Enables Low-Cost and Power Efficient CATV Transmission Systems

June 27, 2011
Renesas GaN Power Amplifier Module for CATV Applications Using the 1 GHz Band, the MC-7802

TOKYO, Japan, June 27, 2011 — Renesas Electronics Corporation (TSE: 6723), a premier provider of advanced semiconductor solutions, today announced the development of the MC-7802, a gallium nitride (GaN) power amplifier module for 1-gigahertz (GHz) CATV (cable television) systems. Designed for use as a power amplifier for applications such as trunk amplifiers for CATV systems, the MC-7802 achieves high output power and low distortion that are among the best in the industry today.

The MC-7802 incorporates newly developed gallium nitride field effect transistors (GaN FETs) that can be operated at higher frequencies and deliver higher output power than existing Renesas Electronics power amplifier module products, which employ a different semiconductor material (gallium arsenide). Approximately double the output performance is achieved while maintaining current consumption and distortion performance at the same levels as existing products by optimizing the matching circuits of the GaN FETs and other components for CATV applications. This enables manufacturers of CATV transmission equipment to roughly double output power without increasing current consumption, so the coverage area of the CATV network overall can be expanded with no increase in power consumption. 

The newly developed GaN FETs are fabricated not on a substrate made of silicon carbide, the material typically used previously, but on a silicon substrate. This will simplify production using large-diameter wafers moving forward.

Renesas Electronics regards the GaN FET as a key device and plans to expand its power amplifier module product lineups for CATV to form a product family.

CATV power amplifier modules are mainly used in the trunk amplifiers of CATV systems, the optical node units (ONUs) of hybrid fiber coaxial (HFC) systems, and the final stages of booster power amplifiers for common receiver units installed in multiunit dwellings such as apartment buildings. These power amplifier modules are semiconductor devices that amplify multiple channel signals to make up for transmission loss over the network. Since they amplify multiple channel signals, such as terrestrial digital TV, CATV, and Internet signals, better linearity (distortion performance) secure more stable data transfer, and better signal quality can be achieved. High output power provides greater flexibility in system design and makes it easier to keep costs down, allowing the network to be expanded by extending transmission distances and increasing the number of branches.

With the coming of digitization in recent years, CATV systems have gone beyond distribution of video content to offer hybrid services including, for example, Internet access and Internet telephony (VoIP), and the number of channels handled has proliferated. In response, the use of systems employing the 1 GHz band is expected to grow. However, although systems employing the 1 GHz band can transmit more channels than existing systems (which use the 770 MHz or 870 MHz band, depending on the region), the increased number of channels brings issues such as increased output power and distortion. In addition, demand is rising for high-frequency semiconductor devices with high output power, low distortion, and energy efficiency for use in amplifiers in order to maximize the transmission distance and number of branches in order to reduce the transmission cost.

The new MC-7802 addresses this market demand by providing low power consumption with improved output linearity and distortion characteristics.

Key features of the MC-7802:

  • (1) Among industry's highest output power and lowest distortion

The GaN FETs support high-frequency, high-output operation. In addition, the amplifier circuit configuration and matching circuits of the components used have been optimized and circuit loss minimized. This results in improved linearity at high output power operation. In fact, output power is approximately double that of existing Renesas power amplifier module products without an increase in power consumption. This high efficiency and high output power is among the best in the industry today.

  • (2) GaN FETs formed on silicon substrate, enabling production using large-diameter wafers

Unlike conventional fabrication technology, the GaN FETs employed in the MC-7802 are grown on a silicon substrate. The use of a silicon substrate rather than an expensive silicon carbide substrate facilitates larger wafer sizes and will allow the MC-7802 to be more competitively priced.

Renesas regards the new MC-7802 device as a strategic product that will enable the company to enlarge its share of the market for CATV power amplifier devices, and aggressive sales promotion is planned in Japan, North America, Europe, and China. Renesas plans to follow up on the new MC-7802 device by developing and commercializing a family of similar products with a variety of gain performances. The company also has plans to continue development work on products incorporating GaN FETs for high-frequency applications and to steadily expand its lineup of such products.

Refer to the separate sheet for the specifications of the new gallium nitride (GaN) power amplifier module, the MC-7802.

Pricing and Availability

Samples of Renesas Electronics' MC-7802 device are available now, priced at US$43 per unit. Mass production is scheduled to begin in August 2011 at a monthly production of 10,000 units and, with the existing power amplifier module products for CATV applications, the company expects to reach a total of 200,000 units per month.
(Pricing and availability are subject to change without notice.) 

About Renesas Electronics Corporation

Renesas Electronics Corporation (TSE: 6723) delivers trusted embedded design innovation with complete semiconductor solutions that enable billions of connected, intelligent devices to enhance the way people work and live. A global leader in microcontrollers, analog, power,and SoC products, Renesas provides comprehensive solutions for a broad range of automotive, industrial, infrastructure, and IoT applications that help shape a limitless future.Learn more at renesas.com.Follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

The content in the press release, including, but not limited to, product prices and specifications, is based on the information as of the date indicated on the document, but may be subject to change without prior notice.