Chipset Companies Tackle Open RF


Several major chipset vendors including MediaTek, Samsung, Intel and Broadcom teamed up to develop a framework for open RF interfaces, though key player Qualcomm was notably absent from the effort.

Working together as the Open RF Association (OpenRF), the companies aim to create specifications for standardised core chipset and RF front end (RFFE) features and interfaces. The group also plans to address power management and establish a common hardware abstraction layer to boost the interface between modems and RFFE modules.

OpenRF argued access to interoperable platforms will offer device manufacturers cost, performance and supply chain benefits, with a multi-vendor ecosystem allowing them to use the same RFFE with any 5G baseband.

VP of marketing for Broadcom’s wireless semiconductor division, David Archbold added it will also help “streamline and condense the OEM’s design cycle,” cutting time-to-market.

Other founding members include Murata Manufacturing and Qorvo. However, Qualcomm was not on the list, a glaring omission given the company in July claimed more than 660 device designs were based on its range of 5G chipsets. At the time, Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf said “virtually all” of those were paired with its RFFE products.

Qualcomm is involved in other open standards efforts: president Cristiano Amon said in September the company was working on open RAN kit, but would reveal details at a later date.

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