News Article

Fujitsu Fires Up GaN WiMAX Base Stations

In delivering a compact, efficient product, the Japanese company's GaN HEMT technology has embarked upon a journey that could be propelled by upcoming changes in wireless broadband.

Fujitsu looks set to confirm its RF GaN pioneer status by selling WiMAX base stations based on wide-bandgap transistors, beginning in the second quarter of 2008.

The BroadOne WX300 outdoor macrocell base station uses the Japanese corporation s GaN HEMTs to provide wide-area transmission over a range of several kilometers.

The base station offers world-class efficiency and performance, Fujitsu says, and is the first of a wider series of BroadOne WiMAX transmitters due to be marketed worldwide.

“By combining energy efficiency with the world's smallest base station enclosure, Fujitsu has significantly reduced the costs associated with installing and operating base stations," the company claims.

The compact unit weighs only around 20 kg and occupies a volume of 20 liters, presumably offering cost benefits because it can be installed single-handedly.

The WX300 will operate in the 2.3 and 2.5 GHz frequency bands used by the emerging WiMAX standard, using two high-power output transceivers each containing three GaN HEMTs.

After the WX300, the next release in the BroadOne series will be a microcell base station, with a several-hundred meter range designed for areas with poor coverage. Then, an ultra-compact picocell for indoor networks will complete the product family's current line-up, although Fujitsu has plans for the technology that reach beyond WiMAX.

A spokesman for Fujitsu told compoundsemiconductor.net that the company intends to sell 30,000 units of mobile WiMAX products like these over five years, beginning in 2008

The company also confirmed that GaN HEMT-based transceivers will be used in base station products other than the WX300, and are included in plans that reach beyond WiMAX.

“The BroadOne brand name covers an integrated series of base stations and other products for the Long Term Evolution (LTE) project under which next-generation mobile phone systems will be developed for the rapidly emerging wireless broadband market," it says.

This strategic vision is being supported by roll-out plans that include Fujitsu partnering with Airspan Networks for the sale of the WX300, which Airspan will call MicroMAXe.

That deal comes on top of the existing strong industry reputation that is seeing Fujitsu partner with Japanese telecoms firms in developing LTE base stations. It reportedly demonstrated prototype base stations with NTT DoCoMo last year, and originally developed the GaN HEMT technology with KDDI (see related story).

Initial demand for WiMAX products is coming from Korea, the US and Japan, Fujitsu says, with Europe and other Asia-Pacific countries soon to follow.

Also, although Japan is the only country to have begun field trials for LTE, Fujitsu says tier one network operators in the US “seem to be interested".

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