5G has promoted the industrial upgrading of many industries such as mobile communications and electronic information and has a profound impact on the global economy. In order to take the lead in the global 5G development, many countries and regions, led by China, the United States, Europe, Japan, and South Korea, have issued clear 5G spectrum plans. Among them, the high-frequency band (above the Ka-band) is gradually being the point in the 5G spectrum plan. Limited by spectrum resources, low-frequency communications can no longer meet the future network requirements of higher capacity, higher speed, and lower latency. Therefore, the basic architecture of 5G mobile communications uses a combination of sub-6 GHz low-frequency bands and millimeter wave frequency bands. 5G mmWave technology is a core technology of 5G wireless networks.
The difference between 5g mmWave technology and traditional low-frequency communication in the physical realization of the system is reflected in the following: On the one hand, it lies in the part from the intermediate frequency, up-and-down conversion to the front end and antenna. The millimeter wave signal is transmitted, processed and amplified in this part of the link. The working frequency is supported by the special chip of millimeter wave, and its components, technology, circuit design, packaging and testing are very different from the low-frequency signals of the 3G and 4G era; on the other hand, it lies in the digital domain, such as baseband, ADC/DAC. On the other hand, in terms of baseband, ADC/DAC and other digital and analogue domains, this part continues to use the existing mainstream Si-CMOS process represented by ultra-high integration, supplemented by higher process and more advanced ASIC design, SoC design method, complete signal modulation and demodulation, digital-to-analogue conversion, DSP and other functions. Therefore, this white paper focuses on providing solutions and guidance for 5G mmWave dedicated chips, devices and processes.
5G mmWave technology requires the joint support of compound semiconductors and silicon-based semiconductor chips, devices, and process technologies, and both are suitable for different application scenarios. RF communications equipment requires high-end technology. According to the 5g mmWave system architecture, compound millimeter-wave power chips are indispensable in the RF front-end. At the mid-to-back end of the system architecture, Si-based millimeter-wave chips will occupy the mainstream position with their high integration and high-cost performance. In addition, in the 5G mmWave system, the interconnection end face between the RF receiver antenna and the millimeter-wave front-end chip is extremely sensitive, and there is a clear trend of using integrated three-dimensional integration technology between the two.
In 2019, the 5G Sub 6GHz frequency band communication officially entered the commercial stage, and at the same time, the standard formulation and pre-commercial use of the millimeter wave frequency band is also in full swing. The demand for multi-function, high bandwidth, high integration and low power consumption 5G mmWave dedicated chips, devices and processes will increase day by day. Millimeter-wave chips are a weak link in the 5G industry chain. It is urgent to clarify the development route and form key breakthroughs to meet the needs of industrial development.