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Eta Devices` GaN power amplifier doubles efficiency

The gallium nitride device slashes operators' greenhouse gas emissions and utility bills for mobile base stations
Eta Devices has announced the availability of what it claims is the world's most efficient power amplifier for mobile base stations.

The device, grown using a new patented technology exploitsthe extreme performance capabilities of GaN switching power amplifiers, advanced supply modulation and digital pre-distortion algorithms.

"Our power amplifier architecture brings real sustainability to the world's mobile operators," says Mattias Åström, Eta Devices' co-founder and CEO. "We deliver 70 percent drain efficiency for 4G LTE - an industry first. By deploying our solution, base station efficiency is doubled compared to current state-of-the-art technology, which saves a tremendous amount of power."

Eta Devices, a spin-off from the electrical engineering department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), first demonstrated its new power amplifier technology at the 2013 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February.

"Until today, mobile operators have not been able to build genuinely sustainable mobile networks," said Joel Dawson, MIT professor and Eta Devices co-founder and chief technology officer.

He continues, "They have had no choice other than to focus on relatively minor sustainability initiatives such as changing the vehicle fleet to improve fuel economy, office recycling and substituting some flights with video conferences. While commendable, these initiatives have not touched on the operators' core business of running mobile networks and as a result the impact has been relatively minor. But, there's a new game in town. Operators can now double the efficiency of their mobile networks and realise substantial reductions in power usage, resulting in a major reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, and at the same time huge cost savings from using less power."

On a global level, mobile networks consume approximately 120TWh of electricity per year.

"If Eta Devices' solution is deployed on a worldwide basis by mobile operators, it would result in a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to taking more than 7 million cars off the road," explains Åström. "It would also save mobile operators $18 billion per year in utility costs thereby paying for the replacement many times over."

Eta Devices, a fabless semiconductor company headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, uses a disruptive technology which significantly reduces power consumption and the size of handsets. What's more, battery life is considerably increased and multiband communications can be enabled at a fraction of the cost and footprint; this makes it possible to use a single LTE handset model all over the world.

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