NI & Eta Wireless accelerate development of wideband digital envelope tracking, extending data rate & coverage of mmWave 5G

04 August 2020

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NI’s integrated systems approach demonstrates the benefits of digital envelope tracking for higher 5G mmWave front-end efficiency.

NI announced today at International Microwave Symposium (IMS) its collaboration with Eta Wireless to implement and demonstrate full support of ETAdvanced, the industry’s first ever Digital Envelope Tracking (ET) technology for mmWave 5G RF front-end devices. Developed by Cambridge-based Eta Wireless, the technology enables extended battery life in smartphones, wearables and Internet of Things (IoT) devices, improving both data rates and connectivity range.

ETAdvanced addresses the power efficiency challenges that have historically plagued RF front-ends. Wideband power amplifiers (PAs), such as those found in 5G devices, waste a significant amount of power in the form of heat, greatly reducing battery life. ETAdvanced uses the signal’s envelope information to increase the amplifier’s efficiency by delivering only the power needed at that instant.

Full support of ETAdvanced was achieved using NI software-connected PXI systems, making possible a tightly synchronised combination of fine digital edge placement, as well as wideband 5G new radio (NR) generation and analysis with the mmWave Vector Signal Transceiver (VST). These technologies helped Eta Wireless demonstrate a data rate improvement of 3x and the doubling of the PA’s output power, addressing core power and thermal problems of 5G mmWave deployments. The increase in range and throughput for a given power budget makes ETAdvanced technology a key enabler for mmWave 5G radios.

At NI, we equip our customers to engineer ambitiously by providing the tools and expertise required to help them test new ideas,” said Ritu Favre, Senior Vice President & General Manager of NI’s Semiconductor Business Unit. "Connecting Eta Wireless with technology that helps solve one of the biggest challenges facing 5G adoption is at the heart of our vision to accelerate 5G commercialisation.

NI’s PXI-based solution for RF and digital signal generation extracts peak performance of ETAdvanced technology in the lab setting. NI’s support for Digital ET will help mobile device companies accelerate mmWave deployments and provide end customers with a superior user experience,” said John Hoversten, founder & Chief Technology Officer of Eta Wireless. “We are pleased to see the front-end ecosystem converging to Digital ET, which helps extend much needed battery life for the mobile user while delivering on the 5G promises of greater connectivity and higher bandwidth.


About Eta Wireless
Eta Wireless is solving the fundamental power challenges in the mobile communications industry. Today’s smartphones, wearables and Internet of Things (IoT) devices are highly energy inefficient and typically waste most of the power consumed as heat. Eta Wireless’ technology, ETAdvanced, dramatically reduces energy consumption to extend the battery life of all wireless communication devices significantly. Unlike legacy analogue envelope tracking technologies, ETAdvanced supports new gigabit communication standards for 5G, LTE Advanced and Wi-Fi.

Based on breakthrough research by two MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) professors, Eta Wireless is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. The founders of Eta Wireless previously built Eta Devices, a company providing proven power management solutions for mobile base stations. Nokia acquired Eta Devices in October 2016. Eta Wireless investors include Intel Capital and Deutsche Telekom.


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