearity (PL1dBo = 6 dBm / 3OIPo = 15 dBm). Multiple gain types are available (36, 39, 42, 45 dB) and the flat gain over frequency is less than 2 dBpp. The component is input & output matched and has a phase noise of typically 1.5 deg RMS at 10 kHz -13 MHz integration bandwidth.

“The new TFF101xHN downconverters take advantage of our state-of-the-art QuBiC4 SiGe:C technology, offering more functionality in less space, with better performance and lower power consumption than other solutions," said Greg Baker, senior director and manager, RF small signal product line, NXP Semiconductors. “Our RF small signal portfolio based on QuBiC4 enables a wide range of applications from mobile platforms, personal navigation devices, software-defined radio and e-metering, to AESA radars, satellite DBS and VSAT, base stations, point-to-point radio links and WLAN, where high frequency and high integration levels are essential."

“After consultation with satellite LNB makers, we have developed an improved and fully integrated downconverter solution that reduces both power consumption and time to market," said Guido Bekkers, worldwide marketing manager, RF satellite products, NXP Semiconductors. “This level of integration isn’t common in the LNB market, which is dominated by discrete solutions characterised by the chance of LO drift, something which our downconverters completely eliminate. Savings in assembly time also means that the TFF101xHN offers LNB makers a solution with a very low cost of ownership."

The TFF1015 and TFF1017 are available immediately via distributors. The TFF1014 and TFF1018 will be available early October 2011.
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