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Stephen J. Kovacic, B.Sc. (Waterloo ‘87), Ph.D. (McMaster ‘93), LL.B (Ottawa, 2000) has worked with semiconductors and optical devices for 25 years. His technical experiences include work on device physics, model parameter extraction, BiCMOS process flow engineering, and RF circuit design. Dr. Kovacic holds 16 patents in the area of opto-electronics and semiconductors. From 1997 to 2006, Dr. Kovacic held positions at SiGe Semiconductor including Director, R&D where he managed the development of technology and products in the area of RF integrated circuits for wireless applications. In 2006, Dr. Kovacic was called to the Bar of Ontario and Massachusetts, and was subsequently appointed patent and corporate counsel for SiGe Semiconductor until its acquisition by Skyworks Solutions in 2011. Dr. Kovacic is presently Director, Technology for Skyworks Solutions with a home base in Ottawa, Canada and holds an adjunct professor position at Carleton University.
There are three basic use cases that have emerged for 5G ‘new radio - NR’: eMBB (enhanced Mobile Broadband), mMTC (massive machine-type communications) and URLLC (ultra-reliable and low latency communications). We review the context of the 5G NR specification development and different component technology platforms for user equipment (UE) RF front-ends (RFFE). As a starting point, we examine the current requirements of UE RFFE systems associated with 4G and then follow the technology trends that might provide a natural evolution to 5G RFFE systems.