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WiFi propels RF power markets to over $1 billion

ABI Research says gallium nitride has the promise of increased market share in 2012 and is forecast to be a significant force by 2017

 Spending on RF power semiconductors for the wireless infrastructure market has experienced significant growth in 2011.

Other markets – notably the military – are seeing some moderation in growth as the global economic picture and political factors come into play. Also, GaN, long seen as the promising new “material of choice” for RF power semiconductors – is continuing its march to capture share.

“GaN has the promise of increased market share in 2012 and is forecast to be a significant force by 2017,” notes Lance Wilson, research director, mobile networks. “It bridges the gap between two older technologies, exhibiting the high-frequency performance of gallium arsenide combined with the power-handling capabilities of Silicon LDMOS. It is now a mainstream technology that has achieved measurable market share and in the future will capture a significant part of the market.”

The vertical market showing the strongest uptick in the RF power semiconductor adoption business, outside of wireless infrastructure, is commercial avionics and air traffic control, which Wilson describes as now being “a significant market.” While the producers of these chips’ devices are located in the major industrialized countries, this sub-segment market is now so global that end equipment buyers can be from anywhere.

ABI Research’s new study, “RF Power Semiconductors,” examines RF power semiconductor devices that have power outputs of greater than four watts and operate at frequencies of up to 3.8 GHz, which represent the bulk of applications in use today. This study is part of the firm’s RF Power Devices Research Service.

With the current release, analysis of the six main vertical segments (wireless infrastructure; military; industrial, scientific, and medical (ISM); broadcast; commercial avionics and air traffic control; and non-cellular communications) which were previously subdivided into 24 sub-segments, are expanded to 29 sub-segments.
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