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Triquint broadcasts high Wi-Fi hopes for GaAs

When it comes to GaAs demand, the 802.11n standard can be to wireless networking what 3G has been to mobile phones, says Triquint's CEO.

As its high-performance GaAs process grabs it a breakthrough deal for Wi-Fi, Triquint Semiconductor is talking up this market as the next big thing for GaAs.

According to Triquint s CEO, Ralph Quinsey, the increased data transmission rates promised by the emerging 802.11n standard will demand more GaAs per Wi-Fi-enabled device.

“Third generation handset architectures increased the amount of RF content in the solution,” he said, speaking to investors on January 9. “The same type of impact is happening in the 802.11 wireless LAN market, so again GaAs content, in this case largely for computers or PDAs, is increasing.”

The deal with a major chip maker rests on module-size reduction that allows three of the Hillsboro, Oregon, company s modules to fit in the final Wi-Fi front end assembly.

“Where you used to have one pipe for data into a laptop computer now you ll have up to three pipes, in a multiple input, multiple output (MIMO) solution,” Quinsey explained. “That will give you better quality of service or more bandwidth for driving data in and out of the application.”

Triquint s E/D PHEMT GaAs process means that the power amplifier, switch, low noise amplifier and bias network/controller can all be fabricated on the same die.

According to Quinsey, this integration positions his company well to take advantage of continuing trends in the Wi-Fi chipmaking industry.

“The market has transitioned to systems-in-a-package, [and] away from discrete power amplifiers, discrete LNAs, and discrete filters,” he said.

To date, Anadigics and Skyworks Solutions have scored the most high-profile deals in the 802.11n market, most notably Anadigics tie-up with Intel. However, Triquint now says that its product has the best power output performance, lowest power consumption and lowest noise figure among any competing modules.

“This is a platform product that we're very excited about,” Quinsey said.

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