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Smartphone Radio Frequency Front-End Content Trends Analysis

  • ID: 3420827
  • Report
  • 122 pages
  • EJL Wireless Research
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Deep Dive Analysis of the Seven Wireless Interfaces of the Samsung Galaxy S6 and the Apple iPhone 6


(Samsung Galaxy S6 Family / Apple iPhone 6 Family)

This report provides a comprehensive analysis on RF front end technology in the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Apple iPhone 6s smartphones.

- Analysis of RF component suppliers for Apple iPhone 6s
- Analysis of RF component suppliers for Samsung Galaxy 6S
- Wireless Connectivity Functional Diagrams for both smartphones
- Wireless Connectivity Interfaces Analysis:
-- Cellular FDD/TDD LTE
-- WiFi
-- Bluetooth
-- Near Field Communication (NFC)
-- Wireless Charging

Note: Product cover images may vary from those shown
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Cellular Connectivity Overview
GSM Bands
CMA / CDMA2000 Bands
3GPP Release 8 LTE
3GPP Release 10 LTE-A
3GPP Carrier Aggregation
FD-LTE and TD-LTE Bands
Cellular RFFE Complexity
Cellular Service Provider Network Assets
Band Support – Samsung Galaxy S6 Family
Band Support – Apple iPhone 6 Family
Samsung Digital Baseband Modem Portfolio
Samsung RF Transceiver Portfolio
Qualcomm Digital Baseband Modem Portfolio
Qualcomm RF Transceiver Portfolio
High-Band RFFE – Samsung Galaxy S6
Mid-Band RFFE – Samsung Galaxy S6
Low-Band RFFE – Samsung Galaxy S6
Low-Band RFFE – Band 28 APT
Receive Diversity RFFE – Samsung Galaxy S6
Antenna Switching and Tuning – Samsung Galaxy S6
Cat 6 Carrier Aggregation – Samsung Galaxy S6
LTE Peak Bandwidth – Samsung Galaxy S6
High-Band RFFE – Apple iPhone 6
Mid-Band RFFE – Apple iPhone 6
Mid-Band RFFE Quadplexer Implementation Example
Low-Band RFFE – Apple iPhone
Receive Diversity RFFE – Apple iPhone 6
Antenna Switching and Tuning – Apple iPhone 6
Cat 4 Carrier Aggregation – Apple iPhone 6
Cat 10 Carrier Aggregation – Example RFFE
LTE Peak Bandwidth – Apple iPhone


Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Connectivity Overview
W-Fi and Bluetooth – 24 GHz Band
Wi-Fi – 5 GHz Band
Bluetooth v4x – Physical Layer
Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Cellular Coexistence Challenge
Galaxy S6 and iPhone 6 Wi-Fi Peak Performance


GNSS Overview – Band Plan
GNSS Implementation – Samsung Galaxy S6
GNSS Implementation – Apple iPhone 6

NFC Overview – PHY and MAC
NFC – Samsung Galaxy S6 Implementation
NFC – Apple iPhone 6 Implementation


Wireless Charging Overview
Wireless Charging – Samsung Galaxy S6 Implementation



Table 1 Smartphone Chipsets – Major Suppliers
Table 2 Leadership Smartphone Wireless Connectivity
Table 3 Leadership Smartphone RF Component Suppliers
Table 4 Samsung Galaxy S6 – RF Content
Table 5 Apple iPhone 6 – RF Content
Table 6 Samsung Galaxy S6 / S6 Edge UMTS Models – RF Bill of Materials
Table 7 Apple iPhone 6 / 6 Plus – RF Bill of Materials
Table 8 FDD and TDD Comparison
Table 9 3GPP / ITU GSM Frequency Bands
Table 10 CDMA / CDMA2000 Band Classes
Table 11 3GPP / ITU UMTS FDD Band Plan
Table 12 UMTS TDD Band Plan
Table 13 3GPP Rel 8 LTE – Cat 1 through 5 UE Performance Criteria
Table 14 3GPP Rel 10 LTE-A – Cat 6 through 8 UE Performance Criteria
Table 15 3GPP Carrier Aggregation Bandwidth Classes
Table 16 3GPP Rel 10 Carrier Aggregation Configurations
Table 17 3GPP / ITU FD-LTE bands – Band 1 through Band 16
Table 18 3GPP / ITU FD-LTE Bands – Band 17 through Band 32
Table 19 3GPP / ITU TD-LTE Bands – Band 33 through Band 44
Table 20 Cellular RFFE Complexity Growth – RFFE Complexity Factor™
Table 21 Largest Cellular Service Providers – Subscribers and Networks
Table 22 Largest Cellular Service Providers – Subscribers and Networks, Cont
Table 23 20 Largest Mobile Service Provider In-Use Spectrum Holdings
Table 24 Global Leadership Mobile Service Provider In-Use Spectrum Holdings
Table 25 Samsung Galaxy S6 Models – FDD and TDD Band Support
Table 26 Apple iPhone 6 Models – FDD and TDD Band Support
Table 27 Samsung Semi Shannon 333 DBB/Modem Characteristics
Table 28 Samsung Semi Shannon 928 RF Transceiver Characteristics
Table 29 Qualcomm Gobi MDM9XXX DBB/Modem Characteristics
Table 30 Qualcomm RF Transceiver Characteristics
Table 31 Samsung Galaxy S6 – LTE Uplink Peak Bandwidth
Table 32 Samsung Galaxy S6 – LTE Downlink Peak Bandwidth
Table 33 Apple iPhone 6 – LTE Uplink Peak Bandwidth
Table 34 Apple iPhone 6 – LTE Downlink Peak Bandwidth
Table 35 Galaxy S6 and iPhone 6 Cellular Band Support
Table 36 Bluetooth Modalities – PHY and MAC Characteristics
Table 37 Classic Bluetooth BR and Bluetooth EDR Channels
Table 38 Bluetooth Low Energy / Smart Channels
Table 39 IEEE 80211ac Modulation and Coding Scheme
Table 40 GNSS Key Characteristics
Table 41 NFC PHY and MAC Characteristics
Table 42 Wireless Power Specifications


Exhibit 1. Galaxy S6 - UMTS Model Functional Block Diagram
Exhibit 2. Galaxy S6 - CDMA Model Functional Block Diagram
Exhibit 3. Apple iPhone 6 - Functional Block Diagram
Exhibit 4. Samsung Galaxy S6 - Top Level Wireless Connectivity Diagram
Exhibit 5. Apple iPhone 6 - Top Level Wireless Connectivity Diagram
Exhibit 6. Galaxy S6 Model G920F - Detailed Wireless Connectivity Diagram
Exhibit 7. iPhone 6 Model A1586 - Detailed Wireless Connectivity Diagram
Exhibit 8. Smartphone Wireless Connectivity - Frequency Bands
Exhibit 9. GSM Band Plan
Exhibit 10. Lower CDMA / CDMA2000 Band Plan
Exhibit 11. Upper CDMA / CDMA2000 Band Plan
Exhibit 12. 3GPP UMTS Low Band Plan
Exhibit 13. 3GPP UMTS Mid Band Plan
Exhibit 14. 3GPP UMTS FDD High Band Plan
Exhibit 15. 3GPP UMTS TDD High Band Plan
Exhibit 16. 3GPP Intraband Carrier Aggregation - LTE Release 8
Exhibit 17. 3GPP Interband Carrier Aggregation - LTE-A Release 10
Exhibit 18. 3GPP FD-LTE Low Band Plan
Exhibit 19. 3GPP FD-LTE Mid Band Plan
Exhibit 20. 3GPP FD-LTE High Band Plan
Exhibit 21. 3GPP TD-LTE Band Plan
Exhibit 22. Samsung Galaxy S6 - High-Band RFFE
Exhibit 23. Samsung Galaxy S6 - Mid-Band RFFE
Exhibit 24. Samsung Galaxy S6 - Low-Band RFFE
Exhibit 25. Band 28 Dual Duplexer Low-Band RFFE Implementation
Exhibit 26. Samsung Galaxy S6 - Receive Diversity RFFE
Exhibit 27. Samsung Galaxy S6 - Antenna Switching and Tuning
Exhibit 28. Samsung Galaxy S6 - Cat 6 Carrier Aggregation CA_1A_5A
Exhibit 29. Apple iPhone 6 - High-Band RFFE
Exhibit 30. Apple iPhone 6 - Mid-Band RFFE
Exhibit 31. Mid-Band RFFE - Quadplexer Example
Exhibit 32. Apple iPhone 6 - Low-Band RFFE
Exhibit 33. Apple iPhone 6 - Receive Diversity RFFE
Exhibit 34. Apple iPhone 6 - Antenna Switching and Tuning
Exhibit 35. Apple iPhone 6 - Band 3 RFFE Configuration
Exhibit 36. 3GPP Rel 11 Cat 10 3X CA Example - CA_3A_7A_20A
Exhibit 37. IEEE 802.11n/ac 2.4 / 5 GHz Wi-Fi Radio Functionality
Exhibit 38. Wi-Fi RF Front-End Functionality
Exhibit 39. Typical 11n/11ac Dual Band 2x2:2 MIMO Wi-Fi / Bluetooth Subsystem
Exhibit 40. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.4 GHz ISM Bands
Exhibit 41. 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi Channels - Detailed View
Exhibit 42. 5 GHz Wi-Fi Channels
Exhibit 43. 5 GHz Wi-Fi - 20, 40 and 160 MHz Channels
Exhibit 44. Overlay of Wi-Fi Channels with Bluetooth Low Energy / Smart Channels
Exhibit 45. Cellular, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth - Coexistence Challenge
Exhibit 46. BAW versus SAW Filter Performance and BAW Die Image
Exhibit 47. 3GPP LAA - Supplemental Downlink Aggregation
Exhibit 48. GNSS Frequency Bands
Exhibit 49. Samsung Galaxy S6 - GNSS Subsystem
Exhibit 50. Apple iPhone 6 - GNSS Subsystem
Exhibit 51. NFC Implementation - Samsung Galaxy S6
Exhibit 52. NFC Implementation - Apple iPhone 6
Exhibit 53. Wireless Charging Implementation - Samsung Galaxy S6
Note: Product cover images may vary from those shown
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Inter-Band Carrier Aggregation Complicates RF Front End Implementation

” Through the lens of the leadership Samsung Galaxy S6 and the Apple iPhone 6 product families, this 122 page report focuses on the evolution of the seven wireless interfaces now found in high-end smartphones – Frequency Division Duplex Cellular, Time Division Duplex Cellular, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System), Near-Field Communication, and Wireless Charging. “This large-scope report on the RF content of the two leading smartphone product families in the world today is one most comprehensive ever written on this subject. Filled with visual information, this report includes 42 tables and 52 exhibits, all created to provide exceptional insight and an analysis edge for our clients”, said Maury Wood, EJL Wireless Research Principal Analyst and author of this new report.

Each of the seven smartphone wireless subsystems is undergoing rapid change. The latest Category 6 LTE-Advanced smartphones, such as the Galaxy S6 family and the next generation iPhone family, are the first to include inter-band carrier aggregation, which complicates the cellular RF front-end (RFFE) implementation, opening up new business opportunities for RF component suppliers. Following China Mobile’s lead, more cellular operators worldwide are adopting TD-LTE technology, and next generation smartphones will very likely support both FDD and TDD inter-band carrier aggregation.

This new Research report is rich with detailed illustrations, showing exactly how modulelevel RFFE solutions from Avago, Murata, Qorvo, Skyworks and other suppliers support these advanced new features. The RF content impact of antenna tuning using digital tunable capacitors, band filtering using quadplexers, FBAR BAW versus dual SAW duplexer filtering of 700 MHz ATP Band 28 – these and many other deep dive topics are covered in the cellular connectivity portion of this new EJL Wireless Research report.

The Galaxy S6 and the iPhone 6 were among the first smartphones to including 2x2 MIMO 802.11ac Wi-Fi radios, but neither supports the key “Wave 2” multi-user MIMO feature. Both Qualcomm and Broadcom have a short-term first-mover advantage opportunity with MU-MIMO Wave 2 client radios, and with big swings in market share possible. Indoor location positioning uses the resources of both the Wi-Fi subsystem and the GNSS subsystem. Broadcom has made a clever linkage between these two subsystems to optimize indoor location finding performance and this innovation helps Broadcom build a moat around their GNSS chipset position, potentially staving off competitors such as Qualcomm. On the other hand, the emerging License Assisted Access industry initiative may give LTE transceiver leader Qualcomm an opportunity to undermine Broadcom’s Wi-Fi / Bluetooth connectivity dominance. This new report provides powerful insight into these fiercely competitive supplier dynamics.

Smartphones today include receivers for GPS (US), GLONASS (Russia), and Beidou COMPASS (China). New regional satellite navigation systems from Japan (QZSS) and India (IRNSS) are being introduced over the coming several years. These emerging standards are likely to be compatible with existing GNSS receivers, but the author finds that additional RF content in the form of enhanced coexistence filters may be needed in next generation smartphones to preserve wireless performance. The Bluetooth Low Energy / Smart standard is migrating to the new v4.2 revision. This new personal area wireless networking standard revision enables some compelling use cases that leading smartphone OEMs are likely to rapidly adopt and deploy. Bluetooth Smart potentially has a role to play in wireless battery charging as a control and status side-channel mechanism, synergistically linking these two wireless subsystems. Near Field Communication (NFC) for personal financial transactions using applications such as Apple Pay, Goggle Wallet and Samsung Pay has become a rapidly growing smartphone use case. Samsung Semiconductor now supplies the RF and Secure Element content for the Galaxy S6. Apple uses AMS RF and NXP’s Secure Element components in the iPhone 6. Qualcomm has recently announced a cooperation agreement with NXP to extend both companies’ NFC ecosystems.

The report expects that the competition among Samsung, Apple, NXP and Qualcomm for NFC RF and Secure Element design wins in 2016 smartphones will intensify, leaving little opportunity for smaller suppliers such as AMS. There are currently four wireless power standards competing for the smartphone battery charging function. It is easy to appreciate the convenience of this feature, but no supplier or smartphone OEM wants to find themselves on the losing end of yet another Betamax/VHS standards battle. There are clear points of differentiation between magnetic induction charging systems versus magnetic resonance charging systems. While magnetic resonance (MR) battery charging technology has been slower to penetrate the market, EJL Wireless Research finds that MR will likely prevail, and that eventual adoption by Apple of the winning standard is likely.

This new report forecasts the trends impacting all smartphone wireless interfaces, and introduces the proprietary RFFE Complexity Factor™ metric to help set context for the rapid increase in smartphone RF content, complexity and supplier business opportunity. This new report includes a comprehensive Appendix with more than 850 communications industry acronyms defined.
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- Apple
- Samsung
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