UWB/Bluetooth Low Energy module supports out-of-the-box advanced real time location applications potentially employing thousands of tags

Courtesy of Nordic Semiconductor

DecaWave UWB technology combines with Nordic’s nRF52832 Bluetooth LE solution to support prototyping, testing, and implementation of accurate, reliable Real Time Location Systems without the need for extensive RF expertise

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that DecaWave, a Dublin, Ireland-based fabless semiconductor company, has selected Nordic’s award-winning Bluetooth® Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) nRF52832 System-on-Chip (SoC) for its DWM1001 module. The module forms the foundation of scalable Two-Way-Ranging (TWR) Real Time Location Systems (RTLS) potentially comprising thousands of tags.

The DWM1001 module combines DecaWave’s DW1000 Ultra Wide Band (UWB) transceiver, the nRF52832 SoC, a three-axis accelerometer, a UWB Channel 5 printed PCB antenna (6.5 GHz), and a Bluetooth LE chip antenna. The module is accompanied by DecaWave’s DWM1001-Dev development board and MDEK1001 evaluation kit which enables users with limited RF design experience to program and evaluate the DWM1001 module. Development is further simplified because Nordic’s unique software architecture cleanly separates the RF software protocol stack from the developer’s application code eliminating the possibliity of code development and compilation corrupting the stack, and accelerating time-to-market.

The DWM1001 module is based on DecaWave’s DW1000 single-chip, IEEE802.15.4-2011 UWB-compliant transceiver. The technology is immune to multipath fading which is key to guaranteeing high reliability—within 2cm precision—in indoor environments. The 6.8Mbps data rate capability reduces the air time, enabling the real-time location of thousands of tags, as well as low power consumption for battery-operated devices.

In the module, the nRF52832 SoC provides Bluetooth LE connectivity to Bluetooth 4.0 (and later) smartphones and tablets allowing end customers to configure, control, and monitor RTLS applications. The nRF52832 SoC’s powerful 64MHz, 32-bit ARM® Cortex® M4F processor not only runs Nordic’s S132 SoftDevice (a Bluetooth 5-certifed RF software protocol stack) but also the module’s RTLS firmware and supervisory functions. The SoC’s 512 kB Flash memory application and powerful microprocessor support customer location- and sensor-fusion algorithms, and Over-the-Air Device Firmware Updates (OTA-DFU). The S132 SoftDevice also offers mesh capability, enabling scalable networking.

The DWM1001 module is a cost-efficient development platform targeted at low-to-mid volume industrial, healthcare, retail, and consumer applications. For example, the technology could be used to avoid collisions between people and robots in a factory, or for advanced analytics or navigation services to locate medical equipment in a hospital; tools and spare parts in a warehouse; or shopping carts at a retail center.

Nordic’s nRF52832 Bluetooth LE SoC, a member of Nordic’s sixth generation of ultra low power (ULP) wireless connectivity solutions, combines an ARM microprocessor with a 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio (supporting Bluetooth 5, ANT™, and proprietary 2.4GHz RF software) featuring -96dB RX sensitivity, with 512kB Flash memory and 64kB RAM. When launched, the SoC was the world’s highest performance single-chip Bluetooth LE solution.

The SoC is supplied with Nordic’s S132 SoftDevice which supports Central, Peripheral, Broadcaster and Observer Bluetooth LE roles, supports up to twenty connections, and enables concurrent role operation.

“The key factors in our decision to choose the nRF52832 SoC were its competitive feature/price ratio, ultra low power consumption to support customers’ low duty cycle applications, the maturity of the RF software stack, and the clean separation between the SoftDevice and customer application code,” says Mickael Viot, Vice President of Marketing at DecaWave.

“Nordic’s online community and support is also very important to SME customers specializing in our target applications.”

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QPC3624 RF Variable Attenuator by Qorvo

Courtesy of everything RF

The QPC3624 from Qorvo is a 75 ohm, 6-bit digital step attenuator that operates from 47 to 2000 MHz. It has an attenuation range of up to 31.5 dB with 0.5 dB steps and a low insertion loss of 1.3 dB at 1 GHz. The attenuator has three modes of control: serial, latched parallel, and direct parallel programming. Its patented circuit architecture provides overshoot-free transient switching performance. The QPC3624 is available in a 24-pad 4 x 4 x 0.85 mm QFN package and is ideal for optical nodes, MDU amplifiers, pre-amplifier attenuation and return attenuation applications.

Product Details

  • Part Number : QPC3624
  • Manufacturer : Qorvo
  • Description : 6 Bit Digital Step Attenuator from 47 to 2000 MHz

General Parameters

  • Type : Digital
  • Applications : Point-to-Point
  • Frequency : 47 to 2000 MHz
  • Bits : 6 Bit
  • Channels : 1 Channel
  • Attenuation Range : Up to 31.5 dB
  • Step Size : 0.5 dB
  • Power : 1 W
  • IIP3 : 55 dBm
  • Insertion Loss : 1.2 dB
  • Supply Voltage : 2.7 to 5.5 V
  • Interface : TTL/Serial/Parallel
  • Current : 1.5 to 190 uA
  • Impedance : 75 Ohms
  • Return Loss : 20 dB
  • Package Type : Surface Mount
  • Package : 24-pad QFN
  • Dimension : 4mm x 4mm x 0.90 mm
  • Operating Temperature : -40 to 85 Degree C
  • Storage Temperature : -65 to 150 Degree C
  • RoHS : Yes

MFB-2400 Band Pass Filter by Marki Microwave

Courtesy of everything RF

The MFB-2400 from Marki Microwave is a passive GaAs MMIC bandpass filter with a passband from 21 to 27 GHz. The filter has an insertion loss of under 3 dB and more than 25 dB of rejection above and below the passband. It can handle up to 30 dBm of input power. The MFB-2400 is available as a wire bondable chip and is ideal for K-band and SATCOM applications.

Product Details

  • Part Number : MFB-2400
  • Manufacturer : Marki Microwave
  • Description : 21 to 27 GHz Passive MMIC Bandpass Filter

General Parameters

  • Application Industry : SATCOM
  • Application : K Band
  • Frequency : 21 to 27 GHz
  • Center Frequency : 24 GHz
  • Insertion Loss : 1.5 to 3 dB
  • Rejection : 25 to 50 dB
  • Return Loss : 15 dB
  • Impedance : 50 Ohms
  • Package Type : Die
  • Operating_Temperature : -55 to 100 Degree C
  • Storage_Temperature : -65 to 125 Degree C
  • RoHS : Yes

Bluetooth Low Energy modules provide OEMs with extended link budget for developing long range asset tracking and wide-area IoT applications

Courtesy of Nordic Semiconductor

Fanstel’s ‘BT832X’ and ‘BT832XE’ employ Nordic’s nRF52832 SoC to configure, control, and monitor commercial and agricultural systems over long distances via smartphone

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that Fanstel Corp., a Scottsdale, AZ-based module manufacturer, has selected Nordic’s award-winning Bluetooth® Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) nRF52832 System-on-Chip (SoC) for its ‘BT832X’ and ‘BT832XE’ long range modules, designed for wide-area Internet of Things (IoT) applications. The company is also employing Nordic’s nRF52832 SoC in its ‘BWG 832F’ Gateway module, designed to work as a proxy node in Bluetooth mesh applications.

The BT832X module is said to be the longest range Bluetooth 5 compatible module available thanks in part to the nRF52832 SoC’s high link budget 2.4GHz radio that offers a maximum receive (RX) sensitivity of -96-dB and a maximum transmit (TX) output of +4-dBm. The addition of a Skyworks SKY66112 power amplifier (PA) and integrated high gain PCB antenna on the module extends TX output to +20-dBm and the link budget to 125 dBm, extending line-of-sight Bluetooth range up to a claimed 1300 meters in open field agricultural applications, or enabling transmission through multiple walls in industrial of commercial buildings. The nRF52832 SoC provides Bluetooth LE connectivity to Bluetooth 4.0 (and later) smartphones and tablets, allowing end users to configure, control, and monitor sensor data and alerts in a range of applications, for example asset tracking.

The BT832XE module offers the same functionality as the BT832X module, with the addition of a u.Fl connector for mounting an external antenna. Both modules come in a 15 by 28 by 1.9mm form factor, are qualified over the full industrial –40º to +85º C operating temperature range, and provide up to 29 general-purpose input/outputs (GPIOs), enabled by the Nordic SoC.

The modules are accompanied by Fanstel evaluation boards pre-loaded with ‘BlueNor’ mesh testing firmware, enabling users with limited RF design expertise to program and evaluate the modules. Development is further simplified because Nordic’s unique software architecture separates the RF software protocol stack from the developer’s application code eliminating the possibility of code development and compilation corrupting the stack.

Fanstel’s BWG 832F Gateway module is a low cost Bluetooth 5 Wi-Fi module for point-to-point or small mesh network applications where security is either not required or limited decryption and authentication can be implemented in the firmware. The platform comes in a 60 by 60 by 22mm form factor and incorporates an nRF52832 SoC-powered Bluetooth LE module, a Wi-Fi module, and a USB to UART bridge. It relays bidirectional messages between a Cloud server and any node in a mesh network, providing a low cost solution for the mass deployment of IoT products in home, small office, as well as commercial applications.

Nordic’s nRF52832 Bluetooth LE SoC combines a powerful 64MHz, 32-bit Arm® Cortex® M4F processor with a 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio (supporting Bluetooth 5, ANT™, and proprietary 2.4GHz RF software), featuring 512kB Flash memory and 64kB RAM. The SoC is supplied with Nordic’s S132 SoftDevice which also offers mesh capability, enabling scalable networking of the modules.

“We have used Nordic SoCs for our modules for a few years because they offer excellent performance good application examples, and an easy-to-use development environment,” says Dr Yuan Fan, Fanstel Founder and CEO.

“In the nRF52832 SoC, the Arm M4F processor delivers the processing power performance required for our application, at a low cost.”

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RO4835 Laminate by Rogers Corporation

Courtesy of Rogers Corporation

The RO4835 laminates from Rogers Corporation are high frequency circuit materials that operate up to 40 GHz. They provide 10x more resistance to oxidation than standard RF thermoset materials. The dielectric constant of RO4835 is 3.48 with a dissipation factor of  0.0037 (measured at 10 GHz). These laminates utilize RoHS compliant flame-retardant technology for applications requiring UL 94V-0 certification and also conform to the requirements of IPC-4103. The laminates are ideal for power amplifiers, phased-array radar, automotive radar and sensor applications.

RO4835 laminates, are available with Rogers proprietary LoPro reverse treat copper foil. These materials are ideal for applications requiring low insertion loss characteristics. LoPro foil provides reduced electrical variability due to its smoother copper surface, maintaining consistent performance for reliable broadband signal delivery from Digital through RF and microwave frequencies.

Product Details

  • Part Number : RO4835
  • Manufacturer : Rogers Corporation
  • Description : Low Loss Laminates for High-Frequency Circuits

General Parameters

  • Dk (Dielectric Constant) : 3.48 (Process), 3.66 (Design)
  • Df (Dissipation Factor) : 0.0037
  • Td : 390 Degrees C
  • Tg : 280 Degrees C
  • Thickness : 0.102 to 1.542 mm
  • Applications : Automotive Radar and Sensors, Power Amplifiers, RF Components
  • Electrical Strength : 30.2 KV/mm (755 V/mil)
  • Flamibility : V-0
  • Moisture_Absorbtion : 0.05 %
  • Peel Strength : 0.88 N/mm ( 5.0 pli)
  • Surface Resistivity : 109 M Ohms
  • Volume Resistivity : 1010 M Ohms
  • Dimensional Stability : 0.5 mm/m
  • Flexural Strength (Machine/Cross) : 186 MPa
  • Tensile Modulus : 7780 MPa (1128 kpsi)
  • Thermal Coeffecient : 50 ppm / Degree C
  • Thermal Conductivity : 0.66 W/m/Degree K

Nordic Semiconductor nRF91 SiP Series

Courtesy of Nordic Semiconductor

Low power MCU with Integrated LTE-M and NB-IoT
Not Yet Active

The nRF9160 is making the latest LTE technology accessible for a wide range of applications and developers. Through the high integration and pre-certification for global operation, it solves the complex wireless design challenges as well as comprehensive set of qualifications needed to utilize cellular technology.

By integrating an application MCU, full LTE modem, RF front end and power management in a 10x16x1.2 mm package, it also offers the most compact solution for cellular IoT (cIoT) on the market.

Targeting asset tracking applications, the nRF91 SiP Series includes a variant with built-in GPS support. It combines location data from the cellular network with GPS satellite trilateration to allow remote monitoring of the device position.

Application MCU

The nRF9160 offers a modern and powerful ARM Cortex M33 processor with on-chip flash and RAM exclusively for application use.


Now Mid-2018 End 2018
Lead customer sampling program Start of general sampling First production quantities
nRF91 Series Application Circuit
Recorded version of the live webcast Monday January 22nd, 2018 at 17:00pm CET.

Download nRF91 Series sneak peek presentation slides.


LTE-M and NB-IoT modem

  • LTE-M and NB-IoT support in bands from 700 MHz to 2.2GHz
  • Worldwide operation
  • Up to 23 dBm output power
  • -108 dBm LTE-M RX sensitivity
  • Single pin 50 Ω antenna interface
  • eDRX, PSM
  • SMS, IPv4/IPv6

Application Processor

  • ARM Cortex M33
  • TrustZone for trusted execution
  • Crypto cell co-processor
  • Low power peripherals
  • HW Automated power and clock management
  • 32 GPIO with flexible mapping

Software Development kit

  • LWM2M client
  • Secure FOTA for application and modem
  • Peripheral driver libraries
  • Application examples


  • Logistics and asset tracking
  • Smart City
  • Smart Agriculture
  • Industrial & Predictive maintenance
  • Wearables
  • Medical

Nordic Semiconductor joins Thread Group’s Board of Directors and appoints Pär Håkansson to represent the company on the board

Courtesy of Nordic Semiconductor

Low power wireless industry veteran’s technical and marketing expertise will help drive Thread technology’s expansion into smart-home applications and beyond

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that it has upgraded its Thread Group membership to the Sponsor level, and has appointed Pär Håkansson, Nordic’s Product Marketing Manager responsible for the products and strategies for the smart home, to the group’s Board of Directors. The Thread Group is an industry alliance that manages Thread, an IPv6 low power wireless connectivity specification.

Håkansson was appointed to the board in December 2017. He holds an M.Sc. EE and a Technical Licentiate degree in communication electronics from Linköping University in Sweden. He has spent the last decade in the low power wireless industry, holding positions in research, business development, and product marketing. Håkansson joined Nordic in 2015.

Thread addresses device connectivity challenges in the home and beyond with a low-power, open-standards, IP-based approach to wireless networks supporting many applications, many use cases, many devices, and many clouds. It is designed to operate as one network with no hubs.

Nordic Semiconductor is now a Sponsor member of the Thread Group and for the last year, its engineers have been helping to develop the Thread specification. Nordic’s nRF52840 SoC, a high-end, multiprotocol, low power wireless connectivity solution, became a Thread 1.1 certified component in September 2017. The nRF52840 SoC is targeted at complex smart-home applications among other uses.

“We are excited to see Nordic strengthening its leadership in low power wireless technology with this step to accelerate and grow the Thread market with its suite of Thread-certified components. We are confident Nordic’s investment will lead to new and innovative Thread-based products that showcase the value of Thread for end-to-end connected devices,” says Grant Erickson, President of the Thread Group.

“It is a privilege to be appointed to the Thread Group Board of Directors and I believe my technical and marketing expertise in low power wireless will assist in making Thread a success,” says Håkansson. “The group has a busy program ahead aimed at increasing awareness of the Thread brand, collaboration with other standards organizations, and the introduction of enhancements to the technology through updated specifications.

“Thread is expanding beyond smart-home applications and is gaining traction with major product vendors,” continues Håkansson. “The smart home is a key business segment for Nordic and its sponsor membership of the Thread Group will help it influence the specification and market’s evolution.”

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PPC375-375AG2-XXXXY Termination by API Technologies – Inmet

Courtesy of everything RF

The PPC375-375AG2 from API Inmet are chip terminations that operate from DC to 2 GHz. They can handle up to 250 Watts of power and have a VSWR of 1.50:1. The chips are fabricated on a Berylium Oxide Ceramic substrate with a thin film resistor. These terminations are available in standard impedance values of 50 and 100 ohm in a surface mount package.

Product Details

  • Part Number : PPC375-375AG2-XXXXY
  • Manufacturer : API Technologies – Inmet
  • Description : 250 W Chip Terminations from DC to 2 GHz

General Parameters

  • Type : Chip Termination
  • Frequency : DC to 2 GHz
  • Power : 250 W
  • Impedance : 50 Ohms
  • VSWR : 1.25:1 to 1.50:1
  • Substrate Material : Beryllium Oxide
  • Package Type : Chip, Surface Mount
  • Dimension : 0.375 x 0.375 x 0.040 Inches


Nordic-powered compact Bluetooth Low Energy module supports highly secure personal identification and access applications

Courtesy of Nordic Semiconductor

LEGIC technology uses Nordic’s nRF52832 WL-CSP for a compact footprint module targeting contactless ID and access to smart cards, door locks, and other security applications

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that LEGIC, a Wetzikon, Switzerland-based contactless identification solutions provider, has employed Nordic’s award-winning Bluetooth® Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) nRF52832 Wafer Level Chip Scale Package (WL-CSP) in its SM-6300 module. The module is designed to support a wide array of highly secure, flexible personal identification and access applications using Bluetooth LE wireless connectivity.

The SM-6300 module offers a development platform for engineers designing applications requiring a secure wireless identification process, for example storage or payment solutions, access to shared-economy assets like bikes and cars, physical access control in corporate and hospitality environments, and wireless connection to the Internet of Things (IoT).

Taking advantage of the nRF52832 WL-CSP’s reduced footprint of 3.0 by 3.2 mm (one quarter the footprint of the conventionally packaged nRF52832 System-on-Chip (SoC)), the SM-6300 measures just 8.0 by 8.0 by 1.1 mm.

The SM-6300 provides Bluetooth LE wireless connectivity with Android and iOS mobile apps, third-party Bluetooth LE devices, and the LEGIC Mobile Software Development Kit (SDK). The module integrates LEGIC’s Secure Element, a tamper-proof, security-certified microcontroller “shelter” where all cryptographic keys are stored, and security-relevant firmware is executed. In addition, the module works with LEGIC’s technology platform, a product for secure reader and smartcard ICs and the LEGIC Connect trusted service with integrated key and authorization management.

The nRF52832 WL-CSP offers all the features of the conventionally-packaged SoC, including a powerful 64MHz, 32-bit Arm® Cortex® M4F processor, 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio (supporting Bluetooth 5, ANT™, and proprietary 2.4GHz RF software) featuring -96dB RX sensitivity, with 512kB Flash memory and 64kB RAM. When launched, the standard nRF52832 SoC was the world’s highest performance single-chip Bluetooth LE solution.

The Arm processor has ample performance to run Nordic’s S132 SoftDevice (a Bluetooth 5-certifed RF software protocol stack) as well as the module’s security, ID and access firmware. In addition, the processor and 512 kB Flash memory support Over-the-Air Device Firmware Updates (OTA-DFU).

The WL-CSP is supplied with Nordic’s S132 SoftDevice which offers Central, Peripheral, Broadcaster and Observer Bluetooth LE roles, supports up to twenty connections, and enables concurrent role operation.

“Low power consumption and small package size were two of the main attributes that helped us decide in favor of the Nordic nRF52832 WL-CSP,” says Alex Wyss, Head of Hardware Development at LEGIC. “Further, because the SoftDevice separates the Bluetooth LE protocol from the application code, development is made much simpler. And the OTA-DFU support allows both Bluetooth protocol and LEGIC application firmware upgrades to be promptly offered to our customers.”

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What makes for a perfect Low Noise Amplifier (LNA) MMIC for your microwave system? The answer could be right under your noise figure.

Courtesy of Custom MMIC

Low Noise Amplifiers (LNAs) are a critical component in virtually all radar, wireless communications and instrumentation systems. But while the noise figure (NF) performance is often your primary focus, other microwave system considerations related to performance as well as size, weight, power and cost (SWaP-C) can be equally, if not more important. In this blog we’ll describe a few other key characteristics that may help you save time during your design cycle, save money during assembly, and even enhance your microwave assembly or subsystem at-large.


Specifically in military and aerospace radar and communications applications, where electronic countermeasures (ECMs) may be used to overwhelm a receiver, a receiver must be capable of withstanding high levels of input power for varying intervals of time. Active or passive jamming can cause levels of noise and frequency bursts that couple large amounts of broadband or frequency-selective interference into a receiver. Moreover, in these applications there is often a high-power transmitter in close proximity to the receiver, which can lead to substantial coupling and power ingress into the receiver front end.

A common method to reduce the impact of critically high input powers to a receiver is to include a limiter or circulator on the input of a receiver chain. An unfortunate side effect of adding anything prior to the LNA in the receiver is the degradation of the overall system noise figure. These signal chain additions reduce the sensitivity of the receiver, which may shorten communications range, throughput, radar range and accuracy, and cause delays in acquiring mission critical information. A great 1 dB system noise figure can effectively become 2 dB or more when adding protection circuitry.

It’s thus very important to consider an LNA’s highest input power handling (or input survivability). Most GaAs LNAs can handle only +10-15 dBm pulsed on their input, but the highest achievers are now surviving +20 dBm continuously and +23-25 dBm pulsed and can help you eliminate the protection circuitry.


Gain flatness across your required band is essential to achieve required inter-symbol-interference (ISI) levels and optimal range performance. As costly equalizers are often employed to compensate for the downward gain slope of typical LNAs, flat gain LNAs eliminate that need.

Another factor to consider is gain stability over temperature. In applications such as aerospace operating temperature variation can exceed 180 degrees F within a short time window.

Temperature changes that are significant can affect an LNA by more than just changing the noise figure of the device and system; they can vary the frequency-dependent gain of the LNA. For example, large-phased array antennas may have thousands of TR modules, with many of the modules exposed to a variety of temperature gradients. If the communications system relies on gain stability throughout the TR modules, and the LNAs gain stability is temperature dependent, the system may suffer a significant loss in performance.


Properly biasing a MMIC amplifier is critical to achieving adequate device performance. Depending upon the particular LNA design, the biasing circuitry could be composed of a positive and negative biasing circuit with temperature compensation. Some LNA MMICs have the biasing and compensation circuitry built in, but a positive and negative voltage supply must be provided to the exact specification for the biasing network to operate properly.

When designing at a system-level for a large RF or microwave assembly, many different voltage supplies may be required. Certain design constraints may also limit the noise and stability performance of those power supplies, which may impact the practical LNA performance due to limited power supply rejection ratio (PSRR). To avoid this, additional circuitry may be used to condition the voltage supplies for a given LNA MMIC. Each of these circuits and connection points introduces a potential failure mode to the voltage supplies, and thus impacts system reliability. These supply-voltage circuits also consume valuable assembly real estate and power, contribute to the overall size/weight of the assembly, add costs, and of course, consume design and test time.

In order to reduce the infrastructure necessary to integrate a MMIC LNA into a microwave assembly, engineers at Custom MMIC have applied innovative circuit-design techniques. The designs they have implemented, which only require a single positive voltage supply, also enable a wide range of bias voltage options for even greater flexibility. All of the necessary circuitry to properly bias these LNAs is integrated into the MMIC itself. Ultimately, when your MMIC requires only a single positive supply voltage it reduces your bill-of-materials, overall system complexity, failure modes, and overall system SWaP-C.

In mobile platforms, including aerospace and satellite communications, power constraints are also a system-wide limitation that often dictates what solutions can be used. Moreover, for these applications, the power requirements of the components directly lead to the overall size and cost of the power generation circuits, and hence, the total system SWaP-C. An example of this concept is seen with satellite communications. The power required by a phased-array antenna must be generated by solar cells mounted on the satellite, which is one of the largest contributing factors of satellite weight and size. As launching satellites costs thousands to tens of thousands of dollars per kilogram, reducing the weight of a satellite system can directly influence the cost-per-bit of high-speed satellite communication services.

If your next LNA might find itself in a similar system, be sure its power consumption (bias current and bias voltage) is as efficient as possible. LNAs with lower power needs are also typically smaller, demonstrate better temperature performance, and provide better SNR at lower power levels.

To learn more about these and other LNA MMIC factors you might consider, download our Tech Brief “5 Key LNA MMIC Factors that Can Make or Break a Receiver Design” >>