5G Is Coming

An estimated 8.4 billion connected devices will be on the network by 2020.


When I returned from the holidays, I thought I had entered a time warp. Did I sleep through January and wake up near the end of February? I expected to see the usual deluge of news about the gadgets and gear that will be featured at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2018). Instead, I’ve seen story after story about next-generation 5G mobile networks—typically the stuff of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Time warp or not, one thing is clear: 2018 is shaping up to be a huge year for 5G. With an estimated 8.4 billion connected devices expected to be on the market by 2020, there is an accelerating need for an ultra-fast, high-bandwidth, low-latency network to connect them. 5G is coming, and it can’t get here soon enough.

Qualcomm’s keynote on January 10 is sure to be a high point for the 5G buzz at CES 2018. Cristiano Amon, president of Qualcomm, will be sharing Qualcomm’s vision for leadership in the 5G era. We were fortunate to hear a preview of Cristiano’s story when he delivered a keynote at our GLOBALFOUNDRIES Technical Conference (GTC 2017) back in September. One of his key points was that the demanding requirements of 5G networks are driving increased complexity at the chipset level. This means silicon innovation is essential to enabling the transition to 5G.

At GF, we offer a sweeping range of semiconductor technologies designed to help customers’ transition to next-generation 5G wireless networks. We have the industry’s broadest set of technology solutions for a range of 5G applications, including mmWave front end modules (FEMs), standalone or integrated mmWave transceivers and baseband chips, and high-performance application processors for mobile and networking.

Our roadmap includes offerings in RF-SOI, silicon germanium (SiGe), and CMOS, including a wide range of mature and advanced nodes with RF-optimized options combined with a broad range of ASIC design services and IP. These application-specific solutions address various customer approaches to 5G by supporting a vast range of capabilities, from ultra-low energy sensors, to ultra-fast devices with long-lasting battery life, to higher levels of integration that support on-chip memory.

  • 5G RF and mmWave Transceivers and Baseband Processing: Whether it’s for 5G <6GHz applications or the new 5G mmWave bands, GF’s broad range of CMOS technologies with FinFET, FD-SOI and more mature bulk CMOS technologies have optimized RF and mmWave offerings that allow our customers to make the best design trade-offs between cost, power consumption and performance. GF’s FD-SOI technologies (22FDX and 12FDX) are truly differentiated CMOS platforms that provide the lowest power consumption solution for any RF or mmWave transceiver. In addition, FDX is very well suited to address another part of the 5G standard, massive IoT networks. GF’s optimized solutions provide customers a flexible and cost-effective solution to integrate RF and mmWave transceivers with baseband modem or digital “calibration” processing in 5G handsets and base stations, NB-IoT solutions and other high-performance applications.
  • 5G mmWave Front End Modules: GF’s RF-SOI and SiGe solutions (130nm-45nm) deliver an optimal combination of performance, integration and power efficiency for FEMs with integrated switches, low noise amplifiers and power amplifier applications. For certain applications, such as 5G mmWave handsets and small base stations, GF’s 22FDX mmWave optimized offering makes it possible to integrate FEMs and transceivers onto a single chip, delivering significant advantages in terms of cost, power consumption and footprint. GF’s mmWave solutions are designed to serve applications ranging from sub-6 GHz to mmWave frequency bands.
  • Advanced Applications Processing: GF’s advanced CMOS FinFET-based process technologies deliver an optimal combination of performance, integration and power efficiency for next-generation smartphone processors, low latency networks and massive MIMO networks. Advanced CMOS solutions are available today from GF.
  • Custom Design for 5G Wireless Base Stations: The company’s application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) design systems (FX-14 and FX-7) enable optimized 5G solutions (functional modules) by supporting wireless infrastructure protocols on high-speed SerDes, solutions to integrate advanced packaging, monolithic, ADC/DAC and programmable logic.

5G will undoubtedly play an integral role in helping next-generation networks provide “zero-distance connectivity” between users and their devices, allowing people to take full advantage of the processing power of the cloud as well as edge-to-edge connectivity. With the demand for 5G accelerating rapidly, GF will continue to work with its partners to provide solutions that will allow our customers to succeed in this competitive space. Stay tuned as we continue to roll out new details of our technology solutions for 5G throughout the coming year.

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