E-mech

SP4T switch cuts cost of high-power RF designs

14th April 2022
Mick Elliott

Menlo Micro has introduced a new single-pole/four-throw (SP4T) DC-to-6 GHz switch that provides what is claimed as best-in-class performance, reliability and integration for 5G network infrastructure, test and measurement equipment, and other high-power RF switching applications.

Built on the company’s market-proven Ideal Switch technology, the MM5140 SP4T switch offers 25W power handling, ultra-low insertion loss and the industry’s highest linearity, significantly outperforming electromechanical relays (EMRs) and conventional solid-state switches.

Featuring the industry’s lowest insertion loss of 0.2 dB at 3 GHz, the MM5140 switch provides an ideal solution for replacing large RF EMRs as well as RF/microwave solid-state switches in applications requiring maximum reliability, such as antenna tuning and beam-steering equipment used in 5G base stations.

The rapid rollout of 5G services worldwide is driving ever-increasing demand for sub-6 GHz connectivity, especially in the coveted C-band spectrum. Emerging mid-band 5G networks with advanced beamforming antennas require exceptionally reliable, high-performance RF switching technology exemplified by the MM5140 SP4T switch.

Like all Menlo Micro Ideal Switch products, this new device helps RF developers achieve 99 % reductions in size, weight, cost and power loss while providing an operating lifetime of more than 3 billion switching cycles with no degradation in performance.

The switch enables RF operation at high power levels over a wide temperature range from -40C to +85C and superior linearity from DC to 6 GHz.

Menlo Micro says that the device’s industry-leading IP3 of 95 dBm enables significant reductions in distortion, which is a critical factor for demanding RF applications such as 5G beam-steering antennas.

The MM5140 switch features a custom-designed, built-in high-voltage charge pump/driver circuit integrated into a miniature 5.2 mm x 4.2 mm LGA package, eliminating the need for external components, simplifying customer layouts and reducing BOM cost.

The integrated charge pump circuit offers both flexible SPI and GPIO digital interfaces, enabling easy control from any host processor or test system.

The switch’s highly integrated design reduces cost and design complexity and simplifies the development of numerous RF front-end systems including transmitters and receivers, RF filters, and beamforming antennas used in advanced radio architectures and radar systems. The high channel density and low losses also make the MM5140 ideal for ultra-compact switch matrices and multiplexers used for RF test and measurement applications.

Evaluation boards and engineering samples of the MM5140 SP4T switch are now available. Production release is scheduled for Q2 2022.

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