NXP’s Top-Side Cooling Helps Shrink 5G Radios

By Rich Nass

Executive Vice President

Embedded Computing Design

November 13, 2023


NXP’s Top-Side Cooling Helps Shrink 5G Radios

It’s the little things in life, right? In the case of NXP’s new top-side cooling for RF power, that’s exactly right.

The company recently announced a family of top-side cooled RF amplifier modules, based on a packaging technique that enables thinner and lighter radios for 5G infrastructure. The result is smaller base stations that can be more easily and cost-effectively installed, and even blended more discretely into their environment.

When we had the discussion about these lighter base stations, it didn’t really hit home with me until I saw the real, practical limitation of a person having to carry one of these boxes up pole and install it. About ten years ago, we were looking at about 60 kg (132 lbs.) for a typical radio. Today, thanks to innovations like NXPs, that weight can be reduced to below 20 kg. That’s quite a difference.

NXP’s GaN multi-chip module series, combined with what the company is calling the industry’s first top-side cooling solution for RF power, helps to reduce not only the thickness and weight of the radio by more than 20 percent, but also the carbon footprint for the manufacture and deployment of 5G base stations.

The top-side cooled devices deliver significant design and manufacturing benefits, including the removal of the dedicated RF shield, use of cost-effective and streamlined pcb, and separation of thermal management from RF design. These features help networking solution providers create slimmer and lighter 5G radios for mobile network operators, while reducing their overall design cycle.

NXP’s first top-side cooled RF power module series is designed for 32T32R, 200-W radios covering 3.3 to 3.8 GHz. The devices combine the company’s in-house LDMOS and GaN semiconductor technologies to enable high gain and efficiency with wideband performance, delivering 31 dB gain and 46% efficiency over 400 MHz of instantaneous bandwidth.

The A5M34TG140-TC, A5M35TG140-TC, and A5M36TG140-TC products are available today. The A5M36TG140-TC will be supported by NXP’s RapidRF reference board series.

Richard Nass’ key responsibilities include setting the direction for all aspects of OSM’s ECD portfolio, including digital, print, and live events. Previously, Nass was the Brand Director for Design News. Prior, he led the content team for UBM’s Medical Devices Group, and all custom properties and events. Nass has been in the engineering OEM industry for more than 30 years. In prior stints, he led the Content Team at EE Times, Embedded.com, and TechOnLine. Nass holds a BSEE degree from NJIT.

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